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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a well-known socio-cultural organization of Modern country. It is popularly known as the R.S.S. It was started in A. D. 1925 by Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.[1] It aims at the creation of a non-political corps of volunteers totally dedicated to the service of the motherland, India fondly pictured as Bhāratamātā. It has its headquarters at Nagpur in the Maharashtra State.

Founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[edit]

Though Dr. Hedgewar was a medical doctor, he devoted all his time to building up the organization. During the period of his successor, M. S. Golwalkar,[2] more popularly known as Guruji, that the organization grew to phenomenal proportions. A saintly figure with an impeccable life, he was also instrumental in getting several other organizations started and stabilized.

Unit of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[edit]

The śākhā[3] is the fundamental unit of the organization with a standard pattern, routine and discipline. Great attention is paid here to physical fitness, cultivation of patriotism and high social values. It is specially impressed upon the members to look upon the whole society as one family.

Reforms by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[edit]

The organization has undertaken several service activities. It has totally dedicated itself to offer succour and help to the country during national emergencies. In the social field, it has taken up several programs aimed at bringing about greater unity among the devouts as follows:

  1. Abolition of the practice of untouchability
  2. Elimination of caste animosities and forging unity among all the castes
  3. Teaching simple techniques of yoga
  4. Encourage the learning of Sanskrit language
  5. Re-conversion into religion of those who had left due to various reasons

A monumental achievement of the R.S.S is the active assistance and cooperation in the construction of the Vivekānanda Temple on the Rock, now well-known as the Vivekānanda Rock, during the period A. D. 1963-1970. It is situated in the sea at the southernmost tip of India.

Sustenance of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[edit]

The organization is sustained by public contributions and contributions by the swayamsevaks[4] during the Gurupurṇimā day.[5] This is called Gurudakṣiṇā celebrations.

Sub-branches of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh[edit]

The leaders of the R.S.S. have inspired and guided several other organizations and movements. Some of them are:

  1. Vishwa Hindu Parishad
  2. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is the ABVP, the largest organization of students
  3. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is the BMS, the largest labor movement in India
  4. Vidya Bharat runs schools all over India.
  5. Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram is serving people in remote areas like forests and mountains.
  6. Sewa Bharati is conducting several service projects.

During its existence of over eighty years, the R.S.S. has faced stiff opposition and also incarceration by certain sections of the society and the governments. However it has successfully withstood the fiery ordeals and is growing steadily in strength.


  1. He lived in A. D. 1889-1940.
  2. He lived in A. D. 1906- 1973.
  3. Śākhā is a small local branch.
  4. He was member of the R.S.S.
  5. It is the full-moon day in the month of Āṣāḍha, generally in July.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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