There were lots of jokes and humour on social network when RSS declared change in its uniform. Nowadays, even RSS are making bold decisions which were never expected. Their support to women’s entry in temples is one of them. They said both men and women should be treated equally; this is very progressive and realistic move by RSS. This is far beyond the conservative thoughts too, as people are projecting the organization as. RSS might be going little liberal looking at people’s disagreement for them. When the question rose about compromising the core ideology of “Sangh Parivar” in any action of the central government or the BJP, Amit Shah publically announced that government actions will be dictated by the ideology and principles for which the BJP was established and for which thousands of swayamsevaks have laid down their lives. During the three-day RSS Pratinidhi Sabha, Shah made a detailed presentation to the RSS functionaries on the work done by the BJP in the last one year. Shah was flanked by the BJP’s National General Secretary for the organisation, Ram Lal, when he spoke to the RSS brass.
Shah started by recounting the major achievements of the Modi government over the last one year. He also spoke about the extensive ideological training programme that is currently underway for BJP workers. The BJP chief also briefed the RSS about the effort being made to build a party office in every district of the country.
Hitting out at the so called pseudo-secularists; Shah described Modi as a champion of nationalism. He emphasised the need for greater synergy between different wings of the RSS and the Modi government and said that every action of the government would be in keeping with the core ideology of the Sangh Parivar. Shah even said the budget proposal to tax Provident Fund was rolled back by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after feedback was given by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. He asked the RSS affiliates to show patience on contentious issues where they felt the government was not moving with speed. He said that the lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha was holding back some of the steps the government wanted to take and promised that this would get resolved in time to come.
The BJP president also appealed to RSS functionaries to help the party campaign in the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states in April and May. Usually, the RSS is wary of campaigning for regular elections and wants its functionaries to be involved convincing only in exceptional circumstances, like the 2014 general elections. However, Shah is trying to convince the RSS to help them in every election. BJP and RSS both needs each other by their side to survive, elections in UP are core key issue and it’s a question of BJP’s credibility.
There is another major development in RSS and they have broken the nine-decade old tradition. Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has replaced its khaki coloured knickers with brown trousers as the uniform. The decision was taken at the Pratinidhi Sabha. RSS members said they are not rigid, so changing with time is necessity of the nature. Pants are a regular feature in today’s social life, so they took the decision accordingly. For many decades the loose fitting, flappy khaki knickers have been the most visible manifestation of RSS volunteers. A large section of the RSS now feels that the time has come to move on from the khaki shorts but some old timers continue to hold out saying that there is no need to be swayed by fashion trends. Suggestions have come for changing the trademark khaki to blue or grey, keeping in the mind sensibilities of the new generation, which RSS says is flocking to its shakhas. The khaki uniform, the organisation claims, was designed by its first Sarsanghchalak KB Hedgewar, who borrowed it from the Congress Sewa Dal, a Congress sister organisation founded in 1924. In 1930, the black cap was adopted. In 1940, white shirts were introduced as the British banned private institutions from conducting drills as World War II broke out. Later, in early 1970s, high boots made way for leather shoes. The last change came in 2010, when leather belts were jettisoned in favour of canvas belts.
A formal announcement about the decision is made. When the proposal was last debated some 5 years ago, it was rejected by the senior members of the hardcore ‘Hindutva’ organization. Finally, after the formal announcement, we can say ‘Good Bye knickers and Hello trousers’.