Servants of the People Society was founded by Lala Lajpat Rai at Lahore.
The Vision behind it was inspired by an idea of training young men for political work and social service. The Constitution of the Society lays this down as follows:
"The object of the society is to enlist and train national missionaries for the service of the motherland. It shall be their duty to work for the educational, cultural, social economic and political advancement of the country under the supervision of the society."
The Society was formally inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on November 9, 1921 and housed in Lala Ji's bunglow, which he had donated to the Society along with his Library. The premises were named as Lajpat Rai Bhawan.
After partition of the country in 1947 the headquarter of the Society was shifted to New Delhi. At present it is housed in Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Lajpat Nagar.
The First Three members who joined the Society at its very inception were:-
1. Lala Feroz Chand, who later became Editor, Times of India.
2. Lala Achint Ram, who later was a member of the constituent Assembly and member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and guided Bhoodan Movement in East Punjab, and
3. Shri Purshottam Lal Sondhi (who later became general manager, Indian Express).
During his lifetime, Lala Lajpat Rai recruited about 20 young men and trained them to be national missionaries. Some of them later made great contribution in the freedom struggle and in public life.
Distinguished persons who became Presidents of the Society at different times were:-
1. Shri Purushottam Dass Tandon (1929 – 30, 1931 – 39, 1940 – 62),
2. Lala Feroz Chand (1930 – 31, Officiating, 1939 – 40),
3. Shri Balwant Rai G. Mehta (1962 – 63),
4. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (1963 – 66),
5. Shri Biswanath Das (1966 – 81),
6. Shri Radhanath Rath (1981 – 1991),
7. Shri Krishan Kant (1991 – 2002).
8. Shri Manu Bhai Patel (2003 - 2010)
9. Shri Onkar Chand ( 2011 - Till date)
Currently, the President of the Society is Shri Onkar Chand from Chandigarh.
The Constitution of the Society provided for three trustees who will manage the assets and properties of the society. The present trustees are Shri I. K. Gujral, Former Prime Minister of India and Justice Rajinder Sachar, Retd. Chief Justice, Delhi High Court. Some of the past trustees were: Bhai Parmanand, Shri Ram Prasad, Shri Duni Chand, Lala Jaswant Rai, Shri G. D. Birla, Shri Bhim Sen Sachar (former High Commissioner in Ceylon and Chief Minister, Punjab), Shri C. B. Gupta (Former Chief Minister, U.P.), Pt. Amar Nath Vidyalankar (Former Cabinet Minister, Punjab), Shri Bishambhar Nath Pande (Former Governor, Orissa) and Prof. Ved Vyasa (Former National President, Managing Committee D.A.V. Institutions).
Outstanding Life – Members who excelled on National Level:
1. Two Presidents of Indian National Congress - Lala Lajpat Rai and Shri Purushottam Das Tandon
2. One Prime Minister - Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri
3. One Vice President of India - Shri Krishan Kant
Other Eminent Life – Members: Shri Harihar Nath Shastri, Founder General Secretary INTUC, Shri Michael John, Member Rajya Sabha and President INTUC, Shri Kashi Nath Pandey, member Lok Sabha and President INTUC and Shri Krishanvandan Joshi, Mayor Ahmedabad.
A host of renowned illustrious parliamentarians and doyens of Constructive Work also adorned the ranks of Life Members of the Society.
Those who were bestowed National Honors:-
1. Rajrishi Purushotamdas Tandon ----- Bharat Ratna
2. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri ----- Bharat Ratna
3. Dr. Radhanath Rath ----- Padam Bhushan
4. Prof. N. R. Malkani ----- Padamshri