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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, abbreviated as RSS ">[rɑːʂˈʈriːj swəjəmˈseːvək ˈsəŋɡʱ], lit. "National Volunteer Organisation" or "National Patriotic Organisation"), is a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation in India that is widely regarded as the parent organisation of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ
Logo of RSS.png
Abbreviation RSS
Formation 27 September 1925 (91 years ago) (1925-09-27)
Founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar
Type Right-wing volunteer, paramilitary
Legal status Active
Purpose Advocating Hindu nationalism
Headquarters Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
Coordinates 21°02′N 79°10′E / 21.04°N 79.16°E / 21.04; 79.16Coordinates: 21°02′N 79°10′E / 21.04°N 79.16°E / 21.04; 79.16
Area served
India
Membership
5-6 million
56,859 shakhas (2016)
Official language
Hindi
Chief
Mohan Bhagwat
Key people
Suresh 'Bhaiyaji' Joshi
(General Secretary)
Affiliations Sangh Parivar
Mission "Selfless Service to Motherland"
Website www.rss.org

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, abbreviated as RSS (Rāṣṭrīya Svayamsēvaka Saṅgha; IPA: [rɑːʂˈʈriːj(ə) swəjəmˈseːvək ˈsəŋɡʱ], lit. "National Volunteer Organisation" or "National Patriotic Organisation"), is a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation in India that is widely regarded as the parent organisation of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Founded on 27 September 1925, the organisation is a non-governmental organisation, the world's largest such, and claims a commitment of selfless service to India. The initial impetus was to provide character training through Hindu discipline and to unite the Hindu community to form a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation). The organisation carries the ideal of upholding Indian culture and civilizational values. It drew initial inspiration from European right-wing groups during World War II. Gradually RSS grew into a prominent Hindu nationalist umbrella organisation, spawning several affiliated organisations that established numerous schools, charities and clubs to spread its ideological beliefs.

The RSS was banned once during British rule, and then thrice by the post-independence Indian government — first in 1948 when a former RSS member assassinated Mahatma Gandhi; then during the emergency (1975–77); and for a third time after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.