The first overseas shakha is believed to have been held in Mombasa.

With 39 overseas shakhas RSSs overseas wing bigger than affiliate VHPImage source: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh : RSS/Facebook
news Monday, December 21, 2015 - 10:16

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) currently has "shakhas" running in 39 countries across  the world and its overseas wing is even bigger than one of its official affiliate, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ramesh Subramaniam, Mumbai coordinator of the organisation's overseas work, told The Times of India

"We don’t call it Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh overseas. It’s not on Indian soil so we can’t use the word 'Rashtriya'. We call it Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) as it unites Hindus worldwide," Subramaniam told the newspaper. 

Shakhas in five countries in the Middle East are held indoors since outdoor shakhas aren't permitted in these countries, and Finland only has an e-shakha where all activities are conducted over the internet for people from over 20 countries who don't have any such units in their areas, the report states. 

"While Nepal has the largest number of shakhas outside India, US comes second with 146. We are present in every state of the US. We have shakhas in cities like New York, Washington DC, Seattle and Miami," Satish Modh, who has been associated with RSS overseas' work for over 25 years, told TOI. 

The story of what is believed to be the first overseas shakha is also quite fascinating as narrated by Ramesh Mehta, a senior RSS member. 

According to Mehta, "In 1946, two swayamsevaks, Manekbhai Rugani and Jagdish Chandra Sharda were travelling from Mumbai to Mombasa (Kenya). Neither knew each other. One saw the other performing the right hand 'namaskar' and figured he too was from RSS. They held the first shakha together on the ship. The first shakha on foreign soil was in Mombasa."

 

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