The RSS, or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is one of the most influential non-government groups in the world.
It’s also the mother organization behind the party currently governing India: the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.
Yet outside of India, few know about the RSS, its agenda, and its ideas.
Formed in the early 20th century, the RSS is a right-wing paramilitary organization that believes India should be run by and for its Hindu majority first and foremost. In such a vision, religious minorities in India, from Muslims, to Sikhs, to Christians, to Dalits, become second-class citizens.
The RSS is the centre of a network of groups that helps push these ideas. Some of these groups have engaged in organized violence against Muslim and other minority communities across India. The threat they pose is ongoing and by no means a thing of the past.
Yet the RSS has only grown in influence as the BJP dominates India’s politics. Through organizations that engage in humanitarian, community, education, and political work, the RSS has been spreading its ideologies across the world, including into Canada.
What does this mean for democracy, pluralism, and for tolerance in our country? Or the world?
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) tackle this question in a report on the RSS network in Canada. The report traces RSS-affiliated groups in Canada and the permeation of RSS ideology in our civil society.
Read NCCM and WSO’s new report on the RSS and its work in Canada.