Issue Brief on “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh: Shades of Neo-Nazism in India”

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It is a well known fact that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a trained “Pracharak” (worker) of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and an ardent supporter of the Hindutva ideology. It therefore is no surprise that since 2014, with the rise of Bharatiya Janata Party under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India has fast drifted towards Nazi inspired Hindu nationalism or Hindutva ideology. Hence, in order to understand today’s India and its policies in the region and beyond, it is important to understand the foundation and evolution of RSS and its Hindutva ideology. 

During early 1900s, the Indian subcontinent under the British rule was witness to number of movements by different communities to protect their religious and cultural identities. There were competing efforts by the two largest communities of subcontinent i.e. Hindus and Muslims to protect their respective religion from getting polluted by other religions or by western cultural influences. The emergence of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925 at Nagpur founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was also in this backdrop as RSS’s proclaimed aim was to free ‘Hindustan’ and save Hindu culture. Additionally, it also sought cultural and spiritual renaissance of the Hindus as a nation.

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