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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Trousers, wives top RSS debate

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times  Nagpur, August 04, 2009
First Published: 01:17 IST(4/8/2009) | Last Updated: 01:19 IST(4/8/2009)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological parent body, is changing with the times, said its 58-year-old president Mohan Bhagwat on Monday.

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Formed in 1925, the RSS is not averse to a relaxation in its conventional dress code and may allow its pracharaks (propagators) to marry. But conditions apply.

Interacting with local media for the first time since he took over from the reins of the saffron organisation in March this year, Bhagwat admitted a sizeable section of Sangh workers was in favour of discarding khaki shorts in the favour of trousers and allowing marriage.

Still there was no consensus. “As a section feels the wearing half-pants is a matter of convenience and marriage demands responsibilities to run a family, both the proposals have been kept pending,” he added.

According to Bhagwat, the proposals for wearing trousers came up for discussion four times. Still, as the Sangh always takes decision unanimously, a decision could not be arrived at. For now, khaki will continue to be the RSS’s uniform.

Matrimony for pracharaks was also hotly debated, Bhagwat said, but not a single full-time pracharak ever said he wanted to end his celibacy and continue to work in the same capacity.

Many pracharaks had entered grihasth ashram (family life) after completing their tenures. “If any pracharak wants to marry, he is always welcome to do so. However, he will not work as a pracharak. We always encourage grihasth ashram. We want more family men than pracharaks,” he added.

The RSS has authorised senior members, including Madan Das Devi, Manmohan Vaidya, Srikant Joshi and Ram Madhav to interact with media, he said.

Still, despite the RSS turning media-friendly, he refused to comment on the ongoing bickering in the BJP. “You better ask such questions to leaders of that party.”

The Sangh supreme came out strongly against reservations for minorities. “The concept of reservation should purely be on the basis of social and economic status. What the government is doing is vote-bank politics,” he said.

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