My Ola driver, Shoeb Khan, said, “the main RSS headquarters is in a different area of Nagpur, called Mahal. This is one other important RSS building.”
I visited Nagpur for a family wedding and was not sure whether I would get a chance to explore the city. I was really interested in Nagpur as it is home to the headquarters of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS - a right-wing, Hindu nationalist organization.
Let me give some context before I move forward. RSS works in sync with its political offshoot, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, which is currently the ruling party in India. RSS has been proven to undermine the interests of religious minorities in India, especially Muslims, in order to advance its vision of a nation that is dominated by Hinduism. This vision flies in the face of the Indian constitution that gives equal rights and opportunities to people of all faith in India. With the BJP currently in power, RSS has taken a more active role in shaping Indian culture and rewriting history to glorify a Hindu nationalist past that sees the Muslims as enemies and invaders. It’s blind following of old epics and texts makes it reluctant to forsake the oppressive casteist and the patriarchal structure of Hinduism.
RSS and BJP workers have actively used violence to further these ideas, and silence those who oppose them. I am opposed to RSS politically, but at the same time, I have been curious about its origin and workings. Hence, when I got to know about a family wedding in Nagpur, I felt a great urge to visit the RSS headquarters.
With all that context, let’s move forward. I had a short window and no pre-planned schedule. However, a few google searches and inquiries from friends had already informed me that there isn’t a lot to see in Nagpur. Besides a couple of historical places, the city has a nice cafe culture. More on that later.
Hence, one day is usually enough to visit the major places within the city. Ola is readily available and since those places are not too far from each other, the fare of one journey shouldn’t go above Rs 150.