RSS Swayam Sevak holds ‘shakha’ on Everest, flies pro-CAA banner on highest peak outside Asia


Everest: Vipin Chaudhary, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary and mountaineer, claims to have conducted a ‘shakha’ on Mount Everest, and raised a banner of support for the Citizenship Amendment Act on top of the highest mountain outside Asia, Mount Aconcagua in South America.

The shakha is the basic unit of the RSS and over 60,000 are conducted daily across India. At every shakha, members raise a saffron flag and salute it (called ‘dhwajpranam’). It ends with a prayer in Sanskrit seeking glory for the nation.

Chaudhary is a sah mahanagar karyavah of the RSS in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, and an avid mountaineer, who scaled Everest (29,029 feet) on 22 May 2019.

He then climbed Mt Aconcagua in Argentina, South America, on 18 December the same year.

These mountains are part of the ‘seven summits’ — the highest peaks on each continent that are a key goal for mountaineers. He had summitted Mt Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) in Tanzania (Africa) on 16 December 2017, and Mt Elbrus (18,510 feet) in Russia (Europe) on 24 July 2018.

Tricolour on Everest, pro-CAA banner on Aconcagua

Speaking to ThePrint, Chaudhary said in addition to the saffron flag to conduct the shakha, he had also carried a Tricolour to Everest. “When I reached Mt Everest, I first waved the national Tricolour, and then I hoisted the saffron flag and held an RSS shakha there,” he said, adding he followed all the norms of conducting an RSS shakha.

“It was a dream come true. Not only I could summit the peak, but I could also hold an RSS shakha there,” said Chaudhary, whose father is in the Uttar Pradesh Police and mother is a homemaker.

Chaudhary then proceeded to Argentina on 18 December to climb Aconcagua (22,482 feet), by which time the new citizenship law had been passed and protests had begun against it. But he said he had already taken along a banner supporting the law, reiterating his ideological commitment.

“I reached the top of Mt Aconcagua on 1 January, and after waving the Tricolour, I unfolded the banner and waved it. The banner said ‘I Support Citizenship Amendment Act’,” he said.

“I wanted to tell the world how Indians feel about the CAA. I also wanted to give a message to people of our country that all of us should support the CAA.”

Chaudhary said both tasks were difficult, given the conditions at these peaks. “The conditions are very tough and you can stay there for only few minutes, as climbing down is no less challenging than climbing up. Even the slightest physical action on these peaks takes lot of physical effort,” he said.

“Yes, it did take extra effort to hold an RSS shakha or wave a banner in favour of CAA. But at the end of the day, it is all worth it. Being a swayamsevak (RSS volunteer), I feel committed to these causes. I had joined RSS in childhood and the commitment to the ideology and organisation has become stronger with passage of time. It gets displayed through such acts naturally,” Chaudhary added.

‘Message of Hindutva’

Chaudhary graduated from Delhi University’s PGDAV College, where he had been the vice-president of the students’ union. He did his basic mountaineering training at Darjeeling’s Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, and an advanced course from Nehru Mountaineering Institute, Uttarkashi.

Chaudhary is currently a student of law at KGK College, Moradabad, which is affiliated to Bareilly’s Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University. He also leads adventure sports enthusiasts on trekking and other expeditions.

Chaudhary says his dream is to scale all the peaks in the ‘seven summits’, and take the message of Hindutva everywhere he goes.

“I am hopefully going to scale the next three peaks and I will do whatever I can when I reach there to spread the message of Hindutva,” said Chaudhary, who returned from Argentina on 10 January.