The RSS since its inception in 1925 hated anything, which symbolized the united struggle of the Indian people against British rule. The case of the Tricolour is the most pertinent one.

In December 1929 Congress at its Lahore session adopted ‘Purna Swaraj’ or complete self-rule as the national goal and called upon the people to observe January 26, 1930 as Independence Day by displaying and honouring the Tricolour (the Tricolour was by consensus considered the flag of the national movement by this time).

In response to this Hedgewar as Sarsanghchalak issued a circular to all the RSS shakhas to worship the bhagwa jhanda (saffron flag) as the national flag.

The important point is that nowhere in the functioning of the RSS is the Tricolour or National Flag used even today.

The RSS leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi may go to unfurl the Tricolour at Lal Chowk of Srinagar (1991), Kashmir, in order to hypocritically demonstrate their patriotism, but the fact is that the RSS openly decries and denigrates the National Flag, as we will see through the following statements.

Golwalkar while addressing a Gurupurnima gathering in Nagpur on July 14, 1946, stated that it was the saffron flag which in totality represented their great culture. It was the embodiment of God: “We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag.”1

Even after independence when the Tricolour became the National Flag, it was the RSS that refused to accept it as the National Flag.

Golwalkar while discussing the issue of the national flag in an essay entitled ‘Drifting and Drifting’ in the book Bunch of Thoughts, an RSS publication and collection of writings of Golwalkar, has the following to say:

"Our leaders have set up a new flag for our country. Why did they do so? It is just a case of drifting and imitating….Ours is an ancient and great nation with a glorious past. Then, had we no flag of our own? Had we no national emblem at all these thousands of years? Undoubtedly we had. Then why this utter void, this utter vacuum in our minds?"2

 The English organ of the RSS, Organizer (dated August 14, 1947) carried a feature titled 'mystery behind the bhagwa dhawaj' (saffron flag) which while demanding hoisting of saffron flag at the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, openly denigrated the choice of the Tri-colour as the National Flag in the following words:

 "The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country."

Shamsul Islam


MS Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, Volume I, p. 98. Hereafter referred as SGSD.

MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, pp. 237-238.