Is it pure coincidence that a day after one RSS (Rakhi Sawant’s Swayamvar) made national news, the other RSS (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) let the nation know what’s going through its collective mind? We, observers of all pop cultural organisations, couldn’t help but applaud RSS president Mohan Bhagwat sharing two important issues that are being discussed in that sangh. First, the sartorial issue. According to Bhagwat, a large section of RSS workers want to wear trousers, rather than the oversized khaki shorts that the founder of the Boy Scouts Movement Robert Baden-Powell pioneered.
The shorts-lovers insist that it’s easier to move about — not to mention jump about during their routine morning callisthenics. Lycra or modern shorts haven’t been discussed as an option.
And if you’re debating the good old trousers vs shorts debate, you’re bound to get your knickers in a twist about the difficult question of marriage. Matrimony for RSS pracharaks remain a no-no, although a growing number of non-pracharak RSS workers are now suggesting a yes-yes. Unlike that other culture club, the Catholic Church, the debate is not so much about sex, but about marrying and running a family (no, not connected to each other at all). All current pracharaks are not keen to settle down, although their logic is that a family will only distract them from their task at hand: no, not wearing khaki shorts and playing ‘36 Chambers of Shaolin’ with those sturdy sticks, but nation-building.
Fair enough. After all, the likes of Ratan Tata and Narendra Modi, do tend to agree by example. The old rule of pracharaks — that is, propagators, but clearly not of the species — stepping down from their post if they wish to marry is the favoured position. Which brings us back to the other RSS: Can khaki shorts be the new tight choli?