The Curious Case of RSS Shakha during Monsoon: Drop by 1,556 or Rise by 1,585?
While the number goes down during rains, a statement from Sangh said the RSS shakhas have been on the rise since 2010, increasing by 19,584 in total.
Image for representation. (Photo: Twitter)
New Delhi: During varsha ritu (wet season), the number of shakhas run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) takes a beating. The latest data shows a drop by 1,556 shakhas in 2019 within a span of one year. The impact of rains on shakhas came to light after Dr Manmohan Vaidya, Sah Sarkaryavah of the RSS, shared that the organisation has 57,411 daily meetings and 18,923 weekly meetings (saptahik milan).
In 2018, a report presented by RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi at the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha said there are 58,967 shakhas functional at 37,190 places across the country. This shows a decrease of 1,556. In 2017, the number stood at 57,165, functional at 36,729 locations.
Addressing a press conference after the three-day meet of the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakary Mandalat at the local ‘Shiksha and Anusandhan’ University, Vaidya spoke about the RSS work and its expansion. “A lot of people say shakhas have grown after 2014 but that is not the case.”
The Rain Connection
Citing reasons for the drop, announced in different gatherings of the RSS, Arun Kumar, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh, said the comparison is from different time periods that cover monsoon. “When we give the numbers, we compare them from March to March and from October to October. It has been observed that during varsha ritu the number of shakhas falls in some places due to rains. The daily shakhas are not possible during heavy rains for two months.”
Kumar said he is looking forward to the increase in shakha number that usually starts from October. “To know the rise in the number of shakhas, we compare the number from last October to this October. During this time frame there is an increase by 1,585. There is no fall in the number of shakhas.”
Pointing at the data from October 2018 to October 2019, Kumar said, there are 55,826 number of shakhas.
Rise Since 2010
While the number goes down during rains, a statement from Sangh said the RSS shakhas have been on the rise since 2010, increasing by 19,584 in total. From 2010 to 2014, around 6,000 shakhas were added.
Currently, the RSS swayamsevaks work in around 6,000 blocks across the country, which are around 90 per cent of the total blocks, Vaidya said.
He added that 60 per cent swayamsevaks attending shakhas are students or the youth, and around 29 per cent belong to the age group of 20-40 years. Swayamsevaks above 40 years of age constitute 11 per cent of the total number.
In 2013, the RSS had launched an online initiative ‘Join RSS’. Along with others, the youngsters and students have shown a great interest in the RSS's Hindutva ideology.
According to Vaidya, in 2013 itself, the 88,843 people approached through ‘Join RSS’. From 2014 to 2016, around 90,000 to 95,000 people approached through this initiative to join the RSS annually.
In 2017, around 1.25 lakh people approached through ‘Join RSS’, in 2018, thus number reached around 1.5 lakh and in 2019, around 1.3 lakh people have approached till September.
A strong emphasis is also being given on the training of the swayamsevaks and a number of Karyakarta Vikas Varga (workers’ development camp)’ are being organised for the same. The participants here discuss ways and means to improve the training and do more value addition to the RSS.
Vaidya said functionaries at the district level and around 350 delegates are attending the three-day meeting this time.
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