Exercise & Timings Don’t Suit Women’s Inclusion in Shakhas: RSS

The RSS sought to explain its stand on women’s inclusion after Rahul Gandhi’s ‘women in shorts’ remark. 

2 min read
Representational image of RSS karamcharis.

Days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's remark asking whether anyone has "seen women in shorts at RSS shakhas" brought out a barrage of criticism from the Sangh Parivar, the right-wing organisation has now sought to explain its stand on the inclusion of women.

According to a report in the Economic Times, the insiders of RSS have cited early morning schedules, including a meeting at 6 am, as well as vigorous exercises of the organisation to justify the absence of women in the shakhas, saying that such things do not 'suit women'.

The rationale reportedly offered by a senior RSS leader is that physical games played in the shakhas and samitis "to teach nation-building" are not suitable for mixed audiences having both boys and girls.

“It (a particular game) involves a lot of jostling and pushing which might not work well in a mixed shakha.”
RSS leader

While citing physical reasons and timings to justify the absence of women in shakhas, the organisation has also maintained that women play a proactive role under the Sangh umbrella, emphasising on the activities of Rashtra Sevika Samiti as well as the participation of women in the decision-making of the RSS.

‘Women Create an Atmosphere of Cooperation in Families to Support RSS’

The Sangh also sought to clarify its position on social media, slamming some media reports that supposedly claimed that the "RSS will consider entry of women in shakhas".

It went on to say that women have been carrying out shakha work as part of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, as well participating in programs and campaigns.

But the organisation did conclude its social media clarification with one problematic line, when it remarked: “Women create an atmosphere of cooperation in families to support RSS.”

So, what about men? Does this mean that they cannot create such an atmosphere of cooperation in families? Or does the RSS want to reserve this role exclusively for women?

On Wednesday, reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, senior RSS functionary Manmohan Vaidya had reportedly said that they were "like going to a men's hockey match and trying to look for women players".

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