New Delhi: When thousands of Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists perform their physical
drills this summer, their trademark uniform will have a small
but historic change with the leather belts being replaced with
With an estimated nearly 60 lakh swayamsevaks nationwide,
the organisation is working on a war footing to provide them
all with the nylon belts before the start of the year`s first
officers training camps in April, a senior leader said.
"Most of the swayamsevaks have got the new belts. The
uniform wing of the RSS is working to ensure that the
remaining ones get it before the start of this year`s training
camps", senior RSS leader Ram Madhav said to a news agency.
Though the RSS has used the leather belt with brass
buckle for nearly six decades, it was decided to bring about a
change and replace them with synthetic ones and steel buckles
at the recent meet of the organisation`s` highest decision
making body --the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha --at
Even though the accessory was made of animal hide, the
Sangh`s condition was that the leather used in preparing belts
for its cadres should not be of slaughtered animals.
"For many years, senior leaders as well as ordinary party
workers have wanted to change the leather belt, arguing that
it does not blend well with the ethos/image of RSS as the
product was from animal hide. This time we reached upon a
consensus to change it once and for all", another senior RSS
A top RSS functionary said swayamsevaks of the level of
sarsangchalak or a new recruit used to compete to shine their
belts and show off its gleam at functions.
"I remember an incident in which my elder brother, senior
to me in the RSS cadre also, was angry at me for wearing his
belt at a function, due to which he could not be in (purna
ganvesh) full uniform", said Vaghesh Issar, an RSS functionary
in the Capital.
A senior functionary from the Ahmedabad shakha narrated
an incident concerning with another swayamsevak who, during
the floods in 2005, was swept away in the gushing waters but
used his belt buckle as a hook and hung on to some object till
he was rescued.