RSS volunteers at their morning shakha. (Sonia Paul)
RSS volunteers in Lucknow at their morning shakha. (Sonia Paul)

It was barely 6 AM, but the vast park in the center of Lucknow, the capital of the northernĀ Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, was already bustling with people taking advantage of the early morning cool before the stifling May heat set in.

Children were playing on the trim grass, swings, and miniature rock walls. Adults dressed in tracksuits and salwar kameezes were walking briskly on the cement path.

And secluded in a corner of the morning hustle, in plain sight to anyone who cared to cast a glance, a group of five men were performing their morning drills. They began with simple stretches.

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