Recently, a black and white image of India’s first Prime Minister and Congress stalwart Jawaharlal Nehru, in a uniform, similar to that of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has resurfaced and is being circulated on social media. In the picture, which is being widely shared on Twitter, Nehru is seen wearing shorts and a cap, akin to RSS protocol.
This is, not the first time such pictures of Jawarharlal Nehru in an attire similar to that of the RSS has surfaced. Earlier while sharing the picture many on social media have opinioned that the first Prime Minister had then participated in RSS shakhas. In fact, such rumours have been around for a long time now.
In 2018, these pictures had resurfaced on Twitter, ahead of the former President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s valedictory address at the function of Third Year Sangha Shiksha Varga (SSV) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at Nagpur.
This picture, which was then shared widely was, in fact, of Pandit Nehru attending a session of the Seva Dal in the year 1939 in Naini, Uttar Pradesh and not the RSS. He was seen wearing a white forage cap. However, the uniform of the RSS introduced in 1925 has a black cap and not a white cap. Moreover, a caption in small type in Marathi at the bottom of the image also said: “At Uttar Pradesh’s Naini in 1939.”
Likewise, these black-and-white images linked to then-prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru also did the rounds on Twitter in the year 2013.
However, a May 2016 tweet from Congress puts all the rumours to rest. Nehru is actually wearing uniform of Congress Seva Dal and not the RSS.
Seva Dal is a frontal, grassroots organisation of the Indian National Congress. It was set up in the year 1924 as the Hindustani Seva Dal and the purpose behind its establishment was to counter British rule. In 1931, it became the chief volunteer arm of the Congress. The uniform of the Seva Dal is similar to the former uniform of the RSS.
The RSS, whereas was established in 1925 and since then, despite several changes in the design of the RSS’ uniform, the colour of the Sangh cap has remained unchanged. In fact, all pictures of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat available on the internet are also with a black cap.
This makes it sufficiently clear that Nehru as seen in the viral photo, was not attending an RSS shakha but a session of the Congress Seva Dal.