As the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh celebrated their foundation day and Vijay Dashmi on Tuesday, a change marked the occasion. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat addressed the gathering on the foundation day without the trademark khaki shorts and chose instead the new uniform of brown trousers.
The sangh had volunteered to change into their uniform formally on Vijay Dashmi. While over the years there have been minor changes to their attire, in terms of the belt or the socks, this time they changed a very essential part of the uniform, one that formed a big part of their identity for 90 years.
The change was initiated exactly a year ago in October. At a meeting of over 270 vibhag pracharaks, RSS leaders indicated that swayamsevaks should be prepared to adopt a new uniform. While the RSS had officially denied the reports of the new uniform, they had recently said that the day of Vijay Dashmi would see this change.
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The last change in the RSS uniform was in 2010, when the canvas belt replaced the leather one, but this decision is yet to be fully implemented and several swayamsevaks still wear old leather belts. From the inception of the RSS in 1925 till 1939, the Sangh had an all-khaki uniform, but in 1940, white shirts were introduced. Leather shoes replaced long boots in 1973 and later rexine shoes were allowed.