Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh



The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Sangh or RSS as it is popularly known)was founded in 1925 by Dr. Keshava Baliram Hedgewar on Vijaydashami day. Its influence is growing ever since it was established in 1925, before India got its independence. It is one of the biggest voluntary organizations of the world having over 50 lakhs Swayamsevaks. It is engaged in uniting Hindus and thereby is aimed at taking India to its pinnacle of glory.


Dr. Hedgewar was puzzled that Mughals and British could enslave Bharat, a superior nation with its matured civilization having courageous people who were ready for sacrifices. Most of the leaders at that time were of the opinion that slavery is the root cause of all the problems of Indian society and that independence would resolve all the issues. But Dr. Hedgewar realized that independence alone can not solve all the problems of the Indian society. Dr. Hedgewar was trying to find out the problems that led to slavery. He started analysing the reasons for slavery during his participation in freedom movement. He came to the conclusion that a disorganized society incapable of responding to the challenges coherently is inherently weak and would eventually loose freedom.

As a remedy, he envisioned the need of systematic efforts towards organizing the society. Unity among the disorganized


society (units) could be achieved only on a firm ground. Indian society is astonishingly diverse with many religions, language and regional differences. But it is also true that Indian way of life could achieve material prosperity combined with spiritual advancement peacefully. Social harmony is very natural among diverse groups in our society. The uniqueness of India -rooted in spiritual heritage and cultural homogeneity - is essentially Hindu. Sanatana-Dharmaliterally meaning 'eternal law' is seen by Jndians as that which is sustaining the universe from the time immemorial. For Hindus, all activities including public affairs is guided by all encompassing Dharma. Democracy, Secularism and Social Harmony becomes by­products of Dharmic way of life. In India, these realizations were cherished from a very long time. Therefore, nationalism in the context of India is nothing but Hindu way of life. Dr. Hedgewar foresaw the need of creating awareness and pride about Indian culture and spiritual heritage among newer generations. He decided to start a dedicated organization for this noble cause.

Dr. Hedgewar clearly articulated the nature of the organization. "It is not for attacking others, nor is it aimed at annihilating some groups. Idea is not to become prosperous by snatching others wealth. The organization would put an end to the unjust, aggressive tendencies of others. So far, looking at our weakness, others were attracted to plunder us. To ensure that nobody ever has the courage to attack us, we want to make this organization strong. If other societies do not attack us, our strength will be no harm to them. Protection of Dharma, Society and Culture is the aim of Sangh. Looking at our strength, miscreant nature of aggressor will dwindle and they shall never dare to attack us again"

Secondly, adherence to Dharmic principles is the only way to ensure lasting peace and harmony in the world. The one who is weak can not protect Dharma. Therefore the Sangh has taken up the responsibility of building a strong organized society. This is the very work of Dharma. According to Dr. Hedgewar, "Other objectives, apart from this are secondary in our view".


The RSS objective is also stated in several one liners. "Uniting Hindus", "Organizing Indian society", "Protecting Dharma", "Hindutva", "Man making", "Character building", "Commitment to take India to the highest glory" - convey different aspects of the same task taken up by the Sangh. The essential characteristic of India is referred by many terms

-   Hindu, Sanatana, Vaideeka, and Bharateeyata - meaning the same in essence.

Elaborating further, Jains, Buddhists are being interpreted as Hindus in the wider sense. Logically extending any Indian national - Muslim and Christian included - harmoniously mingling in the Indian society is a Hindu - according to RSS ideologues.

Social Harmony is one of the fundamental principle based on which the operational direction of the Sangh is determined. Exclusive religions - insisting on single God - create social tensions. Similarly, discriminations based on castes like untouchability and atrocities in the name of caste also are harming the society. Regional and linguistic exclusivist attitudes too are affecting the social harmony. Political immaturity and corruption affect the national security. Sangh rejects them completely without any compromise. Divisive politics, unsustainable social, political, economical and environmental policies are detrimental to social fabric as well as to national security. Sangh discourages all these perversions. In particular Sangh has relentlessly opposed jihadi terrorism, religious conversions and materialistic naxalism.

Sangh is committed to universally applicable value system

-   believes that the entire universe is one family - "Vasudhaiva kutumbakam". The rubric of Dharma should be reflected in all facets of life is a founding principle of Sangh. A constant endeavor of Sangh and all its other organisations have been the propagation of Hindu values as the guiding principles in all sectors ranging from education to labor, sociology to economics.


Sangh is a unique social organization - in its structure and methods. Its working style looks exceptionally simple, yet appealing. It is very interesting to understand its organizational structure and working style.

Shakha - the basic unit

The basic work of Sangh is carried through Shakhas -literally meaning 'branches' in Samksrita. Shakhas are held in each iocality at a designated place - usually in the open ground - at a specified time for duration of one hour. It is a programme of daily get together. People of the locality and near by areas participate in the Shakha. They areSwayamsevaks. The place where the Shakha is conducted is called as Sanghasthan. Depending on the convenience of the people of the locality, Shakha is conducted either in the mornings or in the evenings. The Shakha activity is very structured. It starts with hoisting Bhagawadhwaj, the saffron flag. After saluting the flag, physical exercises - Surya namaskar, Yoga and other suitable ones - are practiced. Games are played by kids {Bala), boys (Kishora), youth(Taruna) and elderly (Praudha) in separate groups. Route march and martial arts are also practiced. After about 30-40rr,inutes, swayamsevaks sit in a circle on the ground and sing a patriotic song in chorus. They reflect on good sayings {Subhashita) and on quotes from great people. Issues of national importance and issues of current affairs are discussed. Finally, they pray Almighty for the upliftment of the nation to its highest glory. Bhagawa flag is lowered ending the daily Shakha. After wards, they visit neighbors and friends as part of the regular contact programme(Samparka).

Although very simple in its structure, Shakha education is very useful. It has been found that Swayamsevaks are benefited individually in the following ways.

1.                      Development of intimate friendship among Swayamsevaks

2.                      Inculcating discipline through structured activities of Shaka


3.          Improving physical stamina through physical exercise and games

4.          Broadminded thinking through Subhashita and quotes from great people.

5.                      Exposure to the issues of current affairs and issues of national importance

6.          Training people in analysing the above issues from national perspective

7.          Developing communication and interpersonal skills - Public speaking, writing, reading, persuasive skills

8.          Providing an understanding of the society; its strengths and weaknesses.

9.          Equipping Swayamsevaks to work for the society.

10.       Leadership development

Sangh conducts yearly training camps which are residential in nature. In these training camps, Swayamsevaks live a very disciplined life from early morning to the night. They undergo structured physical and intellectual training making them better citizens. Participating Swayamsevaks take up organization and management of the camps. They cook, wash vessels, wash their clothes and participate in food distribution. Every Swayamsevak irrespective of his social, financial and educational background or irrespective of his official status participate in the training camp in the same way.

This approach has many social benefits. The diversity of caste, religion and language will not become a reason for disunity among Swayamsevaks. They find the common ground for unity - devotion to motherland, common culture, heritage and values.

Inculcation of noble personal virtues which are held high in the Hindu tradition has always been an inseparable part of the mission of Hindu consolidation. As such, qualities like personal integrity, mutual trust, respect for elders, reverence for women, devotion to God and holy men, uprightness in the dealings of public money, law-abiding nature, simplicity in living style, and absence of vices, etc., are ingrained in the Swayamsevaks as a natural outcome of Sangh training.

Admission to Sangh

Admission to Sangh is very simple. Any one could just walk in to Sanghasthan and participate in the Shakha activities wholeheartedly abiding guidelines of the Mukhyashikshak / Shikshak. Debates and discussion on issues of public affairs is always encouraged is the Shakha.

Organizational structure

There are three vertical structures in Sangh. The first one is structure needed to run daily Shakha activities. Each Shakha will have Ghatanayaks (group leaders) who inspire Swayamsevaks to attend Shakha regularly. Shikshaks(meaning instructors) conduct the activities of the daily Shakha. Mukhyashikshak (literally chief instructor) takes care of one Shakha. Shakha-Karyavaha (meaning secretary) provides guidance and help to Mukhyashikshak in conducting the Shakha activities. A group of Shakhas in a particular area is looked after by Mandal-Karyavaha. For an area larger than Mandal in rural areas there are Khanda-Karyavaha and Tehsil-Karyavaha. In urban areas, they are called Nagar-Karyavaha. Few Nagara (or Tehsil) form a Bhag (or Jilla). There will be many Bhagas (or Jillas) in a Vibhag. Prantha is formed combining many Vibhag units. Few Pranthas constitute a Kshetra.   One Karyavaha looks after each of these units.

From Tehsil or Nagar unit onwards, Sanghachalaks (Presidents) guide the activities of the organization in their respective areas. Usually, eminent people with respectable status in the society are chosen as Sanghachalaks.

Pracharaks (literally meaning - one who spreads the message) are the full time Swayamsevaks. They form the backbone of the RSS organization. They remain bachelors and ensure that they are free from their personal family responsibilities. They are not Sanyasis in the strict sense. But they dedicate their time, talent and energy for the benefit of the society and organization.   It is a lifetime mission for them.

Apart from Pracharaks, some Swayamsevaks dedicate few years of their life to the society.

One of the very senior pracharaks is elected by Akhila Bharat Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) as Sarakaryavaha (General Secretary) who is executive chief of RSS. The term of Sarakaryavaha is for three years. The Head of RSS isSarasanghachalak who will be nominated by his predecessor. He holds the position for lifetime or till he decides to nominate his successor.

Sarakaryavaha nominates the members of Akhila Bharata Karyakari Mandal (ABKM). He acts as Chairman for the ABKM. It is the coordinating body of all Shakhas in the country to carry out the programmes and policies laid down by ABPS. It also frames rules and by-laws in consonance with the constitution of Sangh for regulating its own affairs and also general functioning of Sangh. Akhila Bharat Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) is the elected representatives from all states.

Flag of RSS

The flag of RSS is Bhagawadhwaj. It is saffron in color symbolizing the flames of Yagna. It is a symbol of sacrifice and valor. Sangh has accepted Bhagawadhwaj as it Guru. Swayamsevaks are guided by the high principles represented by the Bhagawa and not by any individual. It is hoisted respectfully every day during the Shakha period.


On Vyasapurnima day, Bhagawadhwaj is worshipped. Swayamsevaks perform Gurupooja and offer Dakshina to the Guru. The RSS is sustained by this offering called Gurudhakshina. In this way, the Sangh is self funded and help from any other source is not sought.

Growth of Sangh

Sangh is constantly growing from the day of its inception. Its multifaceted growth is influencing the society in a positive way. Its role in ever expanding service activities is providing impetus to the stability of the Indian society. An outline of the growth of Sangh is provided in this section.

Flexible approach of Sangh towards growth

The Sangh approach towards growth is very flexible and open minded. During initial days of Sangh, Swayamsevaks used to visit Akharas at Nagpur Vyayamashala. In 1926, formal Shakha was started in Mohitevada. Nomenclature of RSS was adopted in a meeting held on April 17, 1926. Dr. Hedgewar was elected as Cnief of Sangh unanimously on 19th December, 1926. Later in 1929, he was nominated as Sarasanghachalak. After some years, Pracharak system was introduced. Annual Training Camps were conceived to educate growing number of Swayamsevaks. Initially, the Sangh Prayer was partly Marathi and partly Hindi. Later in 1940, as Sangh expanded beyond Maharashtra, a new prayer in Sanskrit was adopted. Important Karyakartas used to meet once or twice in a year. Later, ABPS and Kendriya Mandal were created. Now Kendriya Mandal is renamed as 'Akhila Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal'. There were some modifications in the processes that are followed in the last several decades. Minor modifications in uniform, structure and approach are adopted.


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What Guruji had expounded as ‘basic culture’ in the mid-later 20th century in India has emerged as ‘ratemyprofessor’ culture in the Western dialogue in the early 21st century.

Jayanti lal Garg's picture

akbaruddin ovaissi

Ovaissiwas given a open challange our organigation
we want to give aanswer we are atiger of hiduism....jai hind

Nithin kumar's picture

akbaruddin owaisi

akbaruddin owaisi gives hate statement against hindus...in hyderabad.. I just wanted to ask RSS what they are going to do on this hate statement ? if your organisation is really made for our hindus ,then go and kill him .

vishva-hindu's picture

insulting hinduism

..i am fustrated after seeing a guy called 'zakir naik'insulting our religion and tradition....he openly says we are wrong and he is right...and it happens only in our country...he is also converting people openly....can RSS do anything to stop this guy...i dont know about his fund and intentions....
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Pramod Arya's picture

BJP is loosing in Uttarakhand

Pranam to all,
BJP is going to looses its governance in Uttarakhand because of Mr.Bhagt Singh Koshiyari.In Haridwar BJP will Loss all the 11 seats.In this way BJP will never can be in Center or State.
He is making fool and misguiding frontrunners of BJP.
On Jhabrara 29 (sc) seat he has given priority to a culprit person .On the other hand Mr Hawaldar Harpal Singh a Ex Indian Army solider and a Sangh Sainik was working hard on grass rout level. He has alone given live to all 149 polling boths of this vidhansabha since last 5 years.
Yes one more suggestion if BJP wants to come in center than make Daud Ibrahim The National President of BJP ins tied of Mr Nitin Gadkari and relatives of Osama Bi Laiden as BJP National Executive Members than certainly BJP will be in center.
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