Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffery D. Long, Rita D. Sherma, Pankaj Jain, Madhu Khanna

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_368-1


The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is an all-India, cadre-based Hindu cultural organization which along with the Sangh Parivar (organizational family) has a significant presence in Indian society and politics.

Inception, Ideological Moorings, and Semiotics

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS-Association of National Volunteers) was set up in 1925 in the context of Hindu revivalism that gained currency in India in the early part of the twentieth century. Hindu revivalism included resurrecting the contributions of the ancient Hindu civilization and that of Hindu rulers through a “Kshatriya (warrior) worldview” [1]. The emphasis on a “martial tradition” led to the RSS earning the sobriquet of a “paramilitary” organization most often symbolized in the akharas (gymnasiums) that were an essential part of training the swayamsevaks(as members of the RSS were called). Historically the rise of Hindu revivalism was co-terminus with and therefore became interminably linked with...

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  1. 1.
    Anderson WK, Damle SD (1987) The brotherhood in Saffron the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu revivalism. Vistaar Publications, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Jaffrelot C (ed) (2005) The Sangh Parivar a reader. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Kanungo P (2002) RSS’S tryst with politics from Hedgewar to Sudarshan. Manohar, New DelhiGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceMotilal Nehru College, University of DelhiNew DelhiIndia