Congress Seva Dal: A forgotten frontal organisation

New Update
Jawaharlal Nehru with Seva Dal volunteers in Allahabad

Jawaharlal Nehru with Seva Dal volunteers in Allahabad (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

New Delhi: The Seva Dal, a grassroots organisation of the Congress, completed its 100 years last month without any fanfare.


The organisation was founded on December 28, 1923, by Dr NS Hardikar at a time when many freedom fighters were arrested by Britishers following the flag satyagraha at Nagpur.

It was then decided to organise a group of volunteers to combat British rule.

At the Kakinada session of the grand old party, the idea was finalised. The Congress Seva Dal, then known as the Hindustan Seva Dal, was formally inducted as a frontal organisation on January 1, 1924, with Jawaharlal Nehru as its first president.


The Congress organised a mega rally in Nagpur on December 28 to celebrate its 139th foundation day.

Named 'Hum Tayyar Hain', the rally kicked off the Congress party's campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, due in April-May this year.

Nagpur was strategically chosen as the venue as the city represents the two ideologies of BR Ambedkar and the RSS. While the RSS has its headquarters in Nagpur, it is also the place of Deekshabhoomi, where the Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with his followers.


Surprisingly, there was not a word about the Seva Dal completing a centenary at the Nagpur rally much to the surprise of many Congress leaders and workers.

Over the years, the Congress leadership had repeatedly stressed the need to invigorate the Seva Dal to counter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The RSS was formed over a year later on September 27, 1925.

However, the organisation has been reduced to being just a helping hand in organising party events.

As the Seva Dal has lost much of its sheen in recent decades, not many are keen to join the organisation.

In contrast, the RSS has planned a series of events to commemorate the completion of 100 years of its formation on September 27, 2025.