RSSFACTS: The lesser known and unknown facts about Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the largest voluntary organisation in the world.     

RSS calls for a new development model that is environment friendly

Updated: June 26, 2024 2:46
Under Deendayal Upadhyay Research Institute (DRI), an RSS inspired organisation in Beed, a backward district in Maharashtra, witnessed projects focused on water conservation, tank de-silting, and afforestation in catchment areas to enhance rainfall. Image source:

An unprecedented rise in temperatures during the current summer season across India including even the Himalayan region has caused havoc across the country. It has also raised questions about the path of development that India intends to take. In this context, it is time to take a look at the development model proposed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which has been advocating for a growth trajectory for the Indian economy which is in sync with nature.

On June 10 while delivering a speech at Nagpur (Mahrashtra) at the valedictory session of an RSS training camp, the organisation’s chief, Mohan Bhagwat, reiterated RSS’ vision about a sustainable development model in context to the ongoing ‘heat wave crisis’ across the country. He said, “Whatever happened in the heat of the elections, we have to free ourselves from that and think about the things to come. We have to get relief from the problems. Right now we are sitting, it is hot. It was so hot a few days ago! This year it was much hotter than any other year and it was the same case everywhere. It also happened in mountainous regions. There is a water crisis in a metropolis like Bangalore. Various things are being published about the melting of the Himalayan glacier originating rivers. This environmental crisis is affecting the entire world. Bharat, which has been a friend of the environment since its culture, gratefully worships rivers, trees, mountains, animals, birds, and believes in their relationship, is also facing this crisis.”

According to Bhagwat this is happening because of an ‘incomplete’ development path. He emphasized that India has to change its development path and the rest of the world would also have to do the same.

“The world will follow the vision of the one who already has it, seeing how Bharat
transforms itself. Therefore, we have to properly create a development path on the basis of the ‘Swa’ (selfhood). Many things are happening by thinking about that selfhood. But we will have to think from the root and transform everything. The modern journey and efforts of knowledge and science should also be kept in mind while moving forward. We will have to take along with us the knowledge of our tradition which is relevant to the times, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the universe is our mother, we are not conquerors of the universe, we are a part of the universe, it has to be tapped, it has to be nurtured, we have to pay attention to this,” said Bhagwat outlining the RSS vision of a development model that shuns consumerism.

Concerns With The Current Model

Earlier in his annual Vijaydashami speech at Nagpur last year, the RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat had expressed his concern about the current model of development, “A lifestyle out of sync with nature is producing a string of new physical and mental-health issues amid unabashed consumerism. Pollution, global warming, imbalance in seasonal cycles and the resultant natural disasters are increasing every year as a result of unreasonable exploitation of natural resources.”

Further, he mentioned that these issues should also concern us as, “A smaller edition of above-mentioned events can be seen in Bharat as well.
According to the RSS, these incidents of natural disasters hold a clear message for the entire country. Due to the development trajectories based on inadequate, excessively materialistic and consumerist vision, humanity and nature are slowly but surely moving towards destruction. There is a growing concern about this all over the world.

“Bharat will have to abandon those unsuccessful paths or gradually turn back, creating its own distinct development path, in tune with the times, based on Bharatiya values and the overall unified and integral vision of our Bharat,” said Bhagwat.

The RSS believes in using an India-centric innovative approach that must shun the tendency of sticking to the old and unsuccessful paths, of blind imitation, inertia, and dogma.

Citizens Have to Play a Role

RSS is of the view that in the broader society, too, an increasing number of new, successful experiments and innovations in the domain of agriculture, industry and trade-related services, cooperatives and self-employment are taking place. However, there is a greater need for a similar kind of awakening among the intellectuals who shape the direction and vision in various areas of human activities. It must be remembered that only a ‘Swa-based’, time-appropriate policy of the government, a prompt, consistent and people-oriented work of the administration, and the cooperation and support of the society in thoughts, words and actions, will bring about a meaningful transformation for Bharat.

RSS also believes that this couldn’t be left only to the government. Society has to play an active role in this and lead from the front. In this context it had launched major initiatives in three key areas for environment protection in 2019. The then Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) Bhaiyyaji Joshi had said that the Sangh would take up various activities along with the society in the field of Environment protection and conservation through initiatives in three key areas- water conservation and water management, planting trees and eliminating use of plastic and other non-biodegradable material like Thermocol.

The RSS has been discussing this issue consistently in all its key meetings since then. A separate national level vertical under the name ‘Paryavaran Sarankshan’ (Environment Protection) has been set up which has taken activities at the ground level. The RSS inspired organisations like Deendayal Upadhyay Research Institute (DRI) that was set up by Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh has been working on ground since 1980s to develop a sustainable model of growth and development that shuns consumerism that can be replicated at the national level.

(The article was originally published in Link:

Also Read

How British government tried to restrict RSS and was defeated in legislative council

Hindu Nationalism: How RSS looks at it and why it is misunderstood?

RSS calls for a new development model that is environment friendly

A Compilation of Vijayadashami Speeches of RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat (2010-2023)