Harijan Sevak Sangh
Formation30 September 1932 (91 years ago) (1932-09-30) Pune, India
FounderMahatma Gandhi
HeadquartersGandhi Ashram, Kingsway, Delhi (today Rajpath, Delhi)
Prof. Dr. Sankar Kumar Sanyal

Harijan Sevak Sangh is a non-profit organisation founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1932 to eradicate untouchability in India, working for Harijan or Dalit people and upliftment of Depressed Class of India.[1] It is headquartered at Kingsway Camp in Delhi, with branches in 26 states across India.[2]


After the Second Round Table Conference, British government agreed to give Communal Award to the depressed classes on the request of B. R. Ambedkar. Gandhi opposed the government's decision which he considered it would divide the Hindu society and subsequently went on to the indefinite fast in Yerwada Jail. He ended his fast after signed Poona Pact with Ambedkar on 24 September 1932. On 30 September, Gandhi founded All India Anti Untouchability League, to remove untouchability in the society, which later renamed as Harijan Sevak Sangh ("Servants of Harijan Society").[3] At the time industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla was its founding president with Amritlal Takkar as its secretary.[4]

Harijan Sevak Sangh runs two schools in the state of Tamil Nadu, a residential middle school in Villupuram district and N M R Subbaraman memorial residential primary school in Madurai. The school in Villupuram was set up in 1993 and currently has 180 scheduled caste and 109 other backward classes students. The students mostly belong to migrant labourers. The school has got 9 teaching and non-teaching staff. The Madurai's school was built in 1979. It presently has 5 teaching and non-teaching faculty members.[5]


The Sangh is headquartered at Kingsway Camp in Delhi. It was Valmiki Bhawan within the campus, which functioned as Gandhiji's one-room ashram, Kasturba Gandhi and their children stayed at the nearby Kasturba Kutir, between April 1946 and June 1947, before he moved to Birla House. Today, the 20-acre campus includes the Gandhi ashram, Harijan Basti, Lala Hans Raj Gupta Industrial Training Institute and also has a residential school for boys and girls.[6][7] Its headquarters, Gandhi Ashram, Kingsway Camp is listed as Gandhian Heritage Site by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.


Complete list of President of Harijan Sevak Sangh

Sr. No. Image Name Start of Term End of Term
1 Ghanshyamdas birla September 1932 April 1959
2 Rameshwari Nehru April 1959 November 1965
3 Viyogī Hari November 1965 May 1975
4 Shyamlal June 1975 October 1978
5 R. K. Yarde December 1978 April 1983
6 Nirmala Deshpande June 1983 May 2008
7 Radhakrishn Malviya May 2008 February 2013
8 Shankar Kumar Sanyal April 2013 contd. till now


The Sangh helped the depressed classes to access public places such as temples, schools, roads and water resources, also conducted inter dining and inter caste marriages.[8] It constructed and maintains several schools and hostels across the country.[9]

In 1939, Harijan Sevak Sangh of Tamil Nadu headed by A. Vaidyanatha Iyer entered the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, with members of depressed class including P. Kakkan despite opposition from the upper caste Hindus. The Sangh led by Iyer organised several temple entry movements in other Parts of Tamil Nadu and in Travancore.[10][11] Through their movements, more than 100 temples were opened to all sections of the society.[12]



  1. ^ "Harijan Sevak Sangh to publicise activities". The Hindu. 10 February 2007. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Organisation". Harijan Sevak Sangh. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Naming the reality". 24 May 2018. Archived from the original on 24 May 2018.
  4. ^ Ratna G. Revankar (1 January 1971). The Indian Constitution: A Case Study of Backward Classes. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-8386-7670-7.
  5. ^ Dominique, Bosco. "Villupuram: No funds for Gandhi's Harijan Sevak Sangh for three years | Puducherry News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  6. ^ "Share Gandhi's space @Rs 800 pm". CNN-IBN. 30 September 2006. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Tirath spends time with Dalits on Gandhi Jayanti". The Indian. 2 October 2009.
  8. ^ Raj Kumar (1 January 2003). Essays on Dalits. Discovery Publishing House. p. 67. ISBN 978-81-7141-708-7.
  9. ^ Bindeshwar Pathak (1 September 1999). Road to Freedom: A Sociological Study on the Abolition of Scavenging in India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 70. ISBN 978-81-208-1258-1.
  10. ^ "Man who led Harijans into the temple". The Hindu. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Reliving the historic temple entry". The Hindu. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  12. ^ Rajendra Kumar Sharma (1997). Rural Sociology. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 172. ISBN 978-81-7156-671-6.