Monday, Jul 04, 2022
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Decoding The Journey Of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

The journey of the RSS is baffling to many. Despite political and intellectual opposition, it continues to go from strength to strength. How does one decode the Sangh?

Marching beats RSS shakha marking Republic Day in New Delhi Photograph: Getty Images

A small delegation of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad visited Moscow during the Janata Party rule in the late 1970s when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Ext­ernal Affairs Minister. Unable to find a place to hold their RSS shakha, the young men chose a park and organised what they fondly named ‘Pushkin Shakha’. Among them were Arun Jai­tley and Dattatreya Hosabale, currently sarkaryavah (general secretary) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), number two in the org­anisation after sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat.

Decades later, another swayamsevak Rajesh Asher hoisted the saffron flag at an improbable place, when he held a solitary shakha at the South Pole under -45°C temperature in 2012. A few years on, now 60, Asher held a shakha at a height of over 6,000 m, when he climbed the Island Peak, Nepal, in 2016.

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