Intersectionality My RSS School Experience: How Such Institutions Produce Fascist Students?

My RSS School Experience: How Such Institutions Produce Fascist Students?

"All Dalit students like me are getting harmed in these institutions every day. Children with caste prejudice and psyche are prepared in these RSS educational institutions," writes the author.
» Editors Note: FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth for August 2023 is Caste, Religion And CampusWe invite submissions on this theme throughout the month. If you would like to contribute, kindly refer to our submission guidelines and email your articles to

If you get treatment from a doctor with reservations, you will die,” a teacher told a group of girls in my school. The name of that school was “Vidya Bharati.” My mother told me at the time, “Vidya Bharati’s schools are good.” Maybe my family and I were unaware that “Vidya Bharti” is a school linked with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).

There are many such institutions in every corner of the country, where lakhs of students study. According to a 2016 Indian Express report, there are 12 thousand such schools around the country, with over 32 lakh pupils enrolled in such schools. In my city, I attended Vidya Bharti Balika Vidyalaya from 9th through 12th grade. I choose this school on my own. This institution educates around 8,000 girls from kindergarten to 12th grade.

I was on the school bus with a friend one morning, and we were discussing our former co-ed school. We were joking about the boys who were studying with us. Teachers used to ride the school bus with the students. Meanwhile, we were unaware that the seat in front of us was occupied by a teacher. She listened to us for a while before exclaiming, “Shut up! You have been talking nonsense for a long time.” And instructed us to sit apart beginning the next day.

RSS school girls marching
Source: Catch News

It was the first time in my life that I was scolded so badly for talking about boys. Gradually I came to know that the conditioning of girls in these schools is such that talking about boys is prohibited. If they do, then there is a flaw in their character. There was another trend in this school which has now been closed. The girl students who won any competition were given sets of bowls, juice sets, and cup-plate sets as prizes (this was the symbolic representation of how girls must adhere to domestic responsibilities).

In this way, in these institutions, girls are made leaders of patriarchy. In other words, the girls are bound to ‘sanskar,’ here. Sanskar here means to endure the patriarchal system.

Like every school, there was prayer here too. The prayers ranged from half an hour to an hour in which ‘morning greetings,’ were done in Sanskrit. Newspapers here only carried news that was ‘positive,‘ like “such-and-such woman won this award.” I was experiencing all this for the first time because all the schools I attended till Class VIII were secular. However, I felt it necessary to exercise my right to silence which continued till the last day of my school.

During lunchtime, a mantra was to be said before eating. This phrase expressed gratitude to God for providing food. The first days passed under such circumstances and a significant amount of time was spent observing such things.

Meanwhile, the case of the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula came to the fore which shocked me completely. It was after that that I consciously became aware of caste and caste discrimination and started seeing almost every incident from a caste lens. Had it not been so, I too would have been established as the bearer of patriarchy. I asked my teacher some questions related to the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and she made me shut up in a crowded class.

Seeing this kind of atmosphere every day, I started to remain silent. One day, the registration forms of the students were being filled out for the board exams of classes 9th and 10th. The teacher started to fill out my form also and while filling in some important information, the column of caste appeared in the form.

She asked – “caste?” I said “SC.” Don’t know whether she was able to listen or wanted to listen again. She again asked “caste?” and again I said – “SC.”  Next, she asked, “Are you sure?”  I said “Yes.”  After this “yes,” my eyes were filled with tears, and I came back to my seat. My friends asked “What happened?” and I mentioned, “Now you will break friendship with me because I am an SC.”

RSS school girls marching
Source: AFP

Don’t know why I told my friends this, perhaps a fourteen-year-old child has this much awareness. In this way, for the first time in my life, what being ‘Dalit‘ was experienced. Why was I only asked, “Are you sure?”  Today as I remember this and want to state that the upper castes of this country only want to see a Dalit sweeping the roadside in dirty clothes. That’s why when they see us being groomed in their institutions based on constitutional rights, they ask questions like “Are you sure?

Through this question, under the Brahminical system standard like “Where are the Dalits now,” is created. In this way, in this RSS school, I was reminded of the history and presence of the entire caste system with just one sentence.

Unfortunately, due to stress I fell sick and started getting frequent fevers. I also started suffering from migraines. My family was well acquainted with Babasaheb. They knew the truth about the caste system and also about our ideals. But I was not told much from the beginning because I was a child to them. I was an innocent child to my parents but not to the school and its teachers.

I noticed that every time my school celebrated Republic Day or Independence Day, two words were always missing: Constitution and Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar. Except for these two, everything was included in the speeches, beginning with the Managing Director’s “Bol… Banke Bihari Lal ki Jai,” and ending with the girls’ “Jai.” I have never understood the country’s independence. What was the eventual role of Banke Bihari in the formation of the country and its constitution?

The result of this was that I attended 26th January and 15th August for only one year, after that, I never went to these programs for the remaining three years. The most important thing for me was that a day before April 14, a prayer was held and a teacher used to come to tell about Baba Saheb. She had only mere information about Babasaheb’s birth, his education and nothing much. 

The man who resigned from the parliament for not accepting the Hindu Code Bill in the interest of the girls of the country, that man is neither taught nor studied in these institutions. Neither Savitribai Phule nor Fatima Shaikh is talked about. But tales about Hindu Goddesses Durga and Kali are common there.

While confronting caste and patriarchy became an everyday thing for me, a teacher in my 10th started a debate on the Aadhaar Card which ended with Reservation. I am very surprised, after all, how does any debate started by the upper castes on any subject end on the reservation? At that time I used to sit alone in the first seat in the third row. I did not have any such friend in the class of 50 children because every time I used to feel that somewhere someone would say a casteist slur and I would not be able to tolerate it. 

As I was standing in my seat giving my opinion in the debate. I was the only one among 50 children who were in favour of reservation and everyone including the teacher was in opposition. The teacher called me from my seat and made me sit in the middle of some girls sitting in the first row, I was still speaking in favour. Meanwhile, as soon as the period was over and the teacher left. 

RSS school girls marching
Source: HT

All the girls who were in opposition to the reservation circled around me in an intimidating manner. I was using the word system for all political systems and one of them said system, which one?  Nervous?  Immune? I became silent on hearing this because arguing with them seemed useless. I was about to walk silently when a girl asked “Are you yourself from a low caste?  But you look like a Thakur.” I turned to her and said – “I am what you are.” she again said, “Thakur?”  I said, “No, human being!”

At that time it seemed as if the upper-caste girl crowd would kill me. That day again I did not take any class, I sat on the stairs of the floor. No one can even imagine the conditions under which all the Dalit children come to schools and colleges every day and the mental state they go through. If the girls didn’t like someone’s clothes, they would say straight out, “Don’t be chamariya,” (casteist slur in North India)  When they do not like someone’s food, they would say, “Who eats food like bhangis?” I could not bear these words.

This is the reason why my friendship never deepened with anyone. In the 11th I took the Humanities stream and it made the path more difficult. And the debate on reservation became more common.

Even teachers used to openly use sentences like “Doctors with reservations kill patients,” then arguing with them on this topic seemed like a waste of both my energy and time, so I stopped speaking. Hateful words like “katua,” and “mullah,” were also commonly used to refer to the Muslim community.

Once my political science teacher said that “the system was already good, Pandits could read and write and Shudras used to clean the garbage. Now even the jobs of Pandits are eaten up by them (shudras/Dalits).” All the girls agreed with this statement. Even then, I didn’t say anything, but I was certain that the system she was referring to is Manusmriti’s system in which women are subject to men and must live within four walls.

RSS school girls marching
Source: The Wire

Despite having over 200 teachers in total, there was not a single Dalit teacher to my knowledge. There were no more than ten SC children in each class of sixty students, no STs and some OBCs. I finally finished school after going through similar hardships.

Education should have become the reason for happiness, it became the reason for ‘disease,’ for me. In this way, caste discrimination hit me deep inside and disturbed me. As I am writing all this it is as if I am reliving all that time and it is no less painful.

Why was it that the rest of the children were happy but I was hurt by their words? All Dalit students like me are getting harmed in these institutions every day. Children with caste prejudice and psyche are prepared in these RSS educational institutions. 

Savarna girls are equipped with Brahminism. Such a generation has been prepared in these institutions which neither thinks nor understands and their number is in crores. These ‘upper caste robots‘ are being prepared in these educational institutions, which from time to time, as we are seeing, seem to stand in favour of Brahmanical authority and domination.

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