EXCLUSIVE: Inside a Hindutva hostel: how RSS is rewiring the tribal mind

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The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram hostel in Mollarpur, in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, is a symbol of a giant, long-term project that largely escapes mainstream attention.

The interiors of the ashram are decorated to mark the “real” history of India, suppressed in official record.

In the gloomy office where I am received, there are pictures of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Maharana Pratap, Bharat Mata, Ram and Hanuman and Swami Vivekananda. There is one of the Naga rebel Rani Gaidinliue, who led a resistance against the British administration, and the founder of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Balasaheb Deshpande. Everything else is sparse: there are three beds without mattresses, and plastic chairs.