Guwahati: Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat and Sarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale inaugurated the three-day annual meeting of Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) belonging to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by paying floral tributes to a portrait of Bharat Mata at Panipat in Haryana on 12 March. RSS chief Bhagwat adored a Gamocha, the pride of Assam, while sitting on dais of the important annual event.
As many as 1,474 Pratinidhis from 34 RSS-inspired organizations across the country participated in the ABPS meeting, which will conclude on 14 March. Speaking to media persons after the inauguration, RSS Sah-Sarkaryavah Dr Manmohan Vaidya informed that the Sangh would complete 100 years of its formation in 2025.
“Currently, the RSS is working directly at 71,355 places and striving for social transformation. Over the next one year, it aims to expand its direct presence and service activity to about one lakh places across the nation,” said Vaidya, adding that RSS’s work and influence saw a big boost after the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020.
He revealed that in 2020, as many as 62,491 Shakhas were held across 38,913 places, Saptahik Milan (weekly gatherings) at 20,303 places, and Maasik Mandali (monthly meetings) at 8,732 places. In 2023, all these numbers have seen a significant uptick. Currently, 68,651 Shakhas are being organized at 42,613 places, Saptahik Milan at 26,877 places, and Maasik Mandali at 10,412 places, he added.
From the Sangh’s perspective, India has 911 districts, out of which the RSS is working directly and actively in 901 Zilas. Similarly, the RSS holds Shakhas in 88% of 6,663 Khands, and 26,498 of 59,326 Mandals. As many as 1,300 additional Shatabdi Vistaraks, besides the regular Pracharaks and Vistaraks, have set out on a two-year mission to expand the RSS’s work and activities during the centenary year.
“The noble thoughts and value systems that emphasize that the whole society of Bharat is one, that all are equal, all are my own, and that I have to give something to the society emanate from the RSS’s Shakhas,” highlighted Vaidya, adding that such is their dedication that the Swayamsevaks spread RSS’s service activities by taking time out of their daily work and contributing to social change even if it entails spending money from their pockets.
RSS’s Shakhas are centres for character development. Individuals who attend Shakhas imbibe great values, and later play a critical role in social transformation by awakening nationalist thoughts and taking the society along, stated Vaidya. He informed that the RSS has been able to sharpen its appeal in the society, and now more and more people are getting drawn to it. People are searching for the RSS and seeking to join the nationalist organization through the digital medium.
Between 2017 and 2022, the RSS received a whopping 7,25,000 applications to join it. Importantly, most of these applicants were aged 20 to 35 years, looking to join the RSS with the aim to serve the society. The country’s youth are displaying a keen interest in the RSS’s daily Shakhas as well. Of the total, 60% are Vidyarthi Shakhas (student shakhas). In the last one year, 121,137 youth have received the Sangh’s Prathmik Shikshan.
“Over the next one year, the RSS aims to hold 109 Shikshan Vargs (training camps), with 20,000 Swayamsevaks likely to participate,” said Vaidya. Elaborating on the Sangh Shikshan (training) he stated that Swayamsevaks in the age group of 15-40 years participate in Pratham Varsh Shikshan (first-year training), those in 17-40 years attend Dwitiya Varsh, and Tritiya Varsh is meant for those aged between 25 and 40 years. It organizes special training camps for Swayamsevaks above 40 years.