(The first progress report on the activities of servants of the people society was printed in 1927. It carried a preamble by Lala Lajpat Rai, in which he describes how he came to conceive the idea of founding this Society.)
The idea of training young men for political work and social service was first entertained by the late Mr. G.K. Gokhale. He had learnt his politics and taken his lessons in patriotism and public service at the feet of the great Mahadeva Govinda Rande. To Maharattas belongs the credit for the idea of creating a class of missionaries for the dissemination of education on mere subsistence allowances. The market price of a graduate has fallen very much in these days, but it was high when the Deccan Education Society first gave birth to the scheme of manning private educational Institutions with people who undertook to serve as professors and lecturers for a term of 20 years on a mere pittance as their remuneration. The late Mr. Gokhale was one of the first to enlist as such. After finishing his term of service in the Fergusson College, he started his political career, during the course of which he came to the conclusion that politics required whole-time workers as much as any other department of human activities did; that amateur and holiday politicians could not do justice to their work and to their country; and that the country's greatest need was a number of whole-time national workers pledged to a life of poverty and sacrifice. Having arrived at this conclusion, he conceived the idea of starting the Servants of India Society as a nucleus for the training of selected young men for social and political service. The idea, the training of selected young men for social and political service. The idea, noble and timely as it was approved of by a number of his friends and coworkers who made it financially possible for him to translate it into action.
In 1905, I went on my first visit to Poona mainly with the object of coming in to contact with Messrs Gokle and Tilak and leering my lessons in politics at their feet.. During my stay at Poona I had many talks with both on various topics, one of which was the necessity and desirability of establishing societies for the training of young men for the political and social service of the motherland. I was then on my way to England on a political mission as a delegate of the Indian National Congress. When I returned, I made my first, attempt to give a concrete shape to this idea by a scheme of scholarships to be given to selected young men to receive their training in politics. The amount contributed by my friends of the Indian Association, Lahore, towards the expenses of my trip to England was the first donation given for that purpose. But my deportation of 1907, 1910 and 1914, and my public engagements and disappointments throughout this period of my life gave me no rest and no time to expand my idea and give it a practical shape. In 1914 went to USA Circumstances compelled me to stay on in that count ray for no less than five years.During this stay I learnt and unlearnt much. Some of the American Institutions attracted me and I used them both as a Lecturer and student off and on. One of these institutions was the Rand School of Sociology, New York, which imparted instructions in social sciences to people whose circumstances did not permit of their using the regular universities and colleges for improving and developing their knowledge of Politics, Economics and other social Sciences. The institution is run more or less on the lines of self-half. Lecturers are paid small honoraria from the fees collected. There is a small endowment fund, the income from which is utilised for house-rent and other miscellaneous charges. From a humble beginning this institution has now developed in to a great of-politics somewhat on the lines of the Rand School of New York. In August, l 920, the cruel hand of death deprived the country of the services of a son, the like of whom we may not see in our lifetime. It means Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. People of different provinces put forward different proposals to honor the memory of that great man. Never was an indian honored so() profusely, so universally and so lovingly as Bal Gangadhar Tilak was alter his death. Late Tilak was the first indian to receive such a great and unique homage from all classes and all sections of his countrymen and from all parts of his country and even now the memory of this services remains undimmed. If he was unique in his life, he was unique also in his death.
The Lokamanya's death confirmed my plans for a school of Politics and I at once decided to name it after him. But immediately afterwards we were all occupied in the Non-cooperation campaign. The actual work of the Tilak School of Politics was however begun in December 1920. Two or three paid instructors and lecturers were employed to impart education; several others promised to give lectures without receiving any payment. A number of scholarships of the value of Rs. 15 to Rs 25 per mensed were given to deserving students and regular classes started. In 1921, however, a National College was opened at Lahore as part of the Non-cooperation campaign; the principal object of which was to specialist in instruction in politics and economics. The founding of the National College necessitated a substantial change in the plan and design of the Tilak School of Politics. Actual instruction in politics and economics was transferred to the National College as were the services of the instructors engaged for the Tilak School of Politics. The Tilak School however continued to give scholarships already awarded to young men, all of whom joined the National College as regular students.
One of the essential features of the scheme of the Tilak School of politics was the provision of training to young lien destined for the political a d service of the country. This training was to be both theoretical and practical, the idea being to give them a sound grounding in social sciences along with at fording them opportunities official service so as to enable them to put to test the theories they borrowed from books.
That was to be done by logans of' society of life members organised on the model 01: the Servants of: India Society of Poona. Therefore, scheme of life- membership was evolved and efforts were made to collect a permanent fund for the society and to establish an up-to-date library. The Servants of the People Society, with the Tilak School of Politics as one if its activities, had the privilege of being formally opened by Mahatma Gandhi on 9 November, 1 92 1, in the house gifted to it by my humble self, the very house from which I was taken away, to an exile, in 1907 My own books, may be a thousand or more as I newel. Clutch them, formed the nucleus of the Library. The first three members- who joined the Society were: -
1. Lala Feroz Chand, B.A
2. Lala Achint Ram, B.A.
3. Lala Purushottam Lal Sondhi, B.A
As such the Society has been registered and owns all the property. The Tilak School of Politics functioned for about two years, but on the opening of the National College in Lahore its activities were stopped, the same being transferred ailing with lecturers to the National College. Thus the Society continued to function both as school and as a body of public workers until the National College ceased to exist. Since then the educational work of the Society has been confined more or less to arranging lectures on different political and social topics, but the main activity of the society has been with regard to social service work and political propaganda.
The educational work of the Society has not been very much to the front In the last two years because of the lack of accommodation either for organised classes or series of public lectures. But the object has never been given up and society be revived as soon as circumstances permit. For the present, the regular educational work of the society being in a, balance, the society is carrying on its original object of training young men for national service. The idea, from the very first has been to produce a kind of national lnissionaries whose sole object would be to deviate the whole of their time to national work. in a spirit of service, without hankering for promotion or for furthering their worldly interests, They are contented with the allowances given to them by the society, and they live a life of compal-ative poverty, which is a noble ideal by itself. They do their work in a spirit of sacrifice and service and in their own way, they are a kind of a beacon light and example to others. There are men, not belonging to any society who are also devoting their lives to the service of the motherland on the whole, besides the sphere of religious institutions, the servants of India Society of Poona and the Servants of the People Society of Lahore, are the only organised missionary societies engaged in general national service.