Image-correction: RSS to reach out to political opponents

  • Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2016 13:15 IST
File photo of RSS activists taking out a Path Sanchalan to mark its 90th foundation day on Dusshera in Indore, India, on Thursday, October 22, 2015. (Hindustan Times)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has mooted an image-correction exercise by reaching out to political parties that are opposed to it.

The Sangh, which recently changed its uniform after nine decades, now also wants to revamp its social-media management.

The organisation carries out periodic interaction programmes with students and professionals to acquaint them with its ideology and is contemplating a ‘know-the-RSS’ programme for political parties.

A senior functionary told HT that leaders of parties at the opposite end of the political spectrum will be invited to interact with the Sangh brass. “It is strange that our political opponents have dialogue with political leaders across the borders, but when it comes to the Sangh, we are treated as pariahs. Leaders of political parties shy away from meeting Sangh brass openly and confess that it would lead to ripples in political circles,” the functionary said.

Programmes for introduction to the Sangh are being undertaken on campuses of universities and educational institutions with the twin purpose of wooing youngsters and presenting the organisation’s ideology to them.

As part of its public contact programmes, senior RSS ideologues have been visiting Indian Institutes of Management to specify details of the work being carried out by the Sangh in the social sector. According to the functionary, these meetings are part of the ‘jan sampark’ initiative and similar visits have been made to state universities and institutes of excellence like IITs in the past.

The polarisation over the ongoing debate on nationalism has become a trigger for the RSS to undertake a social-media management exercise for its cadres. It wants its members active on social media to be equipped with “facts” and “knowledge” so as to fight “prejudices” and “negative perceptions” about the outfit.

In the works is a plan to educate and groom Sangh supporters to fight “propaganda” without resorting to abuse and banality, RSS sources said.

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