B. S. Moonje

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Balakrishna Shivram Moonje (B.S.Moonje, also B.S. Munje, 12 December 1872 – 3 March 1948) was a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha in India.


Moonje was born into a Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmin (DRB) family[1] in 1872 at Bilaspur in Central Provinces. He completed his Medical Degree from Grant Medical College in Mumbai in 1898, and was employed in Bombay Municipal Corporation as a Medical Officer. He left his job to participate in the Boer War in South Africa through the medical wing, as the King's Commissioned Officer.[citation needed]

Following the death of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1920, Moonje dissociated from Congress. He disagreed with the two main policies of M. K. Gandhi, namely his non-violence and secularism. His association with Hindu Mahasabha increased and he was also political mentor of Hedgewar who founded RSS in 1925.[2]

Moonje was the All India President of the Hindu Mahasabha from 1927 until he handed over the charge to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1937. Until his death, he was active in the Mahasabha and toured all over India.[citation needed] Savarkar had his strong support. He also attended the Round Table Conferences (in London) twice, despite strong opposition from Congress leaders on his views.

Trip to Italy[edit]

In 1931, Moonje travelled to Italy, where he met with Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and was shown the militarization of society through a guided tour of organizations such as Balilla, the Accademia della Farnesina and other military schools and educational institutions. He visited the Italian Fascist youth organization the Opera Nazionale Balilla, which he praised.[3]

The Balilla institutions and the conception of the whole organisation have appealed to me most, though there is still not discipline and organisation of high order. The whole idea is conceived by Mussolini for the military regeneration of Italy. Italians, by nature, appear ease-loving and non-martial like the Indians generally. They have cultivated, like Indians, the work of peace and neglected the cultivation of the art of war. Mussolini saw the essential weakness of his country and conceived the idea of the Balilla organisation. Nothing better could have been conceived for the military organisation of Italy. The idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people. India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus.

— B. S. Moonje, Diary entry, [3]

Moonje was deeply influenced by these fascist organizations, in which he saw an opportunity to militarize Hindu society in order to fight against both internal and external threats. After returning from his Italy visit, he set up Bhonsala Military School in Nasik. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) later appropriated this model on a larger scale, and there is an uncanny similarity between the RSS and Balilla in terms of recruitment and organizational setup.[4]

Moonje remained in constant contact with the fascist supporter Giuseppe Tucci through letters.[5] Moonje died on 3 March 1948, aged 75.


  1. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (1996). The Hindu nationalist movement and Indian politics : 1925 to the 1990s : strategies of identity-building, implantation and mobilisation (with special reference to Central India). Penguin Books India. p. 45. ISBN 978-1850653011.
  2. ^ "How the RSS Became Involved In Running the Bhonsala Military School - The Caravan". caravanmagazine.in. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Moonje & Mussolini". Frontline. 23 January 2015.
  4. ^ Javid, Aaqib (21 July 2022). "Marzia Casolari. In the Shadow of the Swastika: The Relationships Between Indian Radical Nationalism, Italian Fascism and Nazism". South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal. ISSN 1960-6060. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  5. ^ "जब मुसोलिनी से प्रभावित हुआ था हिंदू महासभा का बड़ा नेता, कहा था- बढ़ते राष्ट्र को ऐसे संगठन की जरूरत". Jansatta (in Hindi). 9 June 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022.