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RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh
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RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh,abbreviatedasRSS(Rst ryaSvayamsvaka

SaghaIPA:[r rij()swjmsevks] ,lit."NationalVolunteer RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh
Organisation"[12]or"NationalPatrioticOrganisation"[13]),isarightwing, [1]
Hindunationalist, [5]paramilitary[4]volunteerorganisationinIndiathatis
widelyregardedastheparentorganisationoftherulingpartyofIndia,the
BharatiyaJanataParty. [14]

Foundedon27September1925,theorganisationisanongovernmental
organisation, [15]theworld'slargestsuch,andclaimsacommitmentofselfless
servicetoIndia. [16]Theinitialimpetuswastoprovidecharactertraining
throughHindudisciplineandtounitetheHinducommunitytoformaHindu
Rashtra(Hindunation). [17][18]Theorganisationcarriestheidealofupholding
Indiancultureandcivilizationalvalues. [19]Itdrewinitialinspirationfrom
EuropeanrightwinggroupsduringWorldWarII. [18]GraduallyRSSgrewinto
aprominentHindunationalistumbrellaorganisation,spawningseveralaffiliated Abbreviation RSS
organisationsthatestablishednumerousschools,charitiesandclubstospreadits
Formation 27September1925
ideologicalbeliefs. [18]
Founder KeshavBaliramHedgewar
TheRSSwasbannedonceduringBritishrule, [18]andthenthricebythepost Type Rightwingvolunteer,[1]
independenceIndiangovernmentfirstin1948whenaformerRSS
paramilitary[2][3][4][5][6]
member[20]assassinatedMahatmaGandhi[18][21][22]thenduringthe
emergency(197577)andforathirdtimeafterthedemolitionofBabriMasjid Legalstatus Active
in1992. Purpose AdvocatingHindunationalism [7]
Headquarters Nagpur,Maharashtra,India

Contents Coordinates 21.04N79.16E


Areaserved India
1 History Membership 56million[8][9][10]
1.1 Founding
1.2 WorldWarII 56,859shakhas(2016)[11]
1.3 IndianIndependenceMovement Official Hindi
1.4 Activitiesduringpartition language
1.5 Firstban
Chief MohanBhagwat
1.6 Secondbanandacquittal
1.7 OppositiontotheNationalFlagofIndia Keypeople Suresh'Bhaiyaji'Joshi
1.8 OppositiontotheConstitutionofIndia (GeneralSecretary)
1.9 DecolonisationofDadra,NagarHaveliandGoa
Affiliations SanghParivar
1.10 Wartimeactivities
1.11 MovementagainsttheEmergency Mission "SelflessServicetoMotherland"
1.12 Participationinlandreforms Website www.rss.org(http://www.rss.org/)
2 Structure
2 Structure
2.1 Sarsanghchalaks
2.2 Shakha
3 Mission
4 Affiliatedorganisations
5 Socialserviceandreform
6 Reliefandrehabilitation
7 CourtrulingsonRSS
7.1 'TheHindu'andothersvs.RSS
7.2 TheStateofMadhyaPradeshVsRamshankerRaghuvanshi
7.3 StateofKarnatakav.RanganathacharyaAgnihotri
7.4 DarshanLalJainVsCRIraniandOthers
7.5 Others
8 Reception
9 Criticismsandaccusations
9.1 Involvementwithriots
9.2 ReligiousviolenceinOdisha
9.3 InvolvementinBabriMasjiddemolition
10 NotableSwayamsevaks
11 References
12 Bibliography
12.1 Sources
12.2 Books
12.3 Publications
13 Externallinks

History
Founding

RSSwasfoundedin1925byKeshavBaliramHedgewar,adoctorinthecityofNagpur,British
India. [23]Hehadbeenchargedwithseditionin1921bytheBritishAdministrationandwas
imprisonedforoneyear. [24]

Hedgewarwaseducatedbyhiselderbrother.HethendecidedtostudymedicineinCalcutta,West
Bengal.HewassenttherebyB.S.Moonjein1910topursuehismedicalstudies.Therehelived
withShyamSundarChakravarthy[25]andlearnedthetechniquesoffightingfromsecret
revolutionaryorganisationsliketheAnushilanSamitiandJugantarinBengal.Heissaidtohave
joinedAnushilanSamitiandhehadcontactswithrevolutionarieslikeRamPrasadBismil. [26]

Previouslyhewasinvolvedinsuchtypeofrevolutionaryactivities,afactdisclosedbywriters
suchasviz.C.P.Bhishikar, [27]M.S.Golwalkar, [28]K.S.Sudarshan[29]andRakeshSinha. [30]

Aftercompletinghisstudiesandgraduating,hereturnedtoNagpur,inspiredbythearmed KeshavBaliramHedgewar
movement.Inhismemoirs,thethirdchiefofRSS,BalasahabDeorasnarratesanincidentwhen
HedgewarsavedhimandothersfromfollowingthepathofBhagatSinghandhiscomrades. [31]
Laterhelefttherevolutionaryorganisationsintheyear1925andformedtheRashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh.

SinceHedgewarwasprimarilyassociatedwiththeHindustanRepublicanAssociation,headoptedthefullconstitutionoferstwhile
HRAandimplementeditforciblyinhisnewlyestablishedorganisationRSSlateron.TheRSSfirstmetin1925justaftertwo
monthsofKakoritrainrobberyinasmallgroundofNagpurwith56personsonVijayaDashami.Aftertheformationofthe
RSS,Hedgewarkepttheorganisationawayfromhavinganydirectaffiliationtoanyofthepoliticalorganisationsthenfighting
Britishrule. [33]ButHedgewarandhisteamofvolunteers,tookpartintheIndianNationalCongress,ledmovementsagainstthe
Britishrule.HedgewarwasarrestedintheJungleSatyagrahaagitationin1931andservedasecondterminprison. [34][35][36]

WorldWarII
DuringWorldWarIIRSSleadersopenlyadmiredAdolfHitler. [18][37]MadhavSadashiv
Golwalkar,whobecamethesupremeleaderoftheRSSafterHedgewar,drewinspiration
fromAdolfHitler'sideologyofracepurity. [38]RSSleadersweresupportiveofthe
JewishStateofIsrael,includingSavarkarhimself,whosupportedIsraelduringits
formation. [39]GolwalkaradmiredJewsformaintainingtheir"religion,cultureand
language". [40]

IndianIndependenceMovement

TheRSS,whichportraysitselfasasocialmovement,stayedawayfromtheIndian Araregroupphotoofsixinitial
independencemovementanddidnotengageinanyformofresistanceagainstthecolonial swayamsevakstakenontheoccasionof
BritishGovernment.ItalsorejectedGandhi'swillingnesstocooperatewiththe aRSSmeetingheldin1939[32]
Muslims. [41][42]

Afterfoundingtheorganisation,K.B.HedgewarstartedthetraditionofkeepingtheRSSawayfromtheIndianIndependence
movement.AnypoliticalactivitythatcouldbeconstruedasbeingantiBritishwascarefullyavoided.AccordingtotheRSS
biographerC.P.Bhishikar,HedgewaronlytalkedaboutHinduorganisationavoidinganydirectcommentontheGovernment. [43]
The"IndependenceDay"announcedbytheIndianNationalCongressfor26January1930wascelebratedbytheRSSonlythat
yearandsubsequentlyavoided.TheTricoloroftheIndiannationalmovementwasshunned. [44][45][46][47]Hedgewarpersonally
participatedinthe'Satyagraha'launchedbyGandhiinApril1930,buthedidnotgettheRSSinvolvedinthemovement.Hesent
informationeverywherethattheSanghwouldnotparticipateintheSatyagraha.Howeverthosewishingtoparticipateindividually
initwerenotprohibited. [48][49]In1934,CongresspassedaresolutionprohibitingitsmembersfromjoiningRSS,Hindu
MahasabhaortheMuslimLeague. [44]

M.S.Golwalkar,whobecametheleaderoftheRSSin1940,continuedandfurtherstrengthenedthe
isolationfromtheindependencemovement.Inhisview,theRSShadpledgedtoachievefreedomthrough
"defendingreligionandculture"andnotbyfightingtheBritish. [50][51][52]Golwalkarevenlamentedthe
antiBritishnationalism,callingita"reactionaryview"thathaddisastrouseffectsupontheentirecourseof
thefreedomstruggle. [53][54]ItisbelievedthatGolwalkardidnotwanttogivetheBritishanyexcusetoban
theRSS.HecompliedwithallthestricturesimposedbytheGovernmentduringtheSecondWorldWar,
evenannouncingtheterminationoftheRSSmilitarydepartment. [55][56]TheBritishGovernmentstated
thattheRSSwasnotatallsupportinganycivildisobedienceagainstthem,andassuchtheirotherpolitical
activitiescanbeoverlooked.TheBritishHomeDepartmenttooknoteofthefactthatspeakersatSangh
meetingsurgeditsmemberstokeepalooffromtheantiBritishmovementsoftheIndianNational M.S.Golwalkar
Congress,whichwasdulyfollowed[57]TheHomeDepartmentwastherebyoftheopinionthattheRSSdid
notconstituteamenacetothelawandorderinBritishIndia. [55][56]TheBombaygovernment,inareport,appreciatedtheRSSby
notingthattheSanghhadscrupulouslykeptitselfwithinthelawandrefrainedfromtakingpartinthedisturbances(QuitIndia
Movement)thatbrokeoutinAugust1942. [58][59][60]ItalsoreportedthattheRSShadnot,inanyway,infringedgovernment
ordersandhadalwaysshownwillingnesstocomplywiththelaw.ThesameBombayGovernmentreportfurthernotedthatin
December1940itself,ordershadbeenissuedtotheprovincialRSSleaderstodesistfromanyactivitiesthattheBritish
Governmentconsideredobjectionable,andtheRSS,inturn,hadassuredtheBritishauthoritiesthat"ithadnointentionsof
offendingagainsttheordersoftheGovernment". [61][62]

M.S.GolwalkarlateropenlyadmittedtothefactthattheRSSdidnotparticipateintheQuitIndiaMovement.Golwalkarfurther
statedthatsuchastanceledtotheSanghbeingviewedasaninactiveorganization,whosetalkshadnosubstanceinreality. [50][63]

TheRSSneithersupportednorjoinedintheRoyalIndianNavyMutinyagainsttheBritishin1945. [42]

Activitiesduringpartition

ThePartitionofIndiaaffectedmillionsofSikhs,Hindus,andMuslimsattemptingtoescapetheviolenceandcarnagethat
followed. [64]NotedGandhianandrecipientofthehighestcivilianawardinIndia,BharatRatna,BhagwanDascommendedthe
roleofthe"highspiritedandselfsacrificingboys"oftheRSSinprotectingthenewlyformedRepublicofIndia,fromaplanned
couptotoppletheJawaharlalNehruAdministrationinDelhi. [65][66]
Firstban

ThefirstbanontheRSSwasimposedinPunjabProvince(BritishIndia)on24January1947byMalikKhizarHayatTiwana,the
premieroftherulingUnionistParty,apartywhichrepresentedtheinterestsofthelandedgentryandlandlordsofPunjab,which
includedMuslims,HindusandSikhs.AlongwiththeRSS,theMuslimNationalGuardwasalsobanned. [67][68]Thebanwas
liftedon28January1947. [67]

Secondbanandacquittal

FollowingMahatmaGandhi'sassassinationin1948byaformermember[22]oftheRSS,NathuramGodse,manyprominent
leadersoftheRSSwerearrestedandRSSasanorganisationwasbannedon4February1948.ACommissionofInquiryinto
ConspiracytothemurderofGandhiwassetanditsreportwaspublishedbyIndia'sMinistryofHomeAffairsintheyear1970.
Accordingly,JusticeKapurCommission[69]notedthatthe"RSSassuchwerenotresponsibleforthemurderofMahatmaGandhi,
meaningtherebythatonecouldnotnametheorganisationassuchasbeingresponsibleforthatmostdiabolicalcrime,themurder
oftheapostleofpeace.Ithasnotbeenprovedthatthey(theaccused)weremembersoftheRSS."[69]:165

RSSLeaderswereacquittedoftheconspiracychargebytheSupremeCourtofIndiaandfollowinganinterventionbytheCourt,
theIndianGovernmentagreedtoliftthebanwiththeconditionsthattheRSSpledgeitsloyaltytotheConstitutionofIndia,
accepttheTricolorastheNationalFlagofIndiaandadoptaformalwrittenconstitution,andmakeitpublic. [70]:42Thesecond
Sarsanghachalak,M.S.GolwalkardraftedtheconstitutionfortheRSSwhichhesenttotheGovernmentofIndiaon11April
1949.On11July1949,theGovernmentofIndialiftedthebanontheRSSbyissuingacommuniquestatingthatthedecisionto
liftthebanontheRSShadbeentakeninviewoftheRSSleaderGolwalkar'sundertakingtomakeloyaltytowardsthe
ConstitutionofIndia,andacceptanceandrespecttowardstheNationalFlagofIndiamoreexplicitintheConstitutionoftheRSS
whichwastobeworkedoutinademocraticmanner[23][70]

OppositiontotheNationalFlagofIndia

TheRashtriyaSwayamsevakSanghinitiallydidnotrecognizetheTricolorastheNationalFlagofIndia.TheRSSmouthpiece
Organiser,initsissuedated17July1947demanded,inaneditorialtitled"NationalFlag"thattheBhagwaDhwaj(SaffronFlag)
beadoptedastheNationalFlagofIndia. [71]AftertheTricolorwasadoptedastheNationalFlagofIndiabytheConstituent
AssemblyofIndiaon22July1947,theRSSmouthpieceOrganiserviciouslyattackedtheTricoloranddenigrateditsbeingchosen
astheNationalFlagofIndia.The14August1947issueoftheOrganiser,inanarticletitled"MysterybehindtheBhagwa
Dhwaj",stated

"ThepeoplewhohavecometopowerbythekickoffatemaygiveinourhandstheTricolorbutitneverbe
respectedandownedbyHindus.Thewordthreeisinitselfanevil,andaflaghavingthreecolourswillcertainly
produceaverybadpsychologicaleffectandisinjurioustoacountry"[72][73]

Further,M.S.Golwalkar,thesecondsarsanghchalakoftheRSS,inanessaytitled"DriftingandDrafting"publishedinhisbook
BunchofThoughts,lamentedthechoiceoftheTricolorastheNationalFlagofIndia,andcomparedittoanintellectual
vacuum/void.Inhiswords,

"Ourleadershavesetupanewflagforthecountry.Whydidtheydoso?Itjustisacaseofdriftingand
imitating...Oursisanancientandgreatnationwithagloriouspast.Then,hadwenoflagofourown?hadweno
nationalemblematallthesethousandsofyears?Undoubtedlywehad.Thenwhythisuttervoid,thisuttervacuum
inourminds"[74][75][76][77]

TheRSShoistedtheNationalFlagofIndiaatitsheadquartersinNagpur,on14August1947andonthe26thJanuary,1950and
stoppeddoingsosincethen. [78]Thisissuehadalwaysbeenasourceofcontroversy.In2001,threeactivistsofRashtrapremi
YuwaDalpresidentBabaMendhe,andmembersRameshKalambeandDilipChattanialongwithothersallegedlyenteredthe
RSSheadquartersinReshimbagh,Nagpuron26January,RepublicDayofIndiaandforciblyhoistedthenationalflagthereamid
patrioticslogans.TheycontendedthatRSShadneverbeforeorafterindependence,everhoistedthetricolourintheirpremises,
evenonIndependenceDayandRepublicDay.OffencesunderrelevantsectionofBombayPoliceActandIPCwereregisteredby
Policeagainstthetrio,resultingintheirbeingjailed.Theywerereleasedafter11yearsin2013. [79][80]Thearrestsandtheflag
hoistingissuestokedacontroversy,whichwasraisedintheParliamentaswell.In2002,subsequentlytheNationalFlagwas
raisedintheRSSheadquartersontheoccasionofRepublicDayforthefirsttime,after52years. [78]

OppositiontotheConstitutionofIndia

TheRashtriyaSwaysevakSanghinitiallydidnotrecognizetheConstitutionofIndiaandheavilycriticiseditinviewofthefact
thattheIndianConstitutionmadenomentionof"Manu'slaws"fromthecontroversialancientHindutextManusmriti,whichhad
beenaccusedofdenigratingthelowercastesanduntouchablesinIndia.WhentheConstituentAssemblyfinalizedtheConstitution
ofIndia,theRSSmouthpiece,Organiser,complainedinaneditorialdated30November1949that,

"Butinourconstitution,thereisnomentionofthatuniqueconstitutionaldevelopmentinancientBharat...Tothis
dayhislawsasenunciatedintheManusmritiexcitetheadmirationoftheworldandelicitspontaneousobedience
andconformity.Buttoourconstitutionalpunditsthatmeansnothing"[46]

TheRashtriyaSwayamsevakSanghdidnotstopitsunrelentingattacksonthisissue,andcriticisedB.R.Ambedkar'spublic
pronouncementsthatthenewIndianConstitutionwouldgiveequalitytoallcastes.On6February1950,theRSSmouthpiece
Organizercarriedanotherarticle,titled"ManuRulesourHearts"byaretiredHighCourtJudgeSankarSubbaAiyar,which
reaffirmedtheirsupportfortheManusmritiasthefinallawgivingauthorityforHindus,ratherthantheConstitutionofIndia.It
stated,

"EventhoughDr.AmbedkarisreportedtohaverecentlystatedinBombaythatthedaysofManuhaveendeditis
neverthelessafactthatthedailylivesofHindusareevenatpresentdayaffectedbytheprinciplesandinjunctions
containedintheManusmrithiandotherSmrithis.EvenanunorthodoxHindufeelshimselfboundatleastinsome
mattersbytherulescontainedintheSmrithisandhefeelspowerlesstogiveupaltogetherhisadherencetothem"[81]

TheRSS'oppositionto,andvitriolicattacksagainsttheConstitutionofIndiaanditsauthorB.R.Ambedkarcontinuedpost
independence,evenlongafterAmbedkar'sdeath.M.S.Golwalkar,thesecondSarsanghchalakoftheRSS,inhisbooktitled
BunchofThoughtsasserted,

"OurConstitutiontooisjustacumbersomeandheterogeneouspiecingtogetherofvariousarticlesfromvarious
ConstitutionsofWesterncountries.Ithasabsolutelynothing,whichcanbecalledourown.Isthereasinglewordof
referenceinitsguidingprinciplesastowhatournationalmissionisandwhatourkeynoteinlifeis?No!"[46][75]

DecolonisationofDadra,NagarHaveliandGoa

AftertheindependenceofIndia,RSSwasoneofthesociopoliticalorganisationswhosupportedandparticipatedinmovements
todecoloniseDadraandNagarHaveli,whichwasatthetimeruledbyPortugal.Inearly1954,volunteersRajaWakankarand
NanaKajrekaroftheRSSvisitedthearearoundaboutDadraandNagarHaveliandDamanseveraltimestostudythetopography
andalsotogetacquaintedwithlocalswhowantedtoswitchfrombeingaPortuguesecolonytobeinganIndianunionterritory.In
April1954,theRSSformedacoalitionwiththeNationalMovementLiberationOrganisation(NMLO),andtheAzadGomantak
Dal(AGD)fortheannexationofDadraandNagarHaveliintotheRepublicofIndia. [82]Onthenightof21July,Unitedfrontof
Goans,agroup,workingindependentlyofthecoalition,capturedthePortuguesepolicestationatDadraanddeclaredDadra
independent.Subsequently,on28July,volunteerteamsoftheRSSandAGDcapturedtheterritoriesofNaroliandPhipariaand
ultimatelythecapitalofSilvassa.ThePortugueseforceswhichescapedandmovedtowardsNagarHaveli,wereassaultedat
KhandvelandwereforcedtoretreatuntiltheysurrenderedtotheIndianborderpoliceatUdavaon11August1954.Anative
administrationwassetupwithAppasahebKarmalkarofNMLOastheAdministratorofDadraandNagarHavelion11August
1954. [82]

ThecaptureofDadraandNagarHaveligaveaboosttothemovementagainstPortuguesecolonialruleintheIndian
subcontinent. [82]In1955,RSSleadersdemandedtheendofPortugueseruleinGoaanditsintegrationintoIndia.WhenPrime
MinisterJawaharlalNehrurefusedtoprovideanarmedintervention,RSSleaderJagannathRaoJoshiledtheSatyagrahaagitation
straightintoGoa.HewasimprisonedwithhisfollowersbythePortuguesepolice.Thenonviolentprotestscontinuedbutmetwith
repression.On15August1955,thePortuguesepoliceopenedfireonthesatyagrahis,killingthirtyorsocivilians. [83]

Wartimeactivities

In1971BangladeshWarofIndependence,RSSvolunteersofferedtheirservicestomaintainlawandorderofthecountryand
wereapparentlythefirsttodonateblood. [84]

MovementagainsttheEmergency

In1975,theIndiraGandhigovernmentproclaimedemergencyruleinIndia,therebysuspendingthefundamentalrightsand
curtailingthefreedomofthepress. [85]ThisactionwastakenaftertheSupremeCourtofIndia,cancelledherelectiontothe
IndianParliamentonchargesofmalpracticesintheelection. [85]Democraticinstitutionsweresuspendedandprominentopposition
leadersincludingGandhianJayaprakashNarayan,werearrestedwhilstthousandsofpeopleweredetainedwithoutanyproper
chargestakenupagainstthem. [86]RSS,whichwasseenclosetooppositionleaders,andwithitslargeorganisationalbasewas
seentohavepotentialoforganisingprotestsagainstthegovernment,wasalsobanned. [87]

TheRSSdefiedthebanandthousandsparticipatedinSatyagrahaagainstthebanandagainsttheviolationofhumanrights
regulations.Later,whentherewasnoletup,thevolunteersoftheRSSformedundergroundmovementsfortherestorationof
democracy.Literaturethatwascensoredinthemediawasclandestinelypublishedanddistributedonalargescaleandfundswere
collectedforthemovement.Networkswereestablishedbetweenleadersofdifferentpoliticalpartiesinthejailandoutsideforthe
coordinationofthemovement. [88]Itsaidthatthemovementwas"dominatedbytensofthousandsofRSScadres,thoughmore
andmoreyoungrecruitsarecoming".Talkingaboutitsobjectivesitsaid"itsplatformatthemomenthasonlyoneplank:tobring
democracybacktoIndia". [89]TheEmergencywasliftedin1977andasaconsequencethebanontheRSSwasalsolifted.

Participationinlandreforms

IthasbeennotedthattheRSSvolunteersparticipatedintheBhoodanmovementorganisedbyGandhianleaderVinobhaBhave,
whohadmetRSSleaderGolwalkarinMeerutinNovember1951.Golwalkarhadbeeninspiredbythemovementthatencouraged
landreformsthroughvoluntarymeans.HepledgedthesupportoftheRSSforthismovement. [90]Consequently,manyRSS
volunteersledbyNanajiDeshmukhparticipatedinthemovement. [1]ButGolwalkarhasalsobeencriticaloftheBhoodan
movement,onotheroccasionsforbeingreactionaryandforworking"merelywithaviewtocounteractingCommunism".He
believedthatthemovementshouldinculcateafaithinthemassesthatcanmakethemriseabovethebaseappealof
communism. [91]

Structure
RSSdoesnothaveanyformalmembership.Accordingtotheofficialwebsite,anyonecanbecomememberbyjoiningthenearest
"shakha",whichisthebasicunit. [92]AlthoughtheRSSclaimsnottokeepmembershiprecords,itisestimatedtohave2.56.0
millionmembers. [93]Thenumberofshakhasstoodat51,335inAugust2015. [94]

Sarsanghchalaks

TheSarsanghchalakistheheadoftheRSSorganisationthepositionisdecidedthroughnominationbypredecessor.Untilasof
October2015,RSSleadershiphasalwaysbeenuppercaste,primarilyBrahmin. [95][96]Theindividualswhohaveheldthepostof
sarsanghchalakinthisorganisationare:

K.B.Hedgewar(19251930.19311940)
LaxmanVamanParanjpe(19301931)
M.S.Golwalkar(19401973)
MadhukarDattatrayaDeoras(19731993)
RajendraSingh(19932000)
K.S.Sudarshan(20002009)
MohanBhagwat(incumbentsince21March2009)
Shakha

"Shakha"isHindifor"branch".Mostofthe
organisationalworkoftheRSSisdonethroughthe
coordinationofshakhasorbranches.Theseshakhasare
runforonehourinpublicplaces.In2004,morethan
51,000shakhaswererunthroughoutIndia.Thenumber
ofShakashadfallenbyover10,000sincethefallofthe
BharatiyaJanataParty(BJP)ledgovernmentin2004.
However,thenumberofShakashasagainincreasedto
about40,000bymid2014afterthereturnofBJPto
powerinDelhiinthesameyear. [97][98][99]
SanghshakhaatNagpurheadquarter
Theshakhasconductvariousactivitiesforitsvolunteers
whichincludephysicalfitnessactivitiesthroughyoga,
exercisesandgames.Ithasotheractivitieswhichemphasizequalitieslikecivicsense,social
service,communitylivingandpatriotism. [100]Thevolunteersaretrainedinfirstaidandinrescue
andrehabilitationoperations.Thevolunteersarealsoencouragedtobecomeinvolvedinthe
developmentalactivitiesofthevillageorlocality. [100][101]

Mission
GolwalkardescribesthemissionoftheRashtriyaSwayamsevakSanghastherevitalisationofthe AnRSSvolunteertakingthe
Indianvaluesystembasedonuniversalismandpeaceandprosperitytoall. [91]Vasudhaiva oathinolduniform
Kutumbakam,theworldviewthatthewholeworldisonefamily,propoundedbytheancient
thinkersofIndia,isconsideredastheultimatemissionoftheorganisation. [102]

Buttheimmediatefocus,theleadersbelieve,isontheHindurenaissance,whichwouldbuildanegalitariansocietyandastrong
Indiathatcouldpropoundthisphilosophy.Hence,thefocusisonsocialreform,economicupliftmentofthedowntroddenandthe
protectionofculturaldiversityofthenativesinIndia. [102]Theorganisationsays,itaspirestouniteallHindusandbuildastrong
India,whichcouldcontributetothewelfareoftheworld.InthewordsofRSSideologueandthesecondheadoftheRSS,
Golwalkar,"inordertobeabletocontributeouruniqueknowledgetomankind,inordertobeabletoliveandstrivefortheunity
andwelfareoftheworld,westandbeforetheworldasaselfconfident,resurgentandmightynation". [91]

InVichardhara(ideology)GolwalkaraffirmstheRSSmissionofintegrationas:[91]

RSShasbeenmakingdeterminedeffortstoinculcateinourpeopletheburningdevotionforBharatanditsnational
ethoskindleinthemthespiritofdedicationandsterlingqualitiesandcharacterrousesocialconsciousness,mutual
goodwill,loveandcooperationamongthemalltomakethemrealisethatcasts,creedsandlanguagesare
secondaryandthatservicetothenationisthesupremeendandtomoldtheirbehaviouraccordinglyinstillinthem
asenseoftruehumilityanddisciplineandtraintheirbodiestobestrongandrobustsoastoshoulderanysocial
responsibilityandthustocreateallroundAnushasanainallwalksoflifeandbuildtogetherallourpeopleintoa
unifiedharmoniousnationalwhole,extendingfromHimalayastoKanyakumari.

M.S.Golwalkar

GolwalkaralsoexplainsthatRSSdoesnotintendtocompeteinelectioneeringpoliticsorsharepower.Themovementconsiders
HindusasinclusiveofSikhs,Jains,Buddhists,tribals,untouchables,Veerashaivism,AryaSamaj,RamakrishnaMissionandother.
asacommunity,aviewsimilartoinclusivereferencingofthetermHinduintheIndianConstitutionArticle25(2)
(b). [103][104][105]

WhenitcametononHindureligions,Golwalkar's(whooncesupportedHitler'screationofasupremeracebysuppressionof
minorities)[106]viewonminoritieswasthatofextremeintolerance.Inamagazinearticlein1998someRSS,andBJPmembers
havebeensaidtohavedistancedthemselvesfromM.SGolwalkar'sviewsthoughnotentirely. [107]
ThenonHindupeopleofHindustanmusteitheradoptHinducultureandlanguages,mustlearnandrespectandhold
inreverencetheHindureligion,mustentertainnoideabutofthoseofglorificationoftheHinduraceand
culture...inawordtheymustceasetobeforeignersOrmaystayinthecountry,whollysubordinatedtotheHindu
nation,claimingnothing,deservingnoprivileges,farlessanypreferentialtreatmentnotevencitizens'rights

M.S.Golwalkar[108]

Affiliatedorganisations
OrganisationswhichareinspiredbytheRashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh'sideologyreferthemselvesasthemembersoftheSangh
Parivar. [93]Inmostofthecases,pracharaks(fulltimevolunteersoftheRSS)weredeputedtostartupandmanagethese
organisationsintheirinitialyears.
Theaffiliatedorganisationsinclude:[109]

BharatiyaJanataParty(BJP),literally,IndianPeople'sParty(23m)[110]
BharatiyaKisanSangh,literally,IndianFarmers'Association(8m)[110]
BharatiyaMazdoorSangh,literally,IndianLabourAssociation(10millionason2009)[110]
SevaBharti,Organisationforserviceoftheneedy.
RashtraSevikaSamiti,literally,NationalVolunteerAssociationforWomen(1.8m)[110]
AkhilBharatiyaVidyarthiParishad,literally,AllIndiaStudents'Forum(2.8m)[110]
ShikshaBharati(2.1m)[110]
VishwaHinduParishad,WorldHinduCouncil(2.8m)[110]
HinduSwayamsevakSangh,literally,HinduVolunteerAssociationoverseaswing
SwadeshiJagaranManch,NativistAwakeningFront[111]
SaraswatiShishuMandir,Nursery
VidyaBharati,EducationalInstitutes
VanavasiKalyanAshram,Organisationsfortheimprovementoftribals,andFriendsofTribalsSociety
MuslimRashtriyaManch,OrganisationfortheimprovementofMuslims
BajrangDal,ArmyofHanuman(2m)
AnusuchitJatiJamatiArakshanBachaoParishad,OrganisationfortheimprovementofDalits
LaghuUdyogBharati,anextensivenetworkofsmallindustries. [112][113]
BharatiyaVicharaKendra,ThinkTank.
VishwaSamvadKendra,CommunicationWing,spreadalloverIndiaformediarelatedwork,havingateamofIT
professionals(samvada.org(http://samvada.org/))
RashtriyaSikhSangat,asocioculturalorganisationwiththeaimtospreadtheknowledgeofGurbanitotheIndian
society. [114]
VivekanandaKendra,promotionofSwamiVivekananda'sideaswithVivekanandaInternationalFoundationinNewDelhi
asapublicpolicythinktankwith6Centresofstudy

OtherHinduorganisationsarealsoinspiredfromRSS'sphilosophy.

RSShasneverdirectlycontestedelections,butsupportspartiesthatareideologicallysimilar.AlthoughRSSgenerallyendorses
theBharatiyaJanataParty(BJP),itattimesrefusedtodosoduetodifferenceofopinionwiththeparty.RSSisopentosupport
anypoliticalpartythatsubscribestoitsviews. [115][116]

ThevolunteersoftheRSShavealsoheldprominentpoliticalandadministrativepositionsinIndiaincludingthePrimeMinisterof
India,theVicePresidentofIndia,theHomeMinisterandMinistersintheCentralGovernment,GovernorsandChiefMinistersof
variousstatesandthemembersofelectedbodiesatthestateandthenationallevelandtheIndianambassadortothe
US. [117][118][119]

Socialserviceandreform
TheRSShasadvocatedthetrainingofDalitsandotherbackwardclassesastemplehighpriests(apositiontraditionallyreserved
forCasteBrahminsanddeniedtolowercastes).TheyarguethatthesocialdivisivenessoftheCastesystemisresponsibleforthe
lackofadherencetoHinduvaluesandtraditionsandreachingouttothelowercastesinthismannerwillbearemedytothe
problem. [120]TheRSShasalsocondemned"uppercaste"HindusforpreventingDalitsfromworshippingattemples,sayingthat
"evenGodwilldesertthetempleinwhichDalitscannotenter". [121]

ChristopheJaffrelotsaidthat"thereisinsufficientdataavailabletocarryoutastatisticalanalysisofsocialoriginsoftheearly
RSSleaders"butgoesontoconclude,basedonsomeknownprofilesthatmostoftheRSSfoundersanditsleadingorganisers,
withexceptionswereMaharashtrianBrahminsfrommiddleorlowerclass[122]andarguesthatthepervasivenessofthe
Brahminicalethicintheorganisationwasprobablythemainreasonwhyitfailedtoattractsupportfromthelowcastes.Heargues
thatthe"RSSresortedtoinstrumentalisttechniquesofethnoreligiousmobilisationinwhichitsBrahminismwasdilutedto
overcomethishandicap". [123]HoweverAndersonandDamle(1987)findthatmembersofallcasteshavebeenwelcomedintothe
organisationandaretreatedasequals. [1]

DuringMahatmaGandhi'svisittoRSSCampaccompaniedbyMahadevDesaiandMirabehnatWardhain1934,hesaid,"WhenI
visitedtheRSSCamp,Iwasverymuchsurprisedbyyourdisciplineandabsenceofuntouchablity."Hepersonallyinquiredto
Swayamsevaksandfoundthattheywerelivingandeatingtogetherinthecampwithoutbotheringtoknowtheircastes. [124]

ItisnotedthatRSSprovideseducationtothepeopleofruralIndiaandsociallybackwardclasseslivingunderthepoverty. [125]

Reliefandrehabilitation
TheRSSwasinstrumentalinreliefeffortsafterthe1971OrissaCyclone,1977AndhraPradeshCyclone[126]andinthe1984
Bhopaldisaster. [127][128]Itassistedinreliefeffortsduringthe2001Gujaratearthquake,andhelpedrebuildvillages. [126][129]
Approximately35,000RSSmembersinuniformwereengagedinthereliefefforts, [130]andmanyoftheircriticsacknowledged
theirrole. [131]AnRSSaffiliatedNGO,SevaBharati,conductedreliefoperationsintheaftermathofthe2004IndianOcean
earthquake.Activitiesincludedbuildingsheltersforthevictimsandprovidingfood,clothesandmedicalnecessities. [132]TheRSS
assistedreliefeffortsduringthe2004SumatraAndamanearthquakeandthesubsequenttsunami. [133]SevaBharatialsoadopted
57children(38Muslimsand19Hindus)frommilitancyaffectedareasofJammuandKashmirtoprovidethemeducationatleast
uptoHigherSecondarylevel. [134][135]TheyalsotookcareofvictimsoftheKargilWarof1999. [136]

In2006,RSSparticipatedinreliefeffortstoprovidebasicnecessitiessuchasfood,milk,andpotablewatertothepeopleof
Surat,Gujaratwhowereaffectedbyfloodsintheregion. [137]TheRSSvolunteerscarriedoutreliefandrehabilitationworkafter
thefloodsaffectedNorthKarnatakaandsomedistrictsofthestateofAndhraPradesh. [138]In2013,followingtheUttarakhand
floods,RSSvolunteerswereinvolvedinfloodreliefworksthroughitsofficessetupataffectedareas. [139][140]

CourtrulingsonRSS
'TheHindu'andothersvs.RSS

ThecaserevolvedaroundtheRSSsuitfordefamationbypublicationofstatementsinTheHinduattributedtoveterancongress
leaderArjunSingh[141]that"..theRSS,isanorganizationbeingresponsibleforthekillingofFatheroftheNationMahatma
Gandhi...OurfirstdutyisthatthefascistforcesoftheRSSshouldbedetected.Today,Governmentadministrationisingripof
theRSS,wehavetocleanseit."Initsjudgmentdated7May2012,thePunjabandHaryanaHighCourtclearedthepublishersand
heldthat,undertheprotectionavailableintheArticle19(1)(a)oftheConstitutionofIndia,thenewspaperhasaccurately
publishedthematerialandtheRSScomplaintwasfiledwith"malafideintention"to"wreakvengeance". [142]

TheStateofMadhyaPradeshVsRamshankerRaghuvanshi

ManycaseshavebeenreportedinpostindependenceIndiawhereRSSvolunteershavebeendiscriminatedagainstbythe
governmentduetotheirallegiancetotheRSS. [143]Inacourtcaseofateacherwhowasdismissedfromserviceduetohispast
linkswiththeRSS,theSupremeCourtofIndiacalledthegovernment'saction"McCarthyism"anda"violationoffundamental
rights". [144][145][146]
Amunicipalschoolteacher,RamshankerRaghuvanshi,wasdismissedbytheCongressgovernmentofMadhyaPradeshin1974,
whichstatedthathehadtaken"partintheRSS"activitiesandthusmayhavebeen"notafitpersontobeentertainedin
Governmentservice".TheSupremeCourtdismissedtheargumentsofthegovernmentandstatedthatthegovernmenthadnot
adheredtotheprovisionsoftheIndianConstitution.TheSupremeCourtbenchconsistingofJusticeSyedMurtuzaFazalaliand
JusticeO.ChinnappaReddyobservedthat"Indiaisnotapolicestate"andpleadedthatthe"promiseoffundamentalrights
enshrinedintheIndianConstitutionnotbecomeaforgottenchapterofhistory".Deliveringthejudgment,theCourtclaimedthat
itbelieves"seekingapolicereportonperson'spoliticalfaith",inthefirstplace,"amountedtotheviolationoffundamental
rights".TheSupremeCourtruledinfavorofthemunicipalteacherandorderedhisreinstatement. [144][145][146]

StateofKarnatakav.RanganathacharyaAgnihotri

SimilardecisionsweremadebytheHighcourtsofdifferentstatesofIndiaindifferentcasesofpoliticalpersecutionofRSS
volunteers. [143]OnecaseinvolvedRanganathacharyaAgnihotri,whowasselectedforthepostofMunsiffbutwasnotabsorbed
intoserviceatleastpartiallybecausehehadbeenavolunteeroftheRSSinhispast.WhenAgnihotriapproachedtothethenHigh
CourtofMysore(nowKarnatakaHighCourt),hewasreinstated.TheCourtsaid:

PrimafacietheRSSisanonpoliticalculturalorganisationwithoutanyhatredorillwilltowardsnonHindusand
thatmanyeminentandrespectedpersonsinthecountryhavenothesitatedtopresideoverthefunctionsor
appreciatetheworkofitsvolunteers.Inacountrylikeourswhichhasacceptedthedemocraticwayoflife(as
ensuredbytheConstitution),itwouldnotbewithinreasontoacceptthepropositionthatmeremembershipofsuch
peacefulornonviolentassociationandparticipationinactivitiesthereof,willrenderaperson(inwhosecharacter
andantecedentstherearenootherdefects)unsuitabletobeappointedtothepostofaMunsiff.

KarnatakaHighCourt

DarshanLalJainVsCRIraniandOthers

On15January2000,TheStatesmancarriedastoryabouttheRSSthatdepictedtheRSSasthekillerofGandhi. [147]
Subsequently,theDelhiunitoftheRSSfiledacriminalcaseofdefamationagainstauthorofthearticleA.G.Nooranialongwith
thecartoonistandtheManagingDirectorofthepublishinghouse.WhentwooftheaccuseddidnotrespondtotheCourt
summons,nonbailablewarrantswereissuedintheirnamebytheCourt. [148]On25February2002,Nooraniwrotean
unconditionalapologytothecourtinwhichheregrettedwritingthedefamatoryarticleagainsttheRSS.On3March2002,The
Statesmanalsopublishedanapologyregrettingthepublicationofthearticle. [149][150]

Others

TheRSShasbeenbannedinIndiathrice,duringperiodsinwhichthegovernmentofthetimeposedthattheywereathreattothe
state:in1948afterMahatmaGandhi'sassassination,duringtheEmergency(197577),andafterthe1992BabriMasjid
demolition.Thebansweresubsequentlylifted,in1949aftertheRSSwasabsolvedofchargesintheGandhimurdercase,in1977
asaresultoftheEmergencybeingrevoked,andin1993whennoevidenceofanyunlawfulactivitieswasfoundagainstitbythe
tribunalconstitutedundertheUnlawfulActivities(Prevention)Act. [151]

Reception
FieldMarshalCariappainhisspeechtoRSSvolunteerssaid"RSSismyheart'swork.Mydearyoungmen,don'tbedisturbedby
uncharitablecommentsofinterestedpersons.Lookahead!Goahead!Thecountryisstandinginneedofyourservices"[152]

ZakirHussain,formerPresidentofIndiatoldMiladMehfilinMonghyaron20November1949,"TheallegationsagainstRSSof
violenceandhatredagainstMuslimsarewhollyfalse.Muslimsshouldlearnthelessonofmutuallove,cooperationand
organisationfromRSS."[153][154]

GandhianleaderandtheleaderofSarvodaymovement,JayaprakashNarayan,whoearlierwasavocalopponentofRSShadthe
followingtosayaboutitin1977"RSSisarevolutionaryorganisation.Nootherorganisationinthecountrycomesanywherenear
it.Italonehasthecapacitytotransformsociety,endcasteismandwipethetearsfromtheeyesofthepoor."Hefurtheradded"I
havegreatexpectationsfromthisrevolutionaryorganisationwhichhastakenupthechallengeofcreatinganewIndia."[87]
Criticismsandaccusations
ChristopheJaffrelot,DirectoroftheCenterforStudiesandResearch(CERI),observesthatalthoughtheRSSwithitsparamilitary
styleoffunctioninganditsemphasisondisciplinehassometimesbeenseenbysomeas"anIndianversionoffascism", [155]he
arguesthat"RSS'sideologytreatssocietyasanorganismwithasecularspirit,whichisimplantednotsomuchintheraceasina
socioculturalsystemandwhichwillberegeneratedoverthecourseoftimebypatientworkatthegrassroots.Hewritesthat
ideologyoftheRSSdidnotdevelopatheoryofthestateandtherace,acrucialelementsinEuropeannationalismsNazismand
Fascism"[155]andthattheRSSleaderswereinterestedinculturalasopposedtoracialsameness. [156]

ThelikeningoftheSanghParivartofascismbyWesterncriticshasalsobeencounteredbyJyotirmayaSharmawholabelleditas
anattemptbythemto"makesenseofthegrowthofextremistpoliticsandintolerancewithintheirsociety,"andthatsuch
"simplistictransference"hasdonegreatinjusticetoourknowledgeofHindunationalistpolitics. [157]

RSShasbeencriticisedasanextremistorganisationandasaparamilitarygroup. [2][3][6]Ithasalsobeencriticisedwhenits
membersparticipatedinantiMuslimviolence[158]andhassinceformedmilitantwingBajrangDal. [18][159]Alongwithother
extremistorganisationstheRSSwasinvolvedinawiderangeofriots,oftenincitingandorganisingviolenceagainst
Christians[160]andMuslims. [5]

Involvementwithriots

TheRSShasbeencensuredforitsinvolvementincommunalriots.

Aftergivingcarefulandseriousconsiderationtoallthematerialsthatareonrecord,theCommissionisoftheview
thattheRSSwithitsextensiveorganisationinjamshedpurandwhichhadcloselinkswiththeBharatiyaJanataParty
andtheBharatiyaMazdoorSanghhadapositivehandincreatingaclimatewhichwasmostpropitiousforthe
outbreakofcommunaldisturbances.Inthefirstinstance,thespeechofShriDeoras(deliveredjustfivedaysbefore
theRamNavamifestival)tendedtoencouragetheHinduextremiststobeunyieldingintheirdemandsregarding
RoadNo.14.Secondly,hisspeechamountedtocommunalpropaganda.Thirdly,theshakhasandthecampsthat
wereheldduringthedivisionalconferencepresentedamilitantatmospheretotheHindupublic.Inthe
circumstances,thecommissioncannotbutholdtheRSSresponsibleforcreatingaclimateforthedisturbancesthat
tookplaceonthe11thofApril,1979

JitendraNarayaninareportonJamshedpurriotsof1979[161][162]

HumanRightsWatch,anongovernmentalorganisationforhumanrightsbasedinNewYork,hasclaimedthattheVishwaHindu
Parishad(WorldHinduCouncil,VHP),theBajrangDal,theRashtriyaSwayamsevakSanghandtheBJPhavebeenpartytothe
Gujaratviolencethateruptedafter56HinduswereburntaliveinacoachofSabarmatiExpresstrainatGodhrastationbya
Muslimmob. [163]LocalVHP,BJPandBDleadershavebeennamedinmanypolicereportsfiledbyeyewitnesses. [164]RSSand
VHPclaimedthattheymadeappealstoputanendtotheviolenceandtohaveaskedtheirsupportersandvolunteerstaffto
preventanyactivitythatmightdisruptpeace. [165]

ReligiousviolenceinOdisha

ChristiangroupsaccusetheRSSalongsideitscloseaffiliates,theVishwaHinduParishad(VHP),theBajrangDal(BD)andthe
HinduJagaranSammukhya(HJS)ofparticipationinthe2008religiousviolenceinOdisha. [166]

InvolvementinBabriMasjiddemolition

AccordingtothereportoftheLiberhanCommissiontheSanghParivarorganisedthedestructionoftheBabriMasjid. [158][167]
TheCommissionsaid"TheblameorthecreditfortheentiretempleconstructionmovementatAyodhyamustnecessarilybe
attributedtotheSanghParivar". [168]ItalsonotedthattheSanghParivarisan"extensiveandwidespreadorganicbody",which
encompassesorganisations,whichaddressandbringtogetherjustabouteverytypeofsocial,professionalandotherdemographic
groupingofindividuals.
Eachtime,anewdemographicgrouphasemerged,theSanghParivarhashivedoffsomeofitsRSSinnercore
leadershiptoharnessthatgroupandbringitwithinthefold,enhancingthevoterbaseoftheParivar. [169]

TheRSShasdeniedreliabilityandquestionedtheobjectivityofthereport.FormerRSSchiefK.S.Sudarshanposedallegations
thatthemosquewasdemolishedbythegovernmentmenasopposedtotheKarsevaks.TheRSSallegesthatthecommission
reportsarefabricatedandmotivatedprimarilybyantiIndiansentimentthananyobjectivedesiretoseekjustice."[170]
[checkquotationsyntax]Ontheotherhand,agovernmentofIndiawhitepaperdismissedtheideathatthedemolitionwaspre

organised. [171]

NotableSwayamsevaks
AtalBihariVajpayee
EknathRanade
NarendraModi
ManoharParrikar
NitinGadkari
RajnathSingh
MurliManoharJoshi

AtalBihariVajpayee, NarendraModi,second
firstswayamsevakto swayamsevakto
becomethePrime becomethePrime
MinisterofIndia. MinisterofIndia.

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Books

BhishikarC.P.KeshavSanghNirmata1976HindiTranslationbyTapasviMoreshwar1991SuruchiPrakashanNewDelhi110055India
GolwalkarM.S.ShriGurujiSamagraSuruchiPrakashanNewDelhi110055India
SinhaRakeshDr.KeshavBaliramHedgewar2003NewDelhiPublicationDivisionMinistryofInformation&BroadcastingGovernment
ofIndia
'Krant'M.L.VermaSarfaroshiKiTamanna(4Volumes)ResearchworkonRamPrasadBismil1/1079EMehrauliNewDelhiPraveen
Prakashan1997
'Krant'M.L.VermaSwadhintaSangramKeKrantikariSahityaKaItihas(Setof3Volumes),476061,IIndFloor,23,AnsariRoad,
Daryaganj,NewDelhi110002,PraveenPrakashan,2006,ISBN8177831224(Set).
Dr.MehrotraN.C.&Dr.TandonManishaSwatantrataAndolanMeinShahjahanpurKaYogdan1995ShahjahanpurIndiaShaheedEAazam
Pt.RamPrasadBismilTrust.
Jelen,TedGerard(2002).ReligionandPoliticsinComparativePerspective:TheOne,TheFew,andTheMany.Cambridge,UK:
CambridgeUniversityPress.ISBN0521650313.ISBN052165971X.
Chitkara,M.G.(2004).RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh:NationalUpsurge.APHPublishing.ISBN9788176484657.

Publications

"Panchajanya"(inHindi).RSSweeklypublication.
"Organiser".RSSweeklypublication.
BunchofThoughts.Banglore,India:SahityaSindhuPrakashan.1966.ISBN8186595198.(ACollectionofSpeechesbyGolwalkar).
WeeklySwastika(http://www.eswastika.com/)(ANationalistBengaliNewsWeekly)
BiographiesofDr.HedgewarThefounderofRSS(inHindiandEnglish).

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