High Commissioner to India Barry O'Farrell and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Image: AAP, AP)

Barry O’Farrell, the former NSW premier who resigned over a bottle of Grange, is enjoying that most plum of post-political postings as high commissioner to India. He’s also been chumming it up with one of the country’s most notorious far-right Hindu nationalist organisations.

This week, O’Farrell met with Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a sprawling far-right Hindu nationalist volunteer paramilitary organisation with a membership in the millions. And he was full of praise for the RSS’s community relief measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the RSS?

In recent decades, the RSS has gone from occupying the loony fringe to becoming a dominant force in contemporary Indian politics. It pitches itself as a seemingly innocent social group where members go to pray, do exercise and dress in absurd khaki shorts.