Servants of the People Society

This grant was given in support ot the work of the Servants of the People Society which is to enlist and train National Missionaries for the service of the Motherland. It is their duty to work for the educational, cultural, social, economic and political advancement of the country under the supervision of the Society.

The Society initially started with the Tilak School of Politics in 1921, to train those who would work in the political field. The state of the country during 1921 engendered a war atmosphere in which normal priorities had to be waived. The initiates pledged to serve the Society and were bound only by their word and sense of honour and of duty. There were no legal documents of binding or any other paperwork involved except one page of brief print laying down the objectives of the Society. Lalaji’s conception from the very outset clearly differentiated the essential abiding elements – love of India, purity of public life, selfless service of the people – from the shifting non-essentials, from party labels, and the exigencies of the day.

In the words of Lalaji, “The freedom of the country and her progress depends on the purity of motive, the loyalty and the spirit of sacrifice of her political workers. But even if they possess all these virtues and yet be lacking in the necessary ability and knowledge, their endeavour cannot be successful. Knowledge, intelligence and ability are needed as much as a high character, loyalty and self-sacrifice.”

At a later stage the Tilak School of Politics merged with National College, Lahore. It was during this period that Lalaji donated his personal collection of books to start the Dwarka Das Library, named after a close colleague and friend in the common cause of freedom. The Dwarka Das Library was a part of the Society and had a vital role in the training. There was no classroom-cum library training pattern since the idea was not to turn out scholars or pedants: but properly equipped ‘missionaries for national work’. Dwarka Das Library thus at that time became a hub of activities for revolutionaries and nationalists like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Yashpal, Bhagwati Charan Vohra, Dhanwantri, and Durga Das Khanna. During this period the premises of the library were frequently raided and searched by the police and CID. This was the reason why Dwarka Das Library was said to be the only Library which fostered patriots, rebels and revolutionaries. The present day Dwarka Das Library established at the Chandigarh Branch of Servants of the People Society is a post-partition restoration of the library at Lahore.