3 5 3 S E C T I O N I N A T I O N A L SOCIAL SERVICE FOR Y O U T H ...
3 5 3
S E C T I O N I
N A T I O N A L SOCIAL SERVICE FOR Y O U T H
Chairman :
Smt. Hansaben M e h t a
Secretary :
Dr. A. D. Pabaney
Recorder :
Shri H. P. Sharma
Chairman's Address
M R . P R E S I D E N T , LADIES AND G E N T L E M E N ,
while some manual work should be
encouraged as a daily routine at some stage
Harnessing youth for National Service is during the course of education, a period
not a new idea. Various countries of the which may extend from six months to a year
world have utilised their youth for different should be spent in manual activity. This
purposes. In many countries today military could be organised, for instance, in relation to
service is compulsory for young men. During community projects, irrigation works, roads,
the last two world wars even countries where
improvement of slums, sanitation projects
there was no conscription for military service, etc. It is proposed that a beginning should
resorted to it and many conscientious be made with small groups (for instance
objectors had to be jailed for opposing it. students taking the Master's degree) for
In Hitler's Germany youth labour camps periods varying from three to six months."
were organised and German youth h a d to Here the objective as can be seen is different
help farmers with farm labour or help the from that in other countries. These labour
State in building roads etc. In India ever camps are meant primarily for students and
since independence the question of utilising not for youth in general to make students
youth for some form of national service has devote some time to disciplined national
been under consideration. T h e Planning service to enable them to develop as workers
Commission in fact allotted one crore of and citizens. In reporting on this programme
rupees for youth camps and labour service for the Planning Commission wrote in their
students. In the report of the first Five Year report on the Second Five Year Plan "By the
Plan, the Planning Commission wrote: " T h e end of 1955 about 900 camps had been orga-
Plan provides a sum of rupees one crore for nised and in these about 100,000 young
youth camps and labour service for students. persons participated. These camps took part
It is proposed that students between the ages in the construction of canals and roads, repair
of 18 and 22, except when they are exempted
of buildings and tanks, slum clearance, sanita-
on medical grounds should devote a period tion drives etc. T h e Bharat Yuvak Samaj
to disciplined national service. This would also organised 500 youth and students camps
help in their development as workers and in which about 40,000 youths took part."
citizens. In the present system of education T h e original idea, however, of having camps
manual work finds scarcely any place and from six months to a year never materialised
this has important consequences for national so far as the students camps were concerned.
development. It is, therefore, proposed that T h e students camps were at the most of three

C H A I R M A N ' S ADDRESS
3 5 4
to four weeks' duration, and held sometime national service compulsory for students is
during the long vacation period, with the more and more gaining ground, particularly
result that not much substantial work could now in the face of the rising tide of
be done within such a short time.
indiscipline among students. T h e problem of
T h e National Cadet Corps and the discipline among students is causing grave
Auxiliary Cadet Corps are also youth orga-
concern, and it is felt t h a t military discipline
nisations for students. So far as the N. C. C. is necessary to curb this tendency for
is concerned, the emphasis is on military indiscipline among students. T h e Prime
training with an idea of training students for Minister wrote to the Chief Ministers on
military service if a need arose. T h e A. C. C. 9th June 1958 voicing this feeling to the
on the other h a n d gives a semi-military train-
following effect. "I have been thinking that
ing, its purpose being more physical develop-
it would be very good for our people to have
ment of the students. These organisations have
a period of compulsory service for all young
also camps where students do manual work men and women between certain age limits,
as well as render some kind of social service. say 19 to 22. In most countries of the western
These camps are also of short duration.
world there is conscription for military
service. This is not considered to be an
A third project to utilize youth for national infringement of their liberties or freedom. We
service is the apprentice scheme. U n d e r this do not want any such thing for military pur-
scheme students give six weeks of their long poses but some kind of compulsory period of
vacation for doing work as a Gramsevak in training and service for every person appears
villages covered by the Community Develop-
to me to be very necessary. T h a t period
ment Blocks. These students have to undergo should be one year and for say six months
a fortnight's preliminary training before they in the year every one should live in camps
are sent to villages. This means that their under some kind of military discipline. This
actual period of work is short and by the time will give them discipline, physical health, and
they get themselves acquainted with the capacity for manual work and to work
villagers and their problems they return to together for productive schemes. The next
their studies.
six months might well depend on the
All these schemes are, however, voluntary. capacity and training of the individual.
There is no compulsion for students to Another advantage of this will be to bring
participate in any of these activities. It is or poor and make him do exactly the same
true that some inducements are given in the same type of work, part of which will be
shape of some special consideration at the manual." On the basis of this letter the
time of admission to Medical or Engineering Ministry of Education prepared a draft scheme
Colleges. Students who have p u t in such for National Service and placed it before the
service do get some extra marks when they Conference of the State Education Ministers
are interviewed for admissions. But even on the 8th and 9th August 1959. The scheme
then the bulk of students are not touched by was discussed and as a result a Committee was
any of these activities; and most of them are appointed under the Chairmanship of
indifferent. In the M a h a r a j a Sayajirao Dr. C. D. Deshmukh at the time the
University, Baroda, however, the A. C. C. is Chairman of the University Grants Com-
compulsory for students of the preparatory mission, to draw up a final scheme.
and of the First Year degree course. I am not
aware of any other university having done it.
T h e National Service Committee held three
T h e desirability of making some kind of meetings and have made their recommenda-

NATI NAL SOCIAL SERVICE FOR YOUTH
355
tions. They have defined their objective (1) military discipline; (2) social service
more widely than was originally intended. and manual labour; and (3) general educa-
They say: "The primary objective of tion. "The programme, the Committee
national service should be to provide more further say, "must be truly National in con-
lively awareness on the part of educated cept and in execution and should be so
youth of the purposes and processes of the devised that it develops the capacity to ex-
Nation's reconstruction efforts, especially in tend its scope to cover other categories of
the rural areas; and to inculcate in them a citizens, in appropriate age groups, in course
sense of discipline, a spirit of social service, of time. While it is urgent that we con-
dignity of manual labour and dedication to centrate our efforts on the educated youth
the cause of the country in order to make and the other youth of the country are no less
up the deficiencies of the present educational important for the larger interests of the
system such as lack of idealism and thus country." In order to carry out the scheme,
prepare the educated youth, the future i.e. "to plan, implement, and evaluate a pro-
leaders of the country for the enormous tasks gramme of national service" the Committee
of national reconstruction requiring arduous, recommend putting up of a National
sustained and responsible work and to Board. The Committee have not discussed
safeguard national security requiring a the financial aspect and say; "the national
reserve of trained personnel available to meet service is thus to be viewed as a nation-
any emergency." It should be noted that the building programme and any cost incurred on
Committee take into consideration students it would more than repay itself in the long
i.e. educated youth only. They also recom-
run."
mend that the scheme be made compulsory
The objective the Planning Commission
for all students at a certain stage which they had in mind was to harness youth for some
wish to be soon after the higher secondary kind of disciplined national service which
school and before entering the University or would take the form of a manual activity to
before entering life, i.e. it should be a "bridge be organised in relation to Community Pro-
between the terminal stage of secondary jects, irrigation works, roads etc. The objec-
education and entry into life or institutions tive the Prime Minister had in mind was, that
of higher education." The duration of this for one year or for six months in the year
training they recommend, should be for one "every one should live in camps under some
year, as "it is essential that national service kind of military discipline. This will give
should be of a sufficiently long duration to them discipline, physical health and capacity
inculcate in the young adolescent the values for manual work and to work together for
of discipline, social service, dignity of productive schemes." The objective as
manual labour and dedication to the defined by the Committee is wider and
country."
besides the above objectives include: "to
make up for deficiencies of the present edu-
The content of the training the Com-
cational system, such as lack of discipline,
mittee recommended "should be so devised as absence of self-reliance, want of maturity and
to effect an all-round improvement of the lack of idealism."
personality and character of the adolescent."
The Committee say: "there need be no dead
The Planning Commission had in mind
uniformity but the following ingredients the students taking the Master's degree for
should be dovetailed in an overall programme this training. The Prime Minister mentioned
for the Service." These ingredients are:— the age to be 19 to 22. While the Committee

356
C H A I R M A N ' S ADDRESS
recommend t h e age to be 16-17. T h e object the Universities except when exempted on
in fixing this lower age is in fact to prevent medical grounds? If N. C. C. is m a d e com-
students from entering the University at pulsory it may become more costly as
young age. T h e reasons the Committee give uniforms would have to be supplied to all
a r e : (1) students entering the University are the cadets. This would not be necessary in
often very young and not m a t u r e ; and case of the A. C. C. cadets as the white shirts
(2) today there is a m a d rush to Universities. and white shirts they wear, are provided by
Every student who passes the S. S. C. themselves. However, cost as has been
examination thinks he has a right to go in mentioned by the Committee should not be
for University education. T h e Committee the main consideration. Either of this
think that through this training in youth alternative, however, will not meet the Com-
camps it will be possible to weed out students mittee's two requirements, viz. to prevent
and only those, who should, will be admitted students from entering the Universities at an
to University education.
early age; and weeding out students who are
not suited for higher or University education.
These additional grounds in favour of the It can be argued that these two requirements
scheme as well as of fixing the stage at which should not be mixed up with the original
the scheme is to be introduced need careful objectives as defined by the Planning Com-
consideration. Several points for considera-
mission or the Prime Minister. If the
tion, in fact rise, and I would like the section recommendation of the Secondary Education
to consider the many points that arise out of
Commission is implemented and the duration
these recommendations. Firstly, if we of secondary education is extended by one
introduce the scheme for the students of the year total schooling period to be of twelve
age group of 16-17 it will mean provision years, then students below 17-18 would not
every year for students approximately be able to go to Universities. If more voca-
numbering three lakhs or may be more. It tional schools are opened so as to divert
is to be understood that every year there students from seeking admission to
will be some increase. This large number Universities, it would be possible to control
will have to be broken up into smaller the rush of students to Universities.
manageable groups and the question will be
what will be the strength of each group.
I hope the section will consider the pro-
Question of housing them will come up. On blem in all its entirety and come to conclu-
the other hand if the scheme is introduced sion keeping in mind the objective which is
for students who have taken their first degree to train the youth for Disciplined National
i.e. the age group of 19 to 22, the number Service so as to help him to develop as a
to be provided for will be comparatively worker and a citizen. That the scheme has
small; it may not exceed one lakh. Again in merit must be fully acknowledged. For apart
the case of students of the age of 16-17, the from the worthy objective it has before it,
question will arise as to the nature of the by bringing students of different castes, creeds
social service they will be required to do. and regions to live together, under one roof
Will not the older and more m a t u r e students so to speak, it will help to promote the
be of greater service? Lastly, is there any national integration of the country which is
alternate plan which would give the a matter of utmost importance today, I hope
same results and yet be more practicable? For that any scheme that may be evolved will be
instance, is it possible to make the N.C.C. practicable and can be implemented without
or A. C. C. compulsory for every student in any great drain on the purse of the country.

N A T I O N A L S O C I A L S E R V I C E — I T S I M P A C T O N T H E E D U C A T I O N
O F S T U D E N T S
PRINCIPAL L. N. W E L I N G K A R , B.SC. ( E C O N . ) LONDON
T h e history of the Freedom Movement of the student-world of today. And if we are
our country is full of heroic deeds of count-
really serious about building up a sound
less young men and women who were ready democracy for the future, we must do every-
to sacrifice everything in the pursuit of an thing possible to encourage a habit of free
ideal. T h e immediate political objective was discussion among the youth.
to rid the Motherland of the foreign yoke.
Students in India have always played an
But another implicit aim was to build up a important part in national activities. In pre-
strong united nation, the integral parts of Independence days, they made no mean
which could stand in coherent relationship contribution to the struggle for freedom.
with each other. It was also felt that in the But now the nature of the task is different.
new-born nation, no one should suffer from The ethos has changed. New vistas have
disabilities born out of differences in religion opened up before us. In the order of
or caste.
priorities, economic progress comes first, the
T h e preliminary hurdle of a foreign eradication of social evils, second. In a sense,
bureaucracy, out of sympathy with the aspira-
this is logical. Perhaps many of the social
tions of the people, has been overcome. But evils that plague our country today are the
the bigger task of ushering in a Welfare outcome of our economic backwardness. T h e
State still remains to be accomplished. It evils arising out of caste-mindedness and
calls for drive and sustained effort as great religious differences, for instance, will be
as that required for attaining Independence. swept away once the poverty among the
T h e task is as difficult to achieve as t h a t of masses becomes a thing of the past. Further-
winning freedom.
more it should be remembered t h a t the
modern age is the age of speed. W h a t used
T h e supreme need of the hour is to see that
to take centuries to achieve in the past, now
the tremendous potential energies of youth takes only decades. For instance, no one
are harnessed to the national task and at the could have dreamt in 1910 that the U.S.A.
same time the precious heritage of youth to and the U.S.S.R. will become the two
question the wisdom of the present policies richest and the most powerful countries of the
is preserved. In a sense, the second objective, world today. And what took them 50 years
namely, the capacity for intelligent and to achieve may take us a much shorter period
informed criticism of policies is of even to accomplish. All this will, of course, depend
greater importance than the utilisation of the upon the preservation of peace between
physical energies of youth for social service. nations.
It is only during his student days that a m a n
can form the habit of conscientious criticism.
No country in the world has ever achieved
T h e leaders of tomorrow will be drawn from anything without hard work and without a

PRINCIPAL L. N. W E L I N G K A R , B.SC. ( E C O N . ) LONDON
3 5 8
determined effort to improve the lot of its are at the University. Some grown-up
people. T h e responsibility of bringing about students in the higher standards in Secondary
progress and of creating an atmospheric Schools can also be encouraged to engage in
change, in a sense, lies on the younger such activities.
generation and more particularly on the
T h e Ministry of Education of the Union
students.
Government has put into operation a scheme
T h e students of the past generation h a d a under which, during vacations, students can
relatively easy task. T h e prevailing go in batches to the villages, there set up
atmosphere in the days before Independence Labour and Social Service Camps lasting for
was one of blaming the foreign power for all two to three weeks, and do constructive work.
our ills. If our industrial progress was slow, Under this scheme, students are accompanied
it was because the foreign rulers stood in the by their teachers. T h e nature of the work
way; if our currency arrangements were differs, of course, from Camp to Camp. Some
wrong, we blamed the British Government, may build a linking road, others may dig and
and so on. T h e foreigners were a convenient construct a well, still others may assist in
peg on which to h a n g all our troubles— de-silting a village tank or in building a
economic, social and political. This way of school building, a recreation centre or a
looking at things, encouraged by "pseudo small village hospital.
nationalist" propaganda, created a habit of
mental and intellectual lethargy among the
So far as women students are con-
students—sometimes also the teachers. But cerned, they can mix with the village-women
even in those days it was obvious to some that
and teach them elementary hygiene or
to explain everything, whether it is a impart elementary lessons in nursing or
currency disorder or industrial backwardness child-care. In order to make the lives of the
or communal discord, by a single cause was, village children a little more cheerful, they
in any case, illogical. However, this way can organise simple games. U n d e r favourable
of reasoning was lost sight of in the circumstances and with the assistance of the
atmosphere of a "nationalist" movement authorities, they may encourage the building
whose main aim was to discredit the foreign of an open-air theatre or a children's theatre.
rules on all fronts. In so far as it created T h e expenses of the camps are borne by the
a desire to get rid of foreign rule quickly, it Union Government. '
was a good thing. But in so far as it
While the Union Government introduced
encouraged a habit of lethargy, both this scheme several years ago, it is
intellectual and physical, it was an evil.
unfortunate that the number of Camps held
T h e youth of today has to realise that for under this scheme is very small compared to
all the evils which confront us today, we have the number of students and teachers and the
to blame ourselves. We alone are responsible vast number of villages there are in our
for curing them. Success will elude the youth
country. It would be interesting to investigate
unless they approach national and social why this idea has not caught on and w h a t
service with a full sense of responsibility and should be done to encourage this type of
with an idealism in which readiness to student activity.
sacrifice present pleasures should pay a
Not so very long ago, when we were still
predominant role.
fighting for our freedom, the message of the
There are a number of activities which the struggle was carried to the villages also. An
students can engage themselves in while they organisation was built up to prepare the

NATIONAL SOCIAL S E R V I C E — I T S I M P A C T ON T H E EDUCATION OF S T U D E N T S
3 5 9
villagers for the struggle for Independence. is being made about our plans by posters in
In some districts, such as Bardoli, villagers towns and villages, at the railway stations
offered stiff resistance to the administration. and by the ubiquitous radio. Yet, one cannot
In this task students are known to have played help thinking t h a t the nation is very far from
a prominent part. T h e students of today are being plan-conscious. Students should be
in no way different from the students of properly trained by a sound orientation course
yesterday. They are capable of being inspired to make effective propaganda for our Plans
by an ideal as their predecessors were. But and then sent out to the villages to propagate
unfortunately the call for economic recon-
the idea. All this should be done according
struction, particularly in our long-neglected to a well thought-out plan.
villages, has not grown into a Movement, as
T h e suggestions made above are broadly
the Independence Movement had been some the following.—
20 or 30 years ago.
(1) Women students should be encouraged
Manual labour which the students may
to go for camps in villages and do
do in road-building etc., should be encouraged
specific type of social work suited to
in order to teach them lessons of dignity of
them.
labour. There are, however, two other
(2) T h e men students should organise
activities which are equally important and in
labour and social service camps in
a sense more appropriate to the student-world.
villages and take part in the work of
T h e first of these is the collection of
village reconstruction.
statistics, and the second is the spreading of
plan-consciousness. T h e collection of reliable
(3) They should collect accurate statistics
statistical data is the sine qua non of any
during the course of these camps and
intelligent planning. In advanced countries,
propagate the idea of planning.
like the U.S.A., statistics are collected on all
(4) All these camps should be held in the
sorts of subjects. In India today if planning
vacations and the teachers should
is to be realistic and related to the present
accompany the students and get the
socio-economic conditions of the country,
work done in a disciplined manner
reliable and detailed statistics are required.
batch by batch.
We need to know much more about our
(5) A short orientation course both for
agricultural production, about the crops in
the students and the teachers should
the different States, the causes of crop failure,
precede the camps.
the reaction of the villagers to propaganda
relating to co-operative farming, about the
W h a t is likely to be the impact of all these
improved methods of cultivation, rural on the people and on the education of the
indebtedness, the average size of the family, students?
the effect of industrialisation on the joint
(1) Firstly, the women students may be
family system, the effect of the laws relating expected to exert an influence on the village
to zamindari and land tenure, the reaction of
women in a manner peculiar to themselves.
the villagers to radio broadcasts, about the The influence of a woman on the home and
progress of literacy, of the effect of the drive on the upbringing of the children, the citizens
for primary education and a host of other of tomorrow, is greater than the influence of
topics.
the male members of the family. There is
Equally important is the task of spreading a great advantage in exploiting this influence
plan-consciousness. Considerable propaganda for the future benefit of the nation. T h e

PRINCIPAL L. N. W E L I N G K A R , B.SC. ( E C O N . ) LONDON
3 6 0
women students will also benefit because the this lesson, they may find it easier to develop
social barriers that now exist between the habits of international understanding. T h e
richer and the middle classes of the cities greatest need of the hour is to train up our
where the universities are situated and the young men and women as future citizens of
village women will be broken down at least world society.
to some extent. M u c h will depend, of course,
(5) Moreover, all campers will have an
upon the approach of the students to the opportunity of seeing with their own eyes,
village women. They should appreciate that the utter misery in which the villager has to
the camps are held for the benefit of both live day after day, leading his precarious
the sides. T h e students have as m u c h to existence on the margin of subsistence or
learn by their contacts with the villagers as even of starvation. Neglected for long
they have to teach them something. T h e number of years, their whole way of life, the
orientation course should take careful note food they eat, the huts they live in, the clothes
of this aim.
they wear tell their own tale more eloquently
(2) Secondly, this idea of give and take than any text-book on Indian Economic
should be firmly impressed on the minds of Problems or any speech of a propagandist
the young men. T h e Labour and Social possibly can.
Service Gamps should be held in a spirit of
(6) T h e collection of reliable statistical
humility. Past experience has shown that the data about the economic and social life of
students too often look upon the camps the villages is at once the most important and
either as prolonged picnics or as opportunities the most appropriate type of work which the
to make an exhibition of their superior students can do. One cannot, however,
knowledge. They behave in a manner which emphasise too strongly the need for adequate
make them thoroughly unpopular with the training before batches of students are
villagers. This is largely because the students launched on such projects. Even today
are not properly briefed before they go to statistics are being collected by the administra-
camps. Sometimes it is the result of tive machinery of the State and the Union
reluctance on the part of the teachers to Governments. If the students are to collect
accompany their students in sufficient factual information that information must
numbers or of a failure to maintain proper be very accurate. T h e students may collect
discipline.
figures relating to the same things that the
Government is collecting e.g. yields of food
(3) Properly organised, camp life should crops etc. If the estimates made by the
be a good education to the students outside students agree with those of the government
the walls of the University. In a camp, all (subject to a small margin of error), we can
students, whatever their social status, have to be doubly sure that the government statistics
live a Community life. They eat the same are accurate. If there is a wide divergence
food, put on the same uniform, do the same between the two sets of figures, that would
type of work, and are subject to the same be an argument for rechecking the official
discipline.
statistics. And this matter should not become
(4) T h e essence of education is tolerance. a question of prestige or of propaganda by
Camps comprising students of different interested political parties. T h e nation's well-
religions and castes should be looked upon as being is of paramount importance. For any
schools in which practical lessons of tolerance planning body, reliable data is of the utmost
are learnt by the students. Once they learn value and economic progress should be the

NATIONAL SOCIAL S E R V I C E — I T S I M P A C T ON T H E EDUCATION OF S T U D E N T S
3 6 1
first consideration even if it means some loss the context of democratic planning to which
of prestige for a political party, or, the country is wedded, the importance of the
alternatively, for the University which labour of a body of disinterested workers
sponsors a given project for factual study. recruited from the Universities will be easily
T h e gain to the students from such a study appreciated.
is obvious for their training will be put to a
To conclude, voluntary service in the cause
practical test.
of the Nation and of the Society in which
the students live has a beneficial effect on the
(7) Similarly, groups of students working students. Such service should be rendered
under the guidance of their teachers should through properly organised camps and only
be trained in the art of propagating the ideas after the students have been properly trained
and ideals of planning. Students constitute a to do the work. They should be invariably
body of workers who have no political or accompanied by their teachers who, in turn,
private axe to grind. For this reason alone would be made to undergo properly organised
they should be able to carry conviction better orientation courses. In this way students will
than the workers of a political party.
develop qualities of leadership which will be
of great value to the future of the country.
Also they will gain first-hand knowledge In order to achieve success, organised social
about the mental resistance of the people in service should grow into a Movement based
accepting the plans and their reluctance to on certain ideals of national uplift a n d
cooperate in the working of the plans. In economic progress.

N A T I O N A L S O C I A L S E R V I C E ; S H O U L D I T B E C O M P U L S O R Y O R
V O L U N T A R Y ?
S M T . LILAVATI M U N S H I
T h e above title was suggested to me by the temptations. Poverty is another factor for
Hon. General Secretary of the Indian Con-
such disintegration. In such unfortunate
ference of Social work. To my mind the homes, children are neglected. They may
title tends to be a contradiction in terms. then develop bad habits or may even run
First, it suggests national social service and away from home. Social service is necessary
secondly, asks whether it should be com-
to set right such maladjustments, and kind
pulsory or voluntary. Before proceeding and sympathetic souls are needed to apply
further we should be clear as to what is balm to the wounds of the suffering people.
meant by social service. O n e can define it
Then social service is needed to tend the
as service rendered to individual or to mem-
sick, and hospitals and nursing homes are
bers of the society, partly or wholly, whether needed for that purpose. They may be
they be rich or poor, through institutions or governmental or private, but this service is'
by individuals.
generally given to those who seek it and not
yet extended to all who need it.
It could be said that family is a kind of an
institution in which individuals belonging to
To run educational institutions, is a type
the family are helped and looked after by of social service, partly made compulsory by
one another. T h e father works and earns for the law at the primary stage in some parts
the family, the mother brings up the family. of the country and given to those who
Children are fed and educated. T h e sick are actually seek it at a higher stage. Educational
looked after and the young in their turn institutions are run by both, e.g., by Govern-
when grow up support the parents in their ment as well as by the public and private
old age. A bond of love through mutual enterprises.
service and common interest is thus created,
and the common home shelters them all.
There are other types of social services
This social service, in reality, in a sense which are generally given by a progressive
begins at home.
government like instituting of old-age
pension, giving health services, establishing
T h e outside social service is generally homes for the old people, as well as for the
required where the home does not fulfil all destitutes, delinquents and beggars. But all
its functions. If the husband and wife are these services are not organised as com-
emotionally not integrated, or are fallen prey pulsory service.
to bad habits, or unable to support the
family, the home disintegrates. T h e husband
T h e word compulsory service is used in the
may take to drinking or go after other women;
following sense: compulsory made by the
the wife may be temperamentally quarrel-
law and enforced and financed by Govern-
some or dishonest and may fall a victim to ment, The word voluntary social service can

NATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE; S H O U L D IT BE C O M P U L S O R Y OR V O L U N T A R Y ?
3 6 3
be used in connection with the efforts made I understand, students were asked to help the
by the individuals, either singly or in groups farmers during vacation.
and nourished mainly by public generosity.
For promoting national health I would not
Besides, the above categories, one can mind if people between fifteen and fifty are
envisage many other types of compulsory asked to undergo physical drill compulsorily,
social services which could be instituted and at least twice a week. But care should be
enforced by the Government for the national taken that compulsion should be employed
good. For example, College students may be only for the national good and not for
required to give their services in teaching for personal or party gains.
a limited period, say, for a period of a year
or two. Medical students could be employed
There are limits beyond which compulsion
to work in villages for a limited period should not go. Compulsion could be used to
before they are given a degree. T h e services tide over grave national emergencies or
of the students of Engineering Colleges needs, but it should not interfere with the
should be utilised for road-building. In a private and personal lives of the people. For
country like ours where the vast majority of instance, compulsion should not be adopted
our population is yet to be made literate in to ask people to choose a particular profession;
the shortest possible time and vast areas are it should not be adopted to interfere with
to be covered by medical relief and com-
the right of free association with a particular
munication, there is nothing wrong in group or person. It should not be adopted
making these services compulsory for the to make the people to write, read or hear
students to a limited period. It is not only only what the authorities want them to write,
the nation as a whole which will be benefited, read, or hear and so on.
but the participants themselves will also be
But then people may say t h a t this is not
greatly benefited. This kind of social service within the realm of social service. By social
will make them acquainted with the people service what is meant is running institutions
and the practical problems to be faced in or doing work for the good of the people and
life as well as the different areas of the helping them in various ways. For instance,
country and this knowledge will greatly women's homes, homes for the orphans,
benefit them in their future careers.
institutions for the handicapped, schools and
colleges could be run by the people, indivi-
At the time of national emergencies, dually or collectively to help some section
military training and the defence service also of the society. Individuals should be
could be made compulsory. In almost all encouraged to have this kind of social
free countries it is so and I hear that in Israel service performed. There is an urge in every
even women have to participate in the human being to do something good, some-
defence of the country. Personally I would thing creative, something which could help
not mind suggesting that all citizens should be the brethren. Such initiative and urge to do
required to devote two hours a week to some social service should be fostered properly.
prescribed social service like "each one teach
one", giving help in the hospitals or planting
But care should be taken t h a t the social
trees. I am told that in J a p a n even the services do not degenerate into a hunting
school children are required to help in plant-
ground for getting money from the public
ing trees during their school vacations. After or the government, or even become a means
the war in some countries like Germany, to spread one's influence. In such cases, the

3 6 4
S M T . LlLAVATI MUNSHI
voluntary social service would no longer large number of people initiative, drive and
remain social service, but may become some-
scope for the human urge to do good to
thing else.
others. A democratic government which
believes in freedom should never attempt to
The Government-run institutions are also do everything by itself. It is better to
not all free from blame. Some of the institu-
encourage voluntary services rather than
tions getting full government grant or aided monopolise every sphere, and thus dry up
by it have become money-spending devices. the innate springs of benevolent instinct of a
Only a happy blend of compulsory and large number of people.
voluntary services will enable our country to
progress. I would even say that though many
It has been truly said that there is no
of the voluntary services may not come up worship purer or more pleasing to God than
to the standard, doing such services gives a selfless service to fellow-beings.

N A T I O N A L S O C I A L S E R V I C E F O R Y O U T H A N D R O L E O F
V O L U N T A R Y O R G A N I S A T I O N S
E X - M A J O R T . RAMACHANDRA
(Secretary, Youth & Work Camp Group, Central Bharat Sevak Samaj, New Delhi)
T h e history of the world is replete with
recreation, social education, child welfare and
youth organization. Youth could also render
instances of the deeds of heroism and bravery
valuable help to institutes organised to render
of youths of all nations, not only in the field
different types of social service to the needy,
handicapped and maladjusted members of
of sport and adventure but in the much more
society.
important field of fighting their country's
Let us examine in the context of the above
freedom. Indian youths have been no excep-
statement the meaning and importance of a
tion to this noble role. Thousands of them National Service Scheme for youths in India.
boycotted their studies, faced lathi charge, In all Western countries and in many of the
courted arrest and filled the jails, under the Eastern areas, all young men, and in some
leadership of M a h a t m a Gandhi. Several cases young women as well, between specified
others took part in one or more of the con-
age groups, are subject to compulsory
structive programmes, leading the nation, Military training and this is considered a
from abject ignorance and poverty to self-
part of their National Service. In India,
realization and strength. Today the country with our avowed policy of peace, we have not
is marching towards full development and launched on any such compulsory scheme.
establishment of a democratic welfare Instead, we are expanding the scope and
state and a socialistic pattern of life. T h e coverage of N.C.C. and A.C.C. in which
post-independence period in India is one of several thousands of students both boys and
intense planning and reconstruction and in girls in schools and colleges, are enthusi-
this, the youths have as much, if not a astically joining. So also is the newly sponsor-
greater role to play.
ed scheme of National Discipline for Physical
In the Report of the First Five-Year Plan, Fitness and vigour, though here again it is
the Planning Commission have stated this not compulsory. The Boy Scouts and Girl
problem very well in the following words:
Guides movement is an old institution which
Youth have made a vital contribution to the has helped to mould the character of the
struggle for freedom, and they must be given
the opportunity to make their contribution to young and provide them with incentives to
constructive activities and programmes of self-culture and happy and healthy group
economic development and social welfare
living. There are besides, the Seva Dals,
Youth participation in constructive activities
should be based on personal inclination and Y.M. & Y.W.C.A.s, the R.S.S. and other
interest, and they should be encouraged to local groups which have their special attrac-
become members of organizations that carry out
specific programmes. It is also possible for tion. All these organisations and activities
educational institutes to organize "Service have no doubt provided outlets for the
Clubs" as part of their extra-curricular
activities. The enthusiastic participation of development of youth personality, but very
youth is required in programmes and activities
for promoting physical fitness and community little has been done by way of any systematic

3 6 6
E X - M A J O R T . RAMACHANDRA
programme on a national scale for youths to
But all these have hardly touched the
render social service to the community. Nor fringe of the problem. In a country with
has Government yet prepared any scheme to such a vast population, majority of whom
mobilise the energies of the millions of its are living sub-standard lives in rural areas and
young citizens into a scheme of National city slums, there is a great deal to be done
Social Service.
by way of social services. But fortunately,
A very partial attempt in this direction was we have unlimited untapped resources of
made during the First Plan period which has h u m a n material in our youths, who can and
been continued during the Second Plan and should be organised for this mighty task of
the Third. This is the programme of improving the country's sanitation, educating
voluntary work camps for Labour and Social the adults, men and women, organising clubs
Service by students in schools and colleges as for youths and play centres for children, to
Samaj have been foremost in utilizing to the take only a few examples. They can render
maximum the provisions under this head. equally valuable service in afforestation and
T h e Universities and Scouts also undertake soil conservation programmes, flood relief
a few camps. During the two Plan periods, operations and in the construction of minor
a total of Rs. Two Crores have been spent in irrigation works to supply water to fields and
holding about 7000 camps in which cattle and also men. There thus a vast field
one million boys and girls have taken part for for the useful utilization of youth's spare time
varying periods of two to three weeks. These if properly organised with tools, resources and
camps provided for the first time, an technical guidance. Not only the country's
opportunity for National Service in rural pressing needs will be met but the execution
areas for construction of roads, digging of works will be a training ground for the
channels, pits for manure and tree planting, young people to acquire skills and learn team-
building simple schools; play grounds and spirit and group living. No other single
community centres, etc. T h e Community factor can help to produce that healthy emo-
Development and NES Blocks welcomed tional integration and sense of national unity
these camps as they helped to stimulate local than this participation in purposeful national
people's participation in building up their service.
felt needs. Some camps have also been held
T h e next question to be answered is how
in urban slums.
their National Service is to be organised and
This programme is gradually becoming whether it should be organised and whether
decentralized to the districts and blocks, it should be part-time or wholetime and com-
depending more and more on State and local pulsory or voluntary. Also, whether it can
assistance. These camps have in a sense pro-
be graded according to age groups and
ved the faith of the planners in the country's capacities. Any programme to be executed
youth and their readiness to respond to the on a National scale should have the approval
call for National Service and undertake of Government; both at the centre and in
reconstruction projects. O u r country's record the States, and also in the decentralised
in this direction, both in numbers, quality, democratic levels of Zilla Parishad,
out-turn of work and above all, its voluntary Municipalities, Panchayat Samitis and
character has earned a creditable place in the Panchayats. These ten years of planning
International Work C a m p movement.
have spread a net work of C D / N E S Blocks,
Follow-up student social service groups are which are the agencies through which
being formed in schools and colleges.
people's welfare programmes are best

NATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE FOR Y O U T H AND R O L E OF V O L U N T A R Y ORGANISATIONS 3 6 7
executed. There are several large-scale con-
difficult to gradually make the programme,
struction works like dams, tanks, channels, as co-curricular and make it applicable to all
roads, etc., in all of which groups of youths schools, colleges and community centres.
can well be employed. T h e programme need
not be limited to manual work alone. In the
As regards making the scheme compulsory
field of Social Education to educate adult or voluntary, social work approach has
men and women and unlettered rural always been on voluntary basis and
youths there is an open welcome arena where democratically planned and executed. But,
the vibrant energies and talents of young men
we can depend on the patriotic instincts of
and women can best be mobilised to create our youths to volunteer in sufficiently large
a new life movement amongst the masses for numbers, if only they can be inspired with
better living and self-help and cooperative the call to serve the nation and to build the
action. In this connection, the following free India of tomorrow. They no doubt, need
observation, by Lord Beveridge in his book the necessary resources and organization. In
on 'Voluntary Action' is worth noting: —
the words of our Prime Minister:—
We have to look to our people, go to them, talk
"Youth clubs and other organisations should be
and discuss with them and work with them.
presented to young people not as a means of
We must function as comrades in a common
enjoyment which the elders think better for them
task, as partners in a joint undertaking. We may
than the cinema, the dance hall or the street
have to teach them something but we have much
corner, not as a means of enjoyment at all,
to learn from them also. So, we should go to
so much as a means of learning to be useful in
them not with pride of knowledge but in
the world. And one need not be old to be
humility of spirit and with the intense desire to
useful The ultimate object of the youth
bring about, with our common labour, that
club movement is preparation of young people
joint effort which can shake and break up a
for their duties as citizens which means under-
mountain of inertia.
standing of public problems at home and also
understanding of international problems".
W h a t then is the role of voluntary agencies
What then should be the appropriate in this great endeavour? It is impossible for
agency to undertake the programme of the Governments in India, with their pro-
National Service? Naturally our thoughts gramme of economic development to under-
turn to schools and colleges which are today take a total programme of social welfare
the centres of learning and training of the through Government sponsored and paid
young and which can well be turned as agencies or departments. They may do so in
centres to train youths for community service. some measure, and in some directions. It is
Theoretically speaking they can be, but in only voluntary self-effort of youths and
terms of practical possibility, it is doubtful teachers and the community that can bring
if this could be realised. T h e school has about tangible results. Besides, what is done
so far remained for too much apart from the by the State will always be construed as a
community, except to fulfil the specific need 'compelled' or 'doled' out programme and not
of imparting education to the young and that people's own. There is no doubt that
too on traditional lines. Teachers have always voluntary agencies have proved their
looked upon their role in this very limited capacity to render effective social work and
sense. So, till both teachers and school undertake projects in new and unexplored
managements are attuned to subserve this fields. T h e response to the impetus and pro-
great National need, we have to begin in a gramme of the Central Social Welfare Board
limited way through selected institutional is a pointer in the right direction. Gandhiji's
media. With experience thus gained and call for constructive work is still ringing in
popular support assured, it will not be people's ears and no cause, big or small has

3 6 8
E X - M A J O R T . RAMACHANDRA
ever gone unresponded. Persons with zeal to
4. Both in rural areas and urban slums,
serve and experience in administration are
social education can present a real
also available in many parts of the country.
adventure and a challenge to Youth.
There is thus the large field for work, the
5. Social Education should not only be
large mass of youths for service and the large
considered in terms of the removal of
number of organisers and helpers. What is
illiteracy but should be used to speed
needed is a coordinated effort at the level of
up economic development, increase
each town and each Mohalla or Ward and
national solidarity and promote social
of course each village and Block, to make the
justice thus extending its sphere of
points of operation effective. Voluntary
influence to all strata of Society.
organisations already existing and new ones if
6. T h e senior boys and girls should be
need be should meet and plan the pro-
encouraged to help the junior boys and
gramme and lay down patterns for organisa-
girls in their hobbies, clubs, play-centres,
tion, execution and evaluation.
etc. and also assist the delinquents, if
This question of youth's participation in
possible.
nation-building activities has been debated
7. Participation in actual projects is the
and discussed in recent years and in many
best training for youth and if per chance
international meetings, sponsored specially
he is blessed with the 'badge of blistered
by U N E S C O . A very thought-provoking
hand' the villagers will more readily
article in the U N E S C O journal contains the
recognise the services rendered to them
following valuable postulates and pro-
and will unhesitatingly come forward.
grammes, which are timely and applicable to
8. Youth should be encouraged to cultivate
A S I O - A F R I C A N conditions: —
friendly approach by audio-visual
T R A I N I N G O F S T U D E N T S A N D
methods, playing dramas, singing songs,
Y O U T H S F O R S O C I A L E D U C A T I O N
etc. This will also provide fun for both
AND W E L F A R E W O R K .
the actors and the audience.
1. Youth possesses Idealism, Enthusiasm
9. Youth leader should be able to bring
and Energy, which should be fully
about team-spirit and understanding
utilised in Work Camps.
within the group and between its
members and the community.
2. Through participation in community
A programme of this nature has to be
service, youth can become aware of his launched with a great tempo and carried
social responsibilities, which will create through efficiently, so that results can be
in him a desire and longing to have a watched and assessed, pitfalls set right and
constructive attitude towards the day-
achievements pursued with a dynamic
to-day problems of the villagers and characteristic of youth. One thing should
will also simultaneously help him in the never be foregotten that the psychology of
formation of character.
youths is an essential factor to be recognised,
3. Some of the methods adopted in the and in this age of self-consciousness and
Western countries are ineffective for even assertion of rights, full scope should be
Eastern situations, because of the basic provided by the concerned organisations
differences that exist in the needs of the whether they consist of youths themselves or
people, their economic standards and of elders constituting themselves as youth-
cultural outlook.
serving agencies, that in all activities and

NATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE FOR Y O U T H AND R O L E OF V O L U N T A R Y ORGANISATIONS 3 6 9
programme, the core of importance and and attitudes which will be the objectives to
responsibilities for planning, execution, and be attained. Evolving and developing leader-
direction, including the full freedom to ship capacity will be an indispensable
commit mistakes, should be given to the component of such a programme. Hence, it
young people and their chosen representatives. is their voluntary agencies are ideally suited
'Trust begets trust' should be the approach and
to undertake this new field of creative and
this alone will evoke response and inspire purposeful activity for and by youths all over
action and responsibility. Thus, it is not only the country, thus providing a channel for
activities but the creation of certain concepts learning, self-development and self-expression.
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S
(1) T h e concept of National Social Service
these objectives, may be enabled to take
Scheme for Youth should in principle
up some pilot projects, to begin with.
be accepted. T h e details of the
(9) T h e programme should cover (1)
Scheme however would need to be
general education, and (2) Social
worked out further.
Service and manual labour. T h e
programmes of social service should
(2) T h e objectives of the Scheme should
be developed according to the needs
be essentially to develop in the youth
and requirements of the community
a sense of citizenship, and capacity for
itself, so that it would benefit the
manual work towards purposeful
youth as well as the community. T h e
activity (thereby inculcating team
education programme should also
spirit and dignity of l a b o u r ) .
include such technical training as may
(3) T h a t the Scheme should be for the
help the youth in their future
youth in general and not only for the
vocations.
students.
(10) (a) At the Central level a National
(4) T h e duration of the training should be
Board should be constituted consisting
from nine months to a year.
of representatives of voluntary orga-
(5) T h a t youth between the ages of 16
nisations, Youth organisations, Univer-
and 19 should be covered under the
sity Representatives, educationists and
Scheme.
a few representatives of Government.
(6) Since it may not be possible to
At the state level a similar body should
implement the Scheme all at once, it
be constituted.
should be taken up in a phased
(b) Locally, at the Block or Panchayat
manner.
Samiti level, a committee should be
(7) Side by side, the Educational System
constituted by the panchayat samiti or
as a whole should be improved to
by appropriate bodies where these do
make it more life oriented so as to
not exist so far consisting of village
help fulfil the objectives mentioned.
leaders, educators and interested
(8) As the problem is urgent, immediately
voluntary organizations and respresen-
voluntary youth organisations, such as
tatives of youth, to plan and execute
Bharat Scouts & Guides, Bharat Sevak
the programme according to the broad
Samaj etc., should be helped with their
policies as laid down by the National
programme, which aim at fulfilling
Board,