Bharat Sevak Samaj (BSS)

Bharath Sevak Samaj is the National Development Agency sponsored by the Planning Commission, Government of India to ensure public co-operationfor implementing government plants. The main purpose behind the formulation of Bharat Sevak Samaj is to initiate a nation wide, non official and non political organization with the object of enabling individual citizens to contribute, in the form of an organized co-operative effort, to the implementation of the National Development Plan. The constitution and functioning of Bhart Sevak Samaj is approved unanimously by the Indian Parliament.

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU MESSAGE

We can to some extent measure our resources or most of them. But it is very difficult to measure the biggest of these resources that we have, that is man-power, and that psychology which makes people work for greater ends. Unless we utilize this man-power and unless we can produce that temper in our people which laughs at difficulties and gets things done, sometimes inspite of facts, we cannot achieve anything really big.

The proposal to start organization to be called the Bharat Sevak Samaj, has this in view. It is an ambitions for it, not the ambition for little and personal things of life but the ambition to serve great causes, forgetting one self and achieve great ends.

This is not a political organization, even though, I, a politician, commend it. It is meant for every able bodied men and women, whatever his views might be on other topics”.

A MISSION AND A MOVEMENT

Bharat Sevak Samaj is a mission and a movement. To succeed as such, it must win the adherence and support of a large and growing number of people in the country, that can come about only on the strengof a genuine understanding of the purpose and significance of the new organisation. To furnish an answer to the question: "Why Bhart Sevak Samaj"?, it shall restate the major assumption underlying the conception of the Samaj.

First there is a great deal of necessary, good and useful work remain to be done in the aountry, for which no provision may be made, in the normal course, for many years. To accomplish this, special effort on a very large scale is needed, which is not yet in evidence. Scondly, the means for carrying out such a programme on a large scale are available in the shape of the unused time, energy and other resources, accompanied by the desire or urge on the part of may people to give for the service of the community. Thirdly, in view of the variety and magnitude of the activity, an organisation has to be built up, which has to be big and strong enough to cope with these great tasks. It should be capableof mobilizing the voluntary efforts of the people and make effective and fruitful use of it. Such organisation does not exist.

In a community which has attainned such a state These basic assumptions explain the origin of the Bhart Sevak Samaj. Theyare as true and meaningful today as some years ago, whenthe first decision to establish the organisation was taken. The meaning may perphas, with advantage, be brought out a little more fully.

In a community which has attained such a state of abundance that to everybody all the means of naterial well - being are available, voluntary service might not have a definite role. The view, however, does not take account of the vast tange of intagible service which, even in these circumstances, people can render to one another in the realm of moral and spiritual satisfaction. But that time has not yet come any where in any part of the world and is not likely to arrive in this country for many years.

In fact, India, judging by her per capita income, stands almost at the bottom among the nations of the world. On the basis of available statistics India is lagging behind. There are thus bound to be large gaps in material well-being for the bulk of our people which should be visible to anyone who is in touch with the villages or the towns of India.

Insanitary sorroundings, low standards of essential amenities, lack of facilities for community life in most places, are facts which themselves point to possibilities of constructive activity in numerous directions. Many of these things will, for the time being, not be figuting in the Governments's plants and are often beyond the reach of individual initative or resources. There are various other consequences of poverty and ignorance which must be combated by social enlightenment and action. In the field of social relations and the rebuilding of the social order, there are so many important task which are being neglected at present.

At the same time, as all of us know, there are vast numbers of person who have unused or spareenergy and time at their disposal which could easily be directed into useful channels to fill many of these gaps. Take our villages; the normalavocations of the people and the claims of helthy recreation do not absorb all the time that is available. This idle time can, with the help of some auxiliary resources, be quickly converted into roads, tanks, community centres etc.

If we assume that an hour a day on the average shoul thus be pressed into voluntary services in respect of half the population of the country, we can tap this reservior immensely for the betterment of nation.There are, besides, classes of people, who may have much more time to to give to useful volumntary activity if the idea appeals to them. There is a large class of those who have retired from service. They can bring to bear on this programme of voluntary activity a fund of experience. In this country there is also a fairly large number of those who renounce the world. As far as personal ends are concerned, but on the very account they are in a position to dedicate themselves wholly to the service of humanity. The vacation time of students could, in part, be utilized for social purposes.

These large resources can, however, be drawn up actually only to the exent that the urge to seve others exists or can be created. It is our experience that the urge exists on a considerable scale, and amounts up to high levels when occasionsarise which make a strong appeal to the mind. Volunteers are not lacking in national emergencies. This urge for unselfish service is as much an abiding element of human nature as its self-regarding aspects. It can be nourished and strengthened. In our country which has just achieved Independence, mainly by dint of the sufferings and sacrifices of the common men and women. the spring of unselfish action is evidently there in plenty. There is also a good deal of impatience with the pace of our advance in talking the serious social and economic problems of the nation. The aspiration to make India a great and strong country is shared by vast numbers. These are counditions which offer wide opportunities for moving the hearts of the people, releasing their latent powers and enlisting them for the constructive task which are waiting to be done. Once this kind of climate and utlook are created, voluntary social service will rise high in the scale of priorities which are established in people's minds for the expenditure of their time and resources. Time which was supposed to be taken up in other pursuits, will now become free for acts of service. And not only time and talents, but also the material counterpart in cash and kind will be forthecoming in large measures. The poorest in our land have something to give by way of charity.

These resources are there but no good can come out of them unless they are harnessed. Such large volumes of water flow in our mighty rivers are carried down to the sea without yielding the benefirts, which they can bring to the people. To prevent this waste, we have to make dams, reserviors and canals. The tapping of vast reserves of the nation's time and energy necessarily entails high feats of social engineering. An organisation, capable of dealing with the big tasks which arises, has to be set up. The tasks are many and varied. Programmes to meet national and local needs have to be worked our. They should be carried and explained to the people in every village and town of India. Voluntary effort has to be stimulated and mobilized on a nation-wide basis. Volunteers should be enlisted, traned and assigned suitable tasks. Leadership should be developed at various level by proper selection and courcses training. Equipment, technical guidance and various services have to be provided. Efficient and honest use has to be ensured of the resources available, whatever the source from which they are derived. There should be adequate supervision. A proper system of accounts, audit, records, Reports and returns should be brought into force. For this a network of agencies has to grow up, which should work on a decentralized basis but in a co-ordinated manner. When the number of those engaged in different activities grows and the atrea of operation extends, machinery at various levels has to be set up for taking decisions, issuing directions and securing observance of rules of discipline. In this entire set up precautions must be introduced so that standards of performance do not go down and the organisation is not undermined by tendencies to intrigues, factionalism and exploitation of any kind. When the idea of forming an organisation on these lines took shape, it was found that the functions set out here were not being discharged to any appreciable extend and no institution existed, which was designed to or capable of assuming respensibilities of this order.

Bharat Sevak Samaj was thus brought into being. But it has been from the outset stressed that the formation of the Samaj should not lead to any duplication of efforts or overlapping of activities. All agencies working in this field should collaborate and by mutual help greatly enhance the range and effectiveness of the entire programme of constructive voluntary activity in the country. Samaj can become a focal centre for such collaboration.

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