One often reads ‘unknown’ or ‘lesser-known’ facts about celebrities. While some cease to be ‘unknown’ due to frequent mentions of it, more often that not, it leaves one surprised. One such lesser known fact about Milind Soman is sure to leave you surprised.
The model-turned-actor-turned-fitness enthusiast used to be a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) during his youth. The revelation was made by the Bajirao Mastani star in his memoir Made in India: A Memoir.
In an excerpt from the book, Soman revealed that his enrollment with the RSS was one that took place around the time he had started swimming. He shared that location played a major role in it, since the Shakha or training centre used to be at Shivaji Park (Mumbai).
The other factor was his father believing that his Soman joining RSS would help the then youngster with benefits like ‘disciplined living, physical fitness and right thinking’, since Soman Sr too had been a part of the junior cadres of the RSS. The former supermodel added that it used to be something most boys living in the area would do, calling it a ‘very Shivaji Park thing.’
He also wrote that he ‘hid out at the sidelines concealed by a convenient hedge.’ Soman added that he was not happy about his parents pushing a ‘happy loner’ like him into ‘forced activities’ with other children, without much of ‘by your leave’ and he no longer wanted to be a part of such a set-up.
The 54-year-old added that the only ‘nice outcome’ of the entire journey was that he made ‘three wonderful friends’, an Anglo-Indian couple and their ‘boxer’ Jeeves, who he would meet at the bench, something that resulted in him going to walk Jeeves for the rest of his life.
Soman added that he is ‘frankly baffled’ by the ‘subversive, communal propaganda’ that RSS is associated it by the media today. He claimed his memories of his time at RSS, specifically, 6pm to 7pm during that time, was marching in khaki shorts, performing yoga, working out at the tradtional gym with no ‘fancy equipment’, chanting Sanskrit verses that they did not know the meaning of, playing games and having fun with the other boys. Soman added that they’d also set off for overnight camping trips around the hills of Mumbai, something the boys used to be excited about.
He also shared that the entire set-up was overseen by a 'well-meaning—if not always inspirational—adults' who felt they were developing good ‘civilian soldiers’. He described the term as boys who would respect authority, behave respectfully with adults, who were aware about physical fitness, who would go on to work towards ‘nation building’ after few years. The actor also called it like the ‘Desi Scouts’ movement. He added that parents looked at the Shakhas as something that would keep their children in good shape and ‘out of trouble.’
Soman concluded this particular journey of his life by stating that his father was also a part of the RSS and was a ‘proud Hindu.’ He, however, wondered what was there to be ‘proud about’, but at the same time, he did not know what was there to complain about it.
Milind Soman’s memoir was launched by the him, along with his wife Ankita Konwar and his mother Usha last week.
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