10 Things You Need To Know about Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh
1.) RSS or Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh is a right wing political, volunteer group. Concomitantly it is also the world’s largest non- government organisation. It aims to provide selfless service to the country by providing charitable and educational assistance to the masses. It was instituted on 27 September 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewaron the occasion of Vijaydashmi or Dusshera driving inspiration from right winged groups of Europe established during World War II, thus completing 90 years by the end of 2015. Although being a Hindu nationalist group it anticipates withholding the national integrity, sovereignty and uniting the vast diversities of our country under one fraternity – Indian.
2.)RSS has yielded long time criticism for carrying out anti nationalistic or terroristic activities against other religions. It is also said that they are Nazism or Fascism enthusiasts and venerated Hitler’s concepts of pure race and domination of Hindus on the country. Although RSS volunteers have ruled out such impeachments but their active roles in recent events and abominable activities tell a completely different story. RSS also has a militant wing called Bajrang Dal which is criticised for being an extremist wing and is known for its involvement in inciting riots and carrying out anti Muslim and Christian activities.
3.)It had around 41000 “shakhas” or branches running through the country in 2014 when BJP rose to power. Until then, back in 2004 it accounted for a reported 51000 shakhas but these numbers depreciated after BJP lost the election of 2004.Theseshakhas conduct various activities to train its volunteers physically and to instil a sense of social and civic well being in them. RSS has long been known for having its roots in political parties. Numerous members of the current government are said to have been linked to this organisation. This plays a crucial part because many have a speculation that the formulation of a decision is impacted by this.
4.)Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Gandhi in 1950 was a former member of this organisation. He did this because RSS had condemned Gandhi for his unconventional support and willing cooperation to Muslims pre and post independence. As a result a ban was imposed on RSS which was lifted the same year after Justice Kapur Commission stated that a whole organisation should not redeem for the actions of an individual and that RSS should adhere to adopt the constitution. RSS has a history with banishments. It was banned in British rule, followed with assignation of Gandhi, then during emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975 accompanied with the ban for demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.
5.)Apart from this RSS has also served the nation inestimable times. It has participated in many socio- political activities starting back from the independence movement when it hoisted Indian flags and coordinated lectures accentuating the need for independence. Then during Indo- Pakistan war, RSS assisted in controlling traffic so that the policemen could engage in defence practises. They were even appreciated for their support during Indo-Sino war by Nehru and were asked to participate in Republic day parade that year. Also during Bangladeshi war they helped in maintaining law and order.
6.)Abiding by their values of social equality, RSS also assisted in many social reforms. They organised many camps to cater the needs of the poor and destitute. Neither the malpractice of untouchability was exercised nor any differential treatment was given to any person on the basis of ethno-social divisiveness. Many people who visited these camps have accounted how selfless service was provided to the needy without considering their caste or religion. Apart from this it also provides free education to the poor.
7.)We know that all is not roses and the same goes for RSS. A term coined in 2002 by Frontline called the “Saffron Terror” indicated the scourge inflicted by members of Hindu nationalistic organisations clad in saffron colour. This colour is used by RSS and its “shakhas” all over the country to depict their symbols. These organisations have long been criticised for condescending other religions before what they consider theirideology of the purest race and Hindu nationalism.
8.)RSS has also played an active in many rehabilitation and relief activities. During 1971 Orissa cyclone and 1977 Andhra Pradesh cyclone, RSS volunteers engaged themselves in providing immediate relief to the victims. 35000 men cladded in RSS uniforms fulfilled basic necessities of food, water and shelter to provide aid to the needy. A branch called Seva Bharti adopted 57 children (38 Muslims and 19 Hindus) from militant obtruded areas of Jammu and Kashmir and provided them free education. Not only this it also provided relief and rehabilitation to victims of earthquakes, wars, Uttarakhand flood and many more.
9.)The mission of RSS has always been promoting cultural, social and ethnic upliftment of all diversities within the nation. It invests in building an egalitarian society freed of all evil but for this to achieve they believe the only way is “Hindu Renaissance”. It also practisesways to channelize the energy of the youth of the country by developing a sense of devotion and self-awareness within them. But it got polemical when Gowalkar, one of the heads of the organisation and a follower of Hitler’s ideology stated a controversial statement saying that all the non Hindu members of the nation must either seize to exist as foreigners i.e. inculcate this religion or deserve nothing even fundamental rights.
10.) And above all RSS is not fundamentalistic. According to their belief there are two kinds of people inhabiting this country- one who are Hindus and the ones who were Hindus. Hence they believe that everyone is Hindu from his ancestry. Also they do not want people to change their religion but want them to follow their ways. This is what they implicate from the superiority of Hindu religion and Hindu Renaissance. Even so, their main objective like any other organisation is uniformity and progression within the country.