Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

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Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) is a subsidiary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for supporting and mobilising Hindus living outside India. Founded in 1940s in Kenya, it is currently active in 39 countries and boasts 570 branches.[1] [2]


Two volunteer members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (swayamsevaks) that had settled in Kenya in 1940s and started a shakha (branch). Since such shakhas were not on 'national' (rashtriya) soil, they were rechristened as the branches of Bharatiya Swayamsevak Sangh, later Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS). RSS Pracharaks Bhaurao Deoras and others spent several years abroad to develop the organisation. During the Emergency RSS was banned in India and, consequently, sent its organisers abroad to seek support and carry out activism.[1]

The British wing of the HSS was established in 1966, and shakas were established in cities like Birmingham and Bradford.[3]

In North America, the HSS gave the lead to the sister organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council), which was founded in Canada in 1970 and in the United States in 1971. The HSS followed in its wake.[4] Currently, the United States has 146 branches of the HSS, the largest network outside the Indian subcontinent.[5]


The HSS organisation in Australia, as elsewhere, says that its focus is on the country in which it is based and that it does not send money to India. It claims to be "ideologically inspired by the RSS vision of a progressive and dynamic Hindu society that can deal with its internal and external challenges, and contribute to the welfare of the whole world". Aside from providing links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), they also have links with organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Youth Network. They exist to raise awareness in matters relating to Hindus but support no political party or candidate.[6]


The HSS was established in Nepal around 1992 by a group of Nepali students who were influenced by leaders of the Hindu nationalist RSS while studying in India. The two bodies share a similar Hindutva ideology. The HSS are reluctant to clarify their sources of financial support other than to say that members donate what they can. Their presence is particularly prevalent in the Terai region and they have regimented programs of education, dissemination of ideology and exercise as elsewhere in the world.[7]

The Nepali HSS has been among several groups campaigning for a reversal of Nepal's 2006 decision to become a secular state after years of being ruled by a Hindu royal family. They say that the king had not favoured Hindus, that the decision was engineered by anti-Hindu groups, included communists and missionaries, and that in any event it was unnecessary because there had been no persecution of religious minorities under the previous system. Among their demands has been that only Hindus should be appointed to high official posts.[7][8]

United Kingdom[edit]

The UK HSS organisation was established in 1966.[9] Consequent on claims made in a television broadcast by ITV's Exposure programme in the UK on 18 February 2015, the Charity Commission for England and Wales announced that it was opening an investigation into the HSS and two other organisations that were featured.[10] The two other organisations claimed to serve Muslim and Sikh communities.[11]

Among the claims against the HSS made in the broadcast was that a tutor at a summer camp told children that "the number of good Muslims 'can be counted on fingers'" and that "to destroy Hindu history is the secret conspiracy of the Christians". HSS responded by saying that it "promotes diversity and unity" and that it was conducting an internal investigation into the alleged comments "to ensure that those who made them are better informed, trained or prevented from making statements which may be interpreted as anti another community."[12]

United States[edit]

In the US, the HSS registered as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation in 1989.[13]


HSS Kenya was started in Nairobi on 14 January 1947 by Jagadish Chandra Shashtri with his colleagues . It was originally known as Bhartiya Swayamsevak Sangh. Since then it has spread throughout Kenya with Shakhas operational in Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, and Meru. HSS in Kenya also runs a socio-cultural-religious organisation of Hindus by the name of Hindu Religious Service Centre (HRSC). It was started in Nairobi in 1947. It is involved in many social service activities and has contributed to Kenyan society in many ways. HSS Kenya was one of the crucibles for the Hindu Council of Kenya, which later on became the main political organization for the defense of Hindus in Kenya.[citation needed]

Presence elsewhere[edit]

The RSS announced in 2014 that there were plans to establish HSS chapters in countries such as Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. It claimed that the two organisations worked closely together and shared a similar ideology but were not as one.[14]


  1. ^ a b Jaffrelot 2009, p. 362.
  2. ^ From US to UK, how RSS went global with overseas wing Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in 39 countries, Zee News, 21 December 2015.
  3. ^ Starrs 2001, p. 13.
  4. ^ Jaffrelot 2011, pp. 700–701.
  5. ^ From US to UK, how RSS went global with overseas wing Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in 39 countries, Zee News, 21 December 2015.
  6. ^ "FAQs". HSS Australia. 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  7. ^ a b Mulmi, Amish Raj (2013). The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindutva in Nepal. Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. pp. 22–32.
  8. ^ Lawoti, Mahendra; Hangen, Susan (2013), Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nepal: Identities and Mobilization After 1990, Routledge, pp. 234–, ISBN 978-0-415-78097-1
  9. ^ "HSS UK". HSS UK. 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  10. ^ "New charity investigations: Global Aid Trust and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (UK)". The Charities Commission. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  11. ^ "RSS-inspired charity, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, under probe in UK over 'extremist' views". The Indian Express. PTI. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  12. ^ "Exposure: Hatred and extremist views in charities". ITV. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  13. ^ "FAQ". HSS US. 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  14. ^ Uttam, Kumar (8 October 2014). "RSS plans to join Hindu groups, expand in the West". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2015-04-15.