13, Oct 2015
The RSS says its membership is growing. RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale predicted the number of RSS branches in West Bengal would rise to 1,200 next year from 650 in 2013.
Kolkata Updated: Oct 13, 2015, 11:15
As a teenager, Uttam Shaha says he used to watch scornfully from his bedroom window as men in brown shorts performed martial exercises in a car park below. Like many Indians then, he viewed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a fringe group.
Now 43, Shaha is a recent RSS recruit in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. He joined about 50 volunteers for an indoctrination meeting last year at that same car park near RSS headquarters in Kolkata. As dusk set in, they sat cross-legged on a faded rug before a statue of Bharat Mata, a representation of India in the form of a mother goddess.
Ramapada Pal, the RSS’s chief preacher in the state, espoused a message of Hindu supremacy. Everyone must acknowledge “the superiority of the Hindu kingdom,” he said.