Rashtra Seva Dal literally means an Organisation to serve the Nation. Rashtra Seva Dal (RSD) was founded more than 75 years ago, to be precise in June 1941 by the then young Socialist leaders like S.M. Joshi, N.G. Goray, Shirubhau Limaye and others. India was under the British imperialist rule and the Indian people were fighting for freedom. RSD was inseparable part of this struggle for freedom and we are proud of this inheritance.
The founding fathers and leaders of the RSD were very clear in their perception that mere achieving political freedom is not adequate.
Sane Guruji, a great figure in Maharashtra's literary and social field believed RSD is a powerful instrument of social revolution. Sane Guruji was the soul of the RSD. He said "Revolution does not mean just a change but a complete transformation of values. The most vital element in any revolutionary movement is the human element. Man must be at the centre of things and not on periphery." RSD strives for transformation by changing the human mind.
We hoist RSD Flag which has Red, Blue & White colours and a wheel, spade and pickaxe in the middle. We respectfully sing Jana Gana Mana and conclude our programmes with shouts of Bharat Mata Ki Jay! (Victory to Mother India!)
The RSD is a school without walls. It is not only a youth organisation in a limited sense. The RSD embraces children, youth, and senior citizens irrespective of their caste, religion, gender, class, race etc.
RSD works on ideas of Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism, Secularism and Scientific Attitude. RSD tries to inculcate Equality Rationalism and these values in the minds of children and youth. We try to build their character and develop moral fabric. We believe that with this primary training, after becoming citizens and voters of the Indian Republic they will be ideal citizens and responsible voters. They will be able to steer clear their way.
The RSD organises Camps at various places, during school & college vacations, for children and youth to give them intensive training. The training is aimed at the physical, moral, intellectual development of the trainees. They are trained to be aware of the nature of Indian society and its problems. The plural and multi religious, multi lingual character of the Indian society is described and its awareness makes trainees tolerant, positive in thinking and responsible in action. The RSD, in addition to regular Kendra's study circles and camps has number of programmes where the children & youths can participate and develop their personality. We have Kalapathaks i.e. cultural troups where `Sainiks' as well as our members, learn to sing, dance, stage dramas, enact street plays. We try to spread message through entertainment.
We have Shramadan Pathak in the memory. of Sane Guruji, where the members of the RSD join the villagers to construct an approach road, clean a pond or a well. We try to prepare young generation for voluntary labour work for social development. 'Labour is worship,' is our motto and 'service of the people is the service of God' is our creed.
We actively take part in Literacy movement, tree plantation programmes. Some of our units have undertaken ambitious projects of water conservation and village upliftment. The rural bias of the RSD activities is anybody to see to believe.
We firmly believe in gender equality. In all our activities girls and young women are actively involved and they participate freely without any inhibitions. RSD Central office has publication division. We publish various books and pamphlets to spread our message. We publish a monthly 'Dal Patrika' to report the activities of the RSD throughout the country.
The RSD believes and honestly practises internal democracy. All posts in the organisation are democratically elected for a limited tenure of two years. At the apex is the President (formerly known a Dal Pramukh) of the RSD is elected by the Seva Dal Mandal.
Seva Dal Mandal members are elected by various Rajya Mandals. The working committee members also are elected by the Seva Dal Mandal. For every State there is Working President and working Committee who are elected by Rajya Mandal members who in their turn are elected by District bodies. The District bodies are elected by bodies at Taluka and village level. The organisation functions through regular meetings at various levels. The membership of the RSD is open to all adults who believe in the values of the RSD. The institution of full time workers is unique in RSD. There are at present number of full time workers who have devoted their whole life for the organisation. Some of them are working for the last more than 40 years, some 20 years, and some are new to this role of missionary spirit.
The RSD workers who could not devote full time for the organisation, give few days in a month. Many of the well wishers give financial assistance. Academician of the RSD help organise study circles in their towns and visit camps to deliver lectures. Symphathisers of the RSD help the organisation in organising camps in their locality. The number of eminent personalities in social, cultural and political life of today's Maharashtra proudly admit that they were baptised in public life through the RSD. The RSD's contribution in creating excellence and leadership in various fields is freely admired by one and all.
Late Shri. S.M. Joshi used to say that the RSD is a training school for social workers. In this aspect the contribution of the RSD during the last seventy years is easy to see and experience. In Maharashtra almost everybody who has achieved eminence in his field today recalls with pride his days in RSD. Apna Bazar (Bombay) the biggest cooperative departmental store in Asia is run by those who learnt their primary lessons of social service in the RSD. There are number of Vice-chancellors, Professors, Scholars. Journalists, leaders in various fields, personalities in cine and stage circles, Doctors, etc. who acknowledge that but for the RSD they would not have been what they are today! RSD is proud of all these achievers and thousands who are not that much achievers in this sense.
Sane Guruji was very active social reformist. Immediately after 1947, when India became independent, he expected all Hindu temples would be open to all, including the untouchables. Vithoba temple at Pandharpur is the most important temple in Maharashtra. Guruji thought if Pandharpur becomes the starting point in this movement then all other temples would open their doors to all. He toured the whole of Maharashtra and educated the people to prepare their minds. RSD naturally whole heartedly followed Sane Guruji. For awaking Guruji had to go on fast unto death for this demand. He and the RSD won the battle fought peacefully between orthodoxy and the progressives. The Vithoba temple became open to all. This movement under the leadership of Sane Guruji gave an additional dimension to the movement and organisation of the RSD.
To convince the common people that untouchability is a sin and all men and women are equal, the RSD organised a Kalapathak, the RSD cultural squad, through the medium of songs, street plays and dreams carried the message of social equality in the nook and corner of Maharashtra. The Kalapathak activity is still vigorously followed.
RSD's Activities at Sane Guruji Smarak, Pune
⋆ Raosaheb Patwardhan Vidyalaya and Junior College.
⋆ Sane Guruji Prathamik Vidyalaya Bal Mandir
⋆ S. M. Joshi Training and Research Acadamy.
* Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Ambedkar Copetative Exam Study Center.
* Yadunath Thatte Study Center.
* Sadanand Varde Library.
⋆ Nilu Phule Kala Academy.
* Boys Hostel for College Students.
* Girls Hostel for College Students.
* Nath Pai Hall, Open Thiater, Conference Hall & Meetnig Hall.
Aple Ghar' A rehabilitation Center for Orphan Childrens at Naldurg, Dist. Osmanabad
⋆ Shakha (Daily, Weekly, Fortnightly)
* Study Circles.
`Kendra' is the backbone of the RSD. Children from neighbourhood gather together every evening for one hour regularly to play, sing national songs, listen to stories and discuss various issues under the guidance of a trained senior youth. The youths also attend the Kendras. In some cities the Kendras are conducted in early morning, late evening according to convenience of the neighbourhood.
The study circles are conducted every week for the youth & children by the teachers who are associated with the RSD. The RSD is not affiliated to any political party nor do we take part in electoral politics. Nevertheless RSD is not apolitical organisation. We believe in Democratic Socialism, Secular Nationalism and Scientific temper. We swear by equality, social justice, fraternity and rule of law. We respect the values enunciated in our Constitution of India.
Rashtra Seva Dal is a growing organisation. In November 2001 we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee function at Pune by organising a three day massive rally and various programmes. Similarly in U.P, Bihar we organised Samata Sammelan in November 2012. RSD always rushed for rehabilitation in all natural calamities like Morvy Flood Tsunami, Killari and Kutch earthquakes. Orissa Cyclone, Koshi Flood & so on. But we are not contented. RSD should grow faster, develop stronger and must reach every village to spread the message of brotherhood. The relevance of Seva Dal movement is acutely realised by all democratic secular people all over the country especially after the post Ayodhya riots. The very foundations of our republican constitution are terribly shaken. The values of the freedom struggle are challenged and molested brazenly.
"Catch them young" is the methodology of the RSD. We must teach the values of democracy, tolerance, brotherhood when the boys and girls are young. This is the need of the nation and mission of the Rashtra Seva Dal because we believe in Humanity. RSD is a Registered Organisation under Public Trust Act.
Like all registered bodies, the RSD is obliged to submit its accounts every year to the Charity Commissioner after they are duly audited by the Chartered Auditors.
We do not, as a matter of policy and practice, receive any grants from the state or Central Government nor from any foreign funding agencies. The RSD is cent per cent self reliant in the sense we receive financial support from our members and well wishers. RSD is really a voluntary organisation, a real NGO. Contributions to RSD fund are entitled for Income Tax exemptions.