To keep pace with the changing times, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is giving itself the biggest makeover in its history — its unique khaki knickers will make way for trousers to help the organization achieve resonance with the youth.
Increasing its cadre base, understandably has emerged as the prime objective of the RSS at its three-day Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS)—annual conclave of the RSS at Nagaur in Rajasthan, which began on 11 March.
Though the colour of trousers has not yet been finalized, it is expected to be either grey or blue. There has been churning going on within the Sangh for replacing its age-old traditional khaki knickers (flared knee-length shorts) with full length trousers.
"For the last one year there have been discussions at various levels for change in uniform (Ganvesh) and on replacing knickers with trousers. A final decision on this issue is likely to be taken in this meet,” said Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of RSS, Manmohan Vaidya.
Cosmetic changes apart, the meet began with a strong message that no anti-national activities in the university campuses would be tolerated. The Sangh has asked the central and state governments to strictly deal with anti-national forces and not allow educational institutions to become centres of political activities.
“We expect from the Central and State governments to deal strictly with such anti-national forces and ensure the sanctity and cultural atmosphere by not allowing our educational institutions to become centers of political activities,” the RSS has mentioned in its annual report (Sarkaryavah Report) presented during the conclave.
Three resolutions would be passed on affordable education, affordable healthcare and eradicating caste-based discrimination during this ABPS.
“Privatization has made education expensive. The need is to provide affordable quality education for the masses. It’s the responsibility of the government and society to do it. Health services have also become expensive and gradually getting beyond the reach of the common man. Affordable healthcare and better medical facilities need to be provided. We want to observe birth centenary of Babasahab Deoras (third Sar Sanghachalak) for social equality and ensure abolishing of caste-based discrimination in the society,” said RSS Sah Sarkaryavah, Krishna Gopal on Friday session.
“Today, a resolution on affordable healthcare and cheaper medical facilities for the masses, especially for the poor was passed. The resolution on social equality and eradication of caste-based discrimination will be an important milestone, because at present we’ve been witnessing sharp rise in tension related caste,” a source said.
Recently, the BJP and the right-wing students’ body — Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad faced heat in the suicide case of Hyderabad Central University’s research scholar Rohith Vemula. Almost all opposition parties attacked BJP and lot of mud-slinging occurred centering caste-based politics.
Every year in March, the RSS holds Pratinidhi Sabha and does an annual review of work done by its cadre and members across the country. This year 1300 members from cross-section of RSS and its affiliate bodies are participating in the meet. During three days, different sessions from various sectors are conducted. Last year the meet was held in Nagpur.
Besides preparing its future plan of action, an annual report is also presented. This year’s annual report of the Sangh has emphasized on four major issues – women and temple entry; threat to national security agencies from anti-national forces, growing communal incidences and universities becoming hotbed of anti-national activities.
The report has recommended that instead of politicizing the issue of temple entry, it should be resolved through dialogue and discussion, and attempt should be made to bring about a change in mentality at every level.
Coming heavily on the issue of growing ‘anti-national activities’ in the universities, the report mentioned, “In the last few months, reports about anti-national and subversive activities in certain universities, have become a matter of concern. In the name of freedom of expression, how the slogans calling for the breaking up of and destruction of the nation, can be tolerated, and how the guilty, who had hatched the conspiracy to blow up the national Parliament, can be honoured as martyrs? Doing so, itself will be treated as an anti-national act. The anti-national activities at the Bhagyanagar (Hyderabad) University and the JNU have thoroughly exposed their conspiracy.”
As per the report presented, the Sangh has witnessed phenomenal increase in its shakhas – from 40,922 in 2012 to 56,859 in 2016, which accounts to 15,937 shakhas in four years. The Sangh has its footprints in 820 districts out of 840.
Besides RSS chief (Sar Sanghachalak) Mohan Bhagwat and other top brass, BJP president Amit Shah was also present on the opening day.