Leaving its 90-year old trademark attire – khaki shorts, volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Tuesday officially switched to full-length brown trousers as they settled for the Foundation Day celebration.
Heralding a generational change in the organisation, thousands of Swayamsevaks marched across the country on Vijay Dashmi in their new uniform – brown trousers, white shirt, black cap, and brown socks.
RSS’ communications department head Manmohan Vaidya was quoted in media reports as saying: “Even though the readiness of society to work with Sangh on different issues has increased, the change in uniform has been made to take care of the comfort level and convenience while working. The transition heralds the change in Sangh in tune with the changing times.”
According to Vaidya, over 8 lakh trousers were distributed to RSS offices across the country, including 6 lakh stitched trousers and cloth for another 2 lakh trousers.
Though the RSS has been witnessed minor changes to their attire in the past, the latest change makes history as it offers a drastic shift in the appearance.
The white shirt was introduced in 1940, changing an all-khaki uniform, while leather shoes replaced long boots in 1973. In 2010, the organisation replaced the canvas belt with the leather one in another makeover.
“The issue of replacing the Sangh’s age-old attire has long been under debate and its top decision-making body, the All-India Pratinidhi Sabha, approved the apparel a few months ago,” a senior Sangh leader told media.
Initiated a year ago, the change in attire was adopted after a decision in RSS’s Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha in Rajasthan’s Nagaur in March this year in a bid to attract more youngsters to the organisation. According to media reports, the organisation has been observing a consistent rise in enrollment, almost 15 to 20 per cent rise in last two years.