Newlywed Mousumi Acharya (name changed to protect identity) visits a north Kolkata apartment every week with about a dozen other women to attend lectures on how to raise children the traditional Hindu way.
They sit together for hours and discuss issues like the so-called “love jihad” campaign, violence against women and even infiltration.
Thousands like Acharya have been participating in such assemblies organised across West Bengal by the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, a Sangh Parivar organisation set up in 1968.
“We are meeting and speaking with young women, who are not only anchors for the families but also will be mothers soon,” said Mahua Dhar, a representative of the Samiti. “We are slowly forming groups in different districts including Kolkata. Compared to Gujarat and Maharashtra, Hindu traditions and culture is forgotten in Bengal.”
Analysts say attempts of hardline Hindu organisations to promote a majoritarian agenda have increased cumulatively in the past six months as the BJP swept state after state mining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity.
The Samiti has also set up martial arts training camps for women apart from imparting religious and socio-cultural lessons like respecting elders and praying before going to bed.
“Example of their good work was evident during national commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Samiti organised 500 camps where young girls were trained to protect themselves against violence, molestation, rape and trafficking,” said Jishnu Basu, spokesperson for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.