From shorts to trousers: RSS' fresh plan to woo youths?

New Delhi: If one gave ear to the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it would be hard to miss the resounding pride in his voice when he laid emphasis on 'young blood' that India possesses — having the capability to change the world. The makeover of Rashtriya Samajik Sangh (RSS), from shorts to trousers, seems as a strategy to woo these 356 million people between the age of 10–24.

At the recently concluded meet of Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Mandal in Ranchi, a discussion was held for replacing the trademark khaki baggy shorts — that defined the members of RSS for over 90 years — with full-length trousers. Some swayamsevaks were also spotted donning the new attire, and parading before the RSS members at the event.


If sources be believed there were mixed reviews about the proposed change in RSS camp. “Some favoured replacing the shorts, while others opposed it,” said Satish Modh, Konkan Prant Sanghchalak of the RSS. The members, who were critical of the transformation, reasoned that the move would tamper with the identity of RSS.


The shift, as believed by the organisation and interpreted by experts, is to keep pace with changing times and in a way, appear attractive to youth, who shy away from wearing shorts over their concern of being subject to ridicule.


According to a report in The Indian Express, RSS is weighing out two options. A T-shirt, black trouser, the trademark black cap, white canvas shoe and khaki socks makes for the first choice. The second, on the other hand, includes a full-sleeve white shirt, pants — colours varying from khaki, navy blue, blue or grey — black leather or rexine shoes, khaki socks, a canvas belt and a black cap.


There are 51,335 shakhas and about 10 swayamsevaks in each shakha; simple mathematics would take the demand of new uniforms to more than 5 lakhs. “Given the huge requirement of new uniforms, it could take years to implement the decision once the new uniform is finalised,” a Sangh pracharak said.


As for now, a team of 12-members, constituting central executive members and prant pracharaks, will collect the ground report. And thereafter, will be submitting the report next year to the highest decision-making body of the RSS: the All India Pratinidhi Sabha.


By: Mayank Mohanti