Harijan Sevak Sangh

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 27, 2022, 8:17

Harijan Sevak Sangh is a volunteer organization affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). It was founded in 1932 by Mahatma Gandhi. It works for the welfare of 'Harijans' or the oppressed castes, to eradicate untouchability, and also for the upliftment of women and children.

History of the Harijan Sevak Sangh

The organization was founded in September 1932 in the aftermath of Gandhi's Epic Fast at Yervada Jail, Pune. Gandhi opposed the segregation of the so-called 'untouchables' of the Hindu community into a separate electoral group. He saw this as an attempt by the British government to create a split in the community in its attempt to divide and rule.

On 30th September, he founded a league, the All India Anti Untouchability League, to remove untouchability. This was later renamed Harijan Sevak Sangh. Ghanshyam Das Birla, the Industrialist, was its founding President and Amritlal Takkar was its secretary.

Objectives of Harijan Sevak Sangh

The organization was set up to meet three goals -

  1. To work among the Harijans and to eradicate untouchability
  2. To work among the women and children and to help them
  3. To propagate a non-violent society based on love, self-sacrifice, brotherhood, cooperation, and service to humanity

Mahatma Gandhi said, "When we understand ourselves, we shall understand others, but I doubt whether many of us have done that." He argued that everyone should be given their due share as an individual, without regard to their caste.

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Significance of Harijan Sevak Sangh

The Harijan Sevak Sangh has played a prominent role in eradicating untouchability. It is an important 'shock value' organization that highlights the status of Harijans. It was instrumental in founding the Self-Respect Movement and the Swadeshi movement (the two major movements in India) and played a major role in the formation of the All India Scheduled Caste Federation (AISCF).

In the Indian Constitution, there is a provision for 'Harmony and Union of All' (Articulate and Consolidate all Sects and Castes under One Union), but untouchability is not included in that. It is only a codicil to the main document, which does not make it clear that this clause should also apply to untouchability. The presence of Harijan Sevak Sangh provides a great opportunity for installing harmony among all sections of society at large by eliminating untouchability at its root.

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Harijan Sevak Sangh Today

There are two schools in the state of Tamil Nadu that are run by the organization. One is a residential middle school in the Villupuram district, and the other is a residential primary school (N.M.R. Subbaraman Memorial) in Madurai.

The school in Villupuram was set up in 1993. It has 180 students from the scheduled caste and 109 students from other backward classes(OBC). These students are mostly children of migrant labourers. The school in Madurai was built in 1979. and currently has five faculty members, teaching and non-teaching.

While the work of Mahatma Gandhi was appreciated and appreciated, many social problems still await solutions. There is a need for new alternative organizations to work for Harijans' benefit and eradicate untouchability.

Dr Ambedkar recommended the creation of new voluntary organizations for the welfare of caste-Harijans. He even suggested that all such organizations should be registered under a Central Government Public Trust with the power to audit books and appoint money depositors on a large scale.

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FAQs on Harijan Sevak Sangh

Q1. Can you elaborate on the work of Harijan Sevak Sangh?

Harijan Sevak Sangh is a volunteer organization that was founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1932. It works for the welfare of Harijans (oppressed castes) and also to eradicate untouchability. It has also worked for the upliftment of women and children.

Q2. What does Harijan Sevak Sangh mean?

Hari is another term for God, so a Sevak or devotee of God is in this context. The overall objective of this organization is to eliminate untouchability from society by working with or for the oppressed people, i.e., Harijans, so that they can do away with their casteist mindset.

Q3. What is the motto of Harijan Sevak Sangh?

The motto of Harijan Sevak Sangh is "Justice to all and appeasement to none." This means that social justice will be given to all the oppressed and downtrodden in society, regardless of their caste or religion. No one should discriminate against anyone based on their caste or religion, so everyone should be treated equally in society.

Q4. What is the objective of Harijan Sevak Sangh?

The objective of Harijan Sevak Sangh is to work among the Harijans and to eradicate untouchability. To work among the women and children and to help them. To propagate a non-violent society based on love, self-sacrifice, brotherhood, co-operation, and service of humanity. Thus, the organization aims to create an environment where religion will be a private matter between individuals, with no discrimination or preference based on caste or religion.