The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has chosen ‘coffee brown’ to connect with the coffee-sipping urban youth of India.
Now, coffee brown trousers and white shirts will be the new uniform (ganavesh) of the Sangh. This has replaced the age-old traditional 'khaki knickers'.
Putting an end to speculation on colour, the RSS on Sunday at the end of its three-day national conclave — the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) at Nagaur in Rajasthan — announced the change in uniform.
RSS general secretary (sarakaryavah) Suresh 'Bhaiyyaji' Joshi said that the traditional khaki shorts will be replaced by wooden brown or coffee-coloured trousers.
There has been a growing concern within the organisation that certain practices are archaic and out of tune with today's youth. This has been the reason the average age of the RSS cadre is growing older, while the nation is getting younger. Many have been viewing this new look — the makeover — as the first visible step in course correction.
“This new uniform is a major morphological change within the organisation. There has been a churn within the Sangh at various levels for replacing the age-old traditional flared knee-length khaki shorts or knickers with full-length trousers. This new look in ganavesh will help the RSS achieve resonance with the youth, especially from urban centres. It was observed that a section of urban youth, who despite an inclination to connect with the Sangh Shakhas, backed out due to the uniform. This change will help us to increase our urban cadre base,” an RSS member told Firstpost.
Every year in March, the RSS holds its Pratinidhi Sabha and conducts an annual review of work done by its cadre and members across the country, prepares its future plan of action and presents its annual report. This year’s ABPS will be considered as a milestone, as the Sangh, which is usually considered a ‘rigid and orthodox’ right-wing organisation, has taken a bold decision to go for a makeover.
“Whenever, a need had arisen, the Sangh introduced change. It even allowed its members from the IT sector to attend Shakhas in track pants. The RSS is not rigid, but it is a disciplined cadre-based organisation that follows the cultural ethos of this country,” the member added.
Another important function of the Pratinidhi Sabha is to elect its new office bearers during the conclave.
However, this time, there has been no change in its office bearers and the Sangh has decided to retain the entire national office bearers’ team of 2015-16 headed by Mohan Rao Bhagwat as Sarasanghchalak, followed by Joshi as general secretary and Dattatreya Hosabale, Suresh Soni, Krishna Gopal and V Bhagaiah as Sahasarakaryavah (joint general secretaries). Manmohan Vaidya continues to be Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh.
Concluding the conclave, the RSS through its resolutions has laid strong emphasis on affordable and quality healthcare and medical facilities, and education to the poor and people from rural India. It has also given a strong message to the government that in the name of freedom of expression, ‘anti-national activities’ in the universities and in the public domain won’t be tolerated.