By Ram Madhav
?Oh! The RSS is like a secret society. Even you might not be knowing all the things?, argued that scribe. ?I am sure they are contemplating some such thing. Our source is quite reliable? is his refrain.
What is that great secret that even I wouldn'tbe knowing? And what is that source more reliable than the official spokesman of the organisation?
The ´great? secret is??The RSS is contemplating changing its uniform. They are planning to replace knickers with trousers.?
And who is that ´reliable? source? Nobody has any answer. Some ´jaankaar? (acquaintance) of the RSS in Nagpur is apparently that source.
And the media went crazy. ?Knickers down? screamed one prestigious paper. ?Bermudas ok, but trousers no?, mocked another derisively. ?RSS ban gaya gentleman? ridiculed the third.
A TV channel found this story fit to be run for two days. Even we in the RSS never realised the popularity of our knickers. A small ´plant? could set off media frenzy to the extent that the second day'sstory on that channel was devoted to a reaction from a politician on the first day'sfiction about knickers. And the most ´touching? reaction of that great politician was? ?what is the use of changing knickers if the mindset doesn'tchange??
The question of change of uniform was neither discussed nor was it decided at any level in the organisation. The organisation has relaxed the uniform rules from time to time.
Wow! All this brouhaha over what? A speculative and totally baseless fiction about the RSS decision to change the uniform!
Could anyone in the media please explain us why would we hide it if we had decided to change our knickers? The right way of putting this question would rather be: ?How can we hide?? Can ?knickers to trousers? be a hidden affair? Also, could my friends please explain why they found it so appropriate to run amok with that fiction even after the official denial from the organisations? In your anxiety to become sabse tez you haven'trealised that somebody was befooling you by feeding such fictitious stories!
The purpose appears to be something else. The effort is to prove that the RSS is worried about youths not coming in hordes. Their conclusion is, it was because of the knickers! So, the decision of the RSS to change the knickers, by implication, meant admission by the organisation that youths were not joining it.
Fact of the matter is, the question of change of uniform was neither discussed nor was it decided at any level in the organisation. The organisation has relaxed the uniform rules from time to time. And it wouldn'tmind doing it in future, if warranted.
We have already allowed shorts of any kind for daily shakhas. Many other relaxations have also been given with respect to the uniform. Only on certain specific occasions are the Swayamsevaks expected to wear the uniform.
Many of the programmes that form part of our daily shakha activity require shorts. For example, we play kabaddi and kho kho. Even outside of the RSS, one would find boys and girls wearing shorts and miniskirts while playing not only these games but also games like football, basketball and tennis.
Changing to trousers is not a great ideological question for us, as was being sought to be projected by the overzealous friends in the media. They attempted to interpret it as an ideological issue by equating the RSS knickers with the knickers that the Nazi army wore during the Second World War. Those ignoramuses are perhaps not aware of?or conveniently forget?the fact that even our police force used to wear knickers till a decade ago.
Changing to trousers is basically a question of economics and logistics. Even if we replace our knickers in the uniform with trousers, our Swayamsevaks still require knickers to participate in the daily shakha activity. Many might not be aware that in the RSS, members themselves spend money for their uniforms and they are not supplied by the organisation like in the NCC etc. That means double burden on the members. An organisation that is predominantly rural based will have to think twice before embarking on any such change that puts additional burden on its members.
Most importantly, this cacophony about our knickers emanates from the jaankaars, armchair intellectuals and unemployed mediamen only. It doesn'temanate from within the rank and file of the organisation. We do not have any antipathy for trousers. As has been observed by some in the media, our overseas activists wear trousers only. We will certainly change to trousers when WE feel that it is necessary and convenient, but not because jaankaars or media insist.
In any case, as someone rightly pointed out, people join the organisation because of the conviction in its ideology. For those who have that conviction, shorts or trousers do not really matter. Conversely, even trousers cannot attract those who do not have that conviction.
By the way, what is all this fuss about the shorts my dear friends? We find almost all of you?men and women alike?jogging in parks, gyrating on the dance floors and sometimes on the streets in the shortest of the shorts! Bermudas and knee-level pants are omnipresent?even in flights, trains, parks, cinema halls and hotels.
YOUR shorts are the fashion of the day! And OUR knickers? Your hate symbol? Why?
Your problem is not just our knickers. To use the taunt of a senior scribe, ?Problem is not with the knickers, it is with what is behind them? (No obscenity intended). It is the commitment and discipline that comes with the uniform, which you abhor!