RSS
Wearing khaki shorts, Indian right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteers stand in formation as they listen to instructions at a rallyGetty Images

The khaki shorts that almost became synonymous with an Indian hardline Hindu group will get a facelift after more than nine decades. The pleated and flared shorts are worn by the foot soldiers of the group known as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The RSS adopted the shorts, white shirt and black hat as its dress code at its inception in 1925. Over 90 years later, the half pants will be replaced with trousers.

The organisation said it will "modernise" the uniform as it believes in accepting changes in keeping with the changing times.

"We have decided to replace khaki shorts with brown-coloured full pants," RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi announced on Facebook. "Trousers are more common in normal life. We are the people who move with times. So we had no hesitation to change dress code," he added.

During a three-day meeting of the Sangh's decision-making body, Joshi told reporters that the group, which is often criticised for aggressively pushing a Hindu agenda in multi-racial India, is "not rigid and takes decisions according to the times".

Wearing shorts and carrying bamboo sticks, RSS members often take part in the group's daily activities that include physical training, yoga and religious chanting.

The RSS idolises itself as a cultural organisation dedicated to taking India "to the pinnacle of glory through organizing the entire society and ensuring the protection of Hindu Dharma (religion)". Its staunch pro-Hinduism is often blamed for fuelling anti-secular and divisive sentiments in society.

The organisation has been banned thrice in the last 90 years – during the Indian independence movement in 1947, following Mahatma Gandhi's assassination by one of its members in 1948 and during the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, which sparked nationwide riots.