From Martial Arts to Music: How RSS Attracts Boys to School Camps

The recent mistreatment of a senior police official by RSS agents in Coimbatore has drawn attention to the special camps organized by the Hindutva organization in schools, with the aim of attracting young boys to its fold.

Deputy Police Commissioner (City of North Coimbatore) T Jayachandran who had attended a private school in Vilankurichi in Coimbatore on December 31 was prevented from entering the premises and he and other police personnel were mistreated by RSS employees. Video of the incident went viral on social media.

It is no secret that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS runs camps at private Hindu schools across the country. In Tamil Nadu also, many such camps are organized in schools, targeting young schoolchildren.

How are these camps organized? RSS, which has cadres in every district and even block of Tamil Nadu, uses these “pracharaks” to identify a school, especially a Hindu school, with names like “Venkateshwara”, “Ramakrishna”, “Vivekananda”, etc.

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They approach schools saying that they want to organize a two-day or one-week camp in which students learn yoga, martial arts, moral lessons, etc. They tell the management that the expenses for food and other activities will be borne by the RSS, and they only need a place to hold camp.

While the school principals accept the camps, believing in these superficial statements, the male students of the school, in grades 6-9, are mandated to attend the camp. In addition, the camp is not only for schoolchildren, but also for those from other schools and neighboring areas.

Dhanda, Niyuddha and Vamshi

A typical day in the camp begins with the teaching and practice of surya namaskar (sun worship). It is followed by some physical exercises in the form of games. The games mainly feature obstacles that students must overcome, such as crawling under benches, crossing a human wall, and reaching the baseline.

These games play out in a manner and pace as if a war is being waged against the students. At the end of the game, students are asked to raise the slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.

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After breakfast (which is of course vegetarian food), the main guests – who are mostly leaders of the highest echelons of RSS – give a talk on the history of India or the life of India. ‘icons such as Bhagat Singh, Subash Chandra Bose.

After lunch, stories of Indian epics like Ramayana and Mahabharatha are shared. Talks are also taking place on Hinduism and partition. Students learn Sanskrit shlokas.

In the evening, students receive basic training in martial arts such as Silambam (a traditional sport in Tamil Nadu), which RSS calls “Dhanda” and hands-free combat such as kalaripayattu and karate, which they call “Niyuddha. “. At night, students learn to play the flute, a program called “Vamshi”.

“We call the camp ‘Panbu Payirchi Mugaam’ (character training camp). The day starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. The day is going as planned. The students mainly learn about time management. Then we teach yoga, silambam and parade in the morning, followed by storytelling and group discussions on patriotism, ”said Gopalakrishnan, Vibhag Karyavah, RSS Chennai chapter.

He also states that students are able to “detox” themselves using cell phones.

Follow-ups

What is happening in these camps is not a big secret. But parents of children are often oblivious to the intention and the people behind it.

Adolescence is a time when children start looking for role models, mostly movie stars. It is also at this age that the attraction to the opposite sex begins. By associating with this mentality, RSS is able to capture the minds of children.

To exploit this, RSS officials are starting to visit the school where the camp is held, twice a week, mainly on Mondays and Fridays. After school hours, students also learn Dhanda, Niyuddha and Vamshi. They also train them in the ‘past March’.

When teens are exposed to such activities, especially when it enlivens them in front of girls, they are easily drawn to ideology and keep coming back and starting to attend “shakas”. The shakhas end with the RSS prayer song “Namaste Sada Vatsale”.

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Slowly the students are coaxed into wearing khaki pants and black shoes. Students who regularly attend shakhas are taken to state-level camps, where they are given a full set of RSS uniforms and a dhanda (staff of Silambam).

They are then introduced to RSS literature. In Tamil, a work called Endru Kaanbom Engal Sindhuvai (When Shall We See Our Sindhu?) Describes the violence of the score in graphic detail. The novels published by RSS are written in such a way that children develop a grudge against Muslims.

However, these camps have encountered opposition from organizations such as Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam and Naam Tamilar Katchi who organize demonstrations in front of school campuses, alleging that these camps corrupt the minds of children and the ethics of secularism in the country. country.

They feel that until students reach a certain age and develop their own political leanings, it would be difficult for them to truly understand the real intent and ideology of RSS.

Kovai Ramakrishnan, leader of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, said RSS and BJP do not attract young people by telling about their principles or achievements. Instead, they instill hatred among the students.

“Schools that are religious encourage such camps. Also, leaning to the right, they think they can get help from the Center in running the school. As for Coimbatore, some of the RSS and BJP workers enter the management committees of some educational institutions run by the Kongu Vellalar community, Malayala Samaj, etc. and advance their agenda, ”he said.

Santhosh Nair, secretary of the private school where the DCP was abused, said that since the RSS is not a banned organization, there is nothing wrong with allowing them to organize camps in the school. .

“In the camps, various ancient Tamil literatures are presented to the students. They also learn yoga and meditation and get rid of negative thoughts as in recent times many students are taking extreme measures to end their days for various reasons. The students participated in the camps of their own accord. We are organizing the camps from 2018, ”he said.

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