New RSS uniform is a long stretch over khaki shorts

RSS volunteers check out the new trousers at the headquarters in Nagpur.

RSS volunteers check out the new trousers at the headquarters in Nagpur.  

Bidding goodbye to the traditional khaki shorts, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) launched the sale of its new uniform — brown trousers — at its headquarters in Nagpur on Monday.

The change marks a radical departure, the first such in the organisation’s 91-year-history. The brown trousers are intended to attract youth “who do not feel so comfortable with the traditional knickers”.

The decision to replace the khaki shorts with trousers was taken at the RSS’s Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha held at Nagaur, Rajasthan, earlier this year. The new uniforms were made in Rajasthan and the first consignment reached Nagpur on Sunday.

The trousers will be on show at the first major event to be held on Vijayadasami in October at Reshimbag ground in Nagpur.

Every member of the RSS has to purchase the uniform. “No one is excluded from this. Even the Sarsanghchalak [chief] has to buy his uniform,” said Dilip Deodhar, former RSS member and thinker.

Pegging the price

The price of the new attire has been kept at Rs.250 and the rest of the uniform — white shirt, canvas belt, black cap, black shoes — is also being sold along with the trousers.

Mr. Deodhar said the idea to introduce trousers was discussed within the RSS in 2010, but the media reported it and a dismayed RSS did not want to be seen implementing something that had gone public.

Mr. Deodhar claimed that the second RSS chief, M.S. Golwalkar, never used the cap and stick because of his background in the Ramakrishna Math.

Shorts of 1925 vintage

The familiar RSS dress symbolised by shorts was adopted in 1925, including leather belts, long black shoes, khaki cap and a stick. The first change took place in 1930, when the khaki cap was replaced by a black one, and this was followed by a white shirt in place of khaki.

Again, in 1973, there was a third alteration when lighter shoes were introduced. The last change came in 2011, when Jain muni Tarun Sagar said the use of a leather belt was “not so related to non-violence”. The leather belt was overnight replaced with a canvas equivalent.

RSS units outside India are known as the ‘Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’ and its members are allowed to use trousers.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 11:03:44 PM |

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