Standing with Narendra Modi as he was sworn in as prime minister on the majestic forecourt of India’s presidential palace was a cabinet made up almost entirely of ministers whose careers started in a hardline Hindu nationalist movement.
After the stunning majority won by Modi’s party in the general election, the movement that believes multi-faith India should be recognized first and foremost as a Hindu nation feels closer than ever before to achieving its goals.
Hundreds of thousands of volunteers from the movement led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) actively campaigned in the election, using technology and sheer manpower to mobilize voters in regions where Modi’s party has traditionally been weak.
Many are recruited into the RSS as children and stay in the movement through their lives. In the election, these volunteers carried voter lists on tablet computers or mobile phones, the biggest operation by the organization since 1977 when disparate opposition groups merged to beat former prime minister Indira Gandhi and her Congress party.