The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) began distributing on Monday a new uniform for its volunteers — brown trousers that replaced the 90-year-old organisation’s signature khaki shorts.
The move to a new set of clothing was initiated to keep pace with the times and attract youngsters, who are not inclined to wear the age-old baggy shorts for fear of being teased.
RSS members will now wear a black cap, white full-sleeve shirt, brown trousers, canvas belt, brown socks and black shoes.
“We have dispatched over 200,000 new uniforms to our shakhas across the country. More are on the way,” RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya said after a batch of clothes was distributed at its Reshimbagh office here on Monday.
“We have directed all our shakhas to implement the new dress code, replacing the khaki shorts from Vijaydashami,” he said.
The debate over replacing the khaki shorts has been on for decades and figured prominently in almost all recent RSS volunteers’ meetings.
“There is no specific reason to opt for brown trousers, except the fact that it is easily available and the colour looks good,” Vaidya said.
The right-wing Hindu organisation was founded on the occasion of Vijayadashami in 1925 in Nagpur.
Since its foundation, the swayamsevak’s then all-khaki attire has changed several times. In 1940, the colour of the shirt was changed from khaki to white. In 1973, leather shoes replaced long boots.
The last change made to the RSS uniform was in 2011, when the canvas belt replaced the leather one, following suggestions from Jain community leaders to drop animal hide as it symbolises cruelty.
The process of replacing khaki with brown will take time as, according to Sangh functionaries, there are as more than 56,000 shakhas where volunteers come for meetings and drills.
Providing new uniforms will be a long-drawn process, but the organisation is hoping to complete the exercise soon.