Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is essentially a Hindu male society, dedicated towards delivering ‘altruistic service’ to the nation. Founded by Dr. Keshava Baliram Hedgewar, the RSS was a cultural and social organization, focused towards resisting British Rule in the country and lending a helping hand to the local freedom movement. In this regard, it was one of the first groups to do so and thereafter has established itself as one of the most respected and sincere charitable institutions.
The philosophical framework of the RSS is developed upon the ideology of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’, which means the ‘entire world is a single family’. Some of the salient objectives of the organization are as follows:
o Building the character and personality of man. The basic focus was to develop self service, support, group activity based upon the principal tenet of ‘One for all and all of One’.
o Development of the nation as a whole, through dedication, sincerity and hard work.
o Protecting the fundamental principle i.e. Dharma. Working together, for each other and building character are the basic Dharma of the organization.
o Unity amongst the Hindus worldwide through objective dedication and work.
The official flag of RSS is known as Bhagwadhaj. The color scheme of the flag is predominantly saffron and portrays the flames of a Yajna (ritualistic fire). The Bhagwadhaj is regarded as the Guru and denotes the sacrificial and courageous fervor of the RSS. Hoisted every day during the Shakha period, the Bhagwadhaj represents the fiery temperament as well as the unity of the RSS members.
The Work Culture:
Though very large in size, the working culture of the organization is very simple in nature. The Sangh is divided into various branches or Shakhas for the purpose of organizational efficiency, but have a uniform functional mechanism. Regular meetings are organized by the Swayam sevaks. The meetings have a one week period of physical conditioning i.e. praying and playing. Other physical activities like Yoga and Meditation are also engaged into during this period. Thereafter large groups of people sit together and discuss general issues such as local, national and international affairs.
The Shakhas play a very significant and crucial role in the Sangh. They proactively groom the Sevaks and aid them in performing the basic tasks of the organization.
How does one become a member of the Sangh?
The membership of the Sangh is very simple. One can enroll himself with the Sangh just by following the scheduled program and the customized guidelines of the Shakha.
Structure of RSS:
BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) Indian People’s Party. Political Wing
VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) Cultural Council
Sewa Vibhag (The community services wing)
Introduction of the various wings:
BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian Peoples Council):
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the most significant political facet of the RSS. It was established in the year 1980 and is the second largest political party in India.
VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Cultural Council):
Founded on 29th August, 1964 (Janmashtami Day), it was named the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or the Cultural Council. Its fundamental objective is to consolidate and strengthen the Hindu society. It tries to achieve its objective through social support, cultural events and development of the Hindu Dharma.
Sewa Vibhag is the ‘socio-cultural organization’ based upon the ideals of Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Its main activity is providing service to the nation. The efforts of the Sewa Vibhag are directed towards integrating the society and holistic development of the nation. The basic principles of the organization are as follows:
o Seva (Service), Sanskar (Culture) and Sangathan (Group)
o Kindling Hope and Happiness around.
o Service to mankind is Service to God.
Organizational structure of the RSS:
The RSS is primarily divided into three vertical Sanghs. The important functionaries of the Sakhas are as follows:
o Ghatanayaks (Group Leaders) – Inspire the Swayam Sevaks to attend the Sakha activities.
o Shikshaks (Instructors) – Conduct the daily activities of the Shakhas.
o Mukhyashikshak (Chief Instructor) – Takes care of the activities of the Shakhas.
o Mandal-Karyavaha (Group Head) – Takes care of a group of Shakhas in a particular area.
o Sanghachalak (President) – Guides and directs the activities of the Shakhas in a particular area.
o Pracharaks (Preacher) – Spreads the principles of the organization. Considered as the backbone of the organization, they remain bachelors and maintain celibacy throughout their lives.
o Sarakaryavaha (General Secretary) – They are executive heads of the RSS.
The Sarakaryavaha acts as the chairman of the Akhila Bharata Karyakari Mandal (ABKM), whose members are nominated by him. The ABKM is the primary coordinating body of the RSS Shakhas and also helps in the development of the policies and programs of the organization. The rules, regulations and the bylaws are also framed by the ABKM. The Akhila Bharat Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) is the body of elected representatives from the states.
Other Organization profiles of RSS:
The Vidhya Bharati is the organization which directly addresses the mental and spiritual architecture of the children of the country. The principle of the organization is based upon the belief that children are the foundation for a better tomorrow. It directly focuses upon the development of the personality and the values of the children. There are almost fifty regional and state committees of the organization. The organization caters to almost 30 lakh students under the direct guidance of almost 1 lakh teachers. There are Vidya Mandir, Shishu Mandir, Saraswati Vidhyalaya, Shishu Vatika and various other training centers.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch is essentially a platform for the promotion of the 100 year old Swadeshi concept. The main mandate of the platform is to promote the awareness of the concept of self dependence and economic sustainability. The concept out-rightly rejects the dependence on western nations and the empowerment of the nation.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) USA:
The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) is a non-profit organization. For the purpose of developing strong leadership and character amongst the members, the HSS utilizes the athletic and academic faculties of an individual. It promotes the values of selfless spirit, self-confidence, social service (seva) and rigid discipline. The HSS is basically inspired by the belief that the whole world is a single family and therefore cultural synchronization and harmony is of utmost significance. It established its branches (shakhas) in USA in 1989 and has almost 140 centers.
Bharat Vikas Parishad:
The Bharat Vikas Parishad was established in the year 1963 and it is a voluntary, non-political, socio-cultural and service oriented organization. The basic objective of the organization is to pool the well-to-do and intellectual sections of the society and channelize them towards the upliftment and welfare of the poor.
Rashtriya Sevika Samiti:
The Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, is an organization dedicated towards the enlightenment and welfare of the women. It generates awareness amongst the women towards their socio-cultural responsibilities. The Samiti employs various methods such as Yoga, community service, team-building games and other similar personality development activities to achieve the holistic development of women and help them to lead the society. The members of the Samiti enroll themselves in the numerous Shakhas across the country and are called as Sevikas.
Bharatiya Kisan Sangh:
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh is essentially an organization dedicated towards the cause of holistic development and progress of the farmers of the country. It is the sole organization for farmer welfare, which is not affiliated to any political organization.
Funds for the works:
The RSS being a non-profit organization receives and accepts donations from well wishers across the globe. The tremendous track record and credentials of the organization ensure the smooth flow of contributions to the organization.