Dattatreya Hosabale is the new Sarkaryawah of general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). This has been a long wait for Hosabale. He replaced Suresh ‘Bhayyaji’ Joshi who assumed the role for the fourth time in 2018. Now Hosabale (65), who is younger to Joshi, (73) is going to take charge ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections and RSS centenary celebrations in 2025.
The decision was taken after an internal election in RSS’s Akhil Bharatiya Prathinidhi Sabha, which is an annual meeting of the top RSS functionaries. It was held in Bengaluru on March 19 and 20 and not in Nagpur because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hosabale was active during the Emergency from 1975 to 1977, and was arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act. He served as the general secretary for the student organisation ABVP. Popularly known as ‘Dattaji’ in RSS, he comes from a family of RSS activists. He joined the RSS in 1968 and then the student organisation ABVP in 1972. He became a full-time worker of the ABVP in 1978. He was the general secretary of ABVP for 15 years with his headquarter being Mumbai.
He comes from Sorab in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. A staunch supporter of government’s key policies like NRC and NEP, he is also vocal about his view on conversions to other religions. In his opinion Indian secularism is ‘anti-Hindu’, and has earlier said, “When it comes to the Idea of India, there is no dispute as such; the point is that there can be a variety of ideas and each must be permitted its space. It’s not necessary that they should be at loggerheads or contradictory to each other.” Well traveled, Hosabale was also the mentor of organisational activities of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in USA and UK.
Hosabale studied English literature at a university in Bengaluru. He enjoyed proximity with almost all writers and journalists of Karnataka, notable among them being YN Krishnamurthy and Gopal Krishna Adiga. He played an active role in setting up the Youth Development Centre in Guwahati, Assam and the World Organization of Student and Youth.
He was the founding editor of Aseema, a Kannada monthly. He became Sah-Baudhik Pramukh (second in command of the intellectual wing of RSS) in 2004. He is multi-lingual and fluent in Kannada, Hindi, English, Tamil and Sanskrit.