Brief History of the Bharat Scouts & Guides

The Scouting Movement was conceptualized as far back as 1890 by Lord Baden Powell and the first Scout Camp was organized in 1907. Initially, Scouting was a movement intended for the benefit of British boys. In or around the year 1911, a corresponding movement was started for girls and came to be known as the Guide Movement. In India, the Scouts Movement started in 1909 and the Guide Movement in 1911. The Scouts and Guides movement in India has an illustrious history. The movement initially started under different names and different provinces in India such as the Sewa Samiti Scouts Association, The All India Boys Scouts etc. several stalwarts of various fields of public life in India have been associated with the Scouts and Guides movements in India in different points of time. Some of the public figures actively associated with the movement including Mr. Vivian Bose, Dr. Annie Besant, Dr. G.S. Arundale, Shri V.K.Krishna Menon, Shri S.V. Kamat, Sri K.B. Godrej, Mr. Rustomji, Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta, Shri Janaki Saran Verma, Pandit H.N. Kunzru, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Mr. Justice M. Hidayatullah, etc.

That at the time of independence, there are mainly 2(two) boys Scouts Associations, namely, “Boys Scouts Association” and “Hindustan Scouts Association”, and one All India Girl Guide Association. Efforts were made by Lord Baden Powell, the Founder of the Movement, at the instance of Lord Chelmsford, the then Viceroy of India, in 1920-21 and again in 1937-38 to unify different Associations. Efforts could not succeed because the Indian Associations could not owe allegiance to the Crown as desired by the then regime. After the independence of the country incessant efforts were made by the National Leaders of the time like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India. On 29th May 1948, an informal meeting was conducted and presided over by the then Education Minister, Mr. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It was stressed that Scout/Guide organization be free of any taint of political or communal partisanship and there would be unification of the movement. Ultimately, after a long discussion, representatives of the two pioneer associations, existing at that time, decided to set up a committee with Dr. Tarachand, Secretary, Ministry of Education as Chairman and Commander G.H. Nicholla, Deputy Private Secretary to the Governor General as a Member to work out the details of the amalgamations.

That the name of the organization was evolved and agreed upon after many deliberations. The Constitution of India has accepted the name “Bharat” as an alternative name of India. It was, therefore, agreed that the merged organization would be registered under the name “Bharat Scouts & Guides” to form a singly National Scouts and Guides Movement. The merger had the blessings of the late Chief Guides Lady Baden Powell. The merged organization’s new name came to be registered and incorporated under the name and style of Bharat Scouts and Guides on 6th November, 1950 under the Societies Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860). The merger of two organizations came into effect on 7th November, 1950. The amalgamation was pursuant to a meeting convened under Societies Registration Act dated 24th October, 1950. (A Photocopy of the certificate of Registration is enclosed herewith as Annexure-1). The All India Girl Guide Association merged with the Bharat Scouts and Guides later in August, 1951.

The Bharat Scouts & Guides is the largest voluntary, non-political, uniformed Youth Organization and educational Movement in the Country working in the field of character building of the young boys and girls, without any distinction of caste, creed and religion. While, there were several Scout Organizations and a separate Girl Guide Association functioning in India during the pre-independence era. The Bharat Scouts & Guides came into existence on November 7, 1950 as a single joint Organization of Scouts as well as Guides. This could happen as a consequence of merger of Boy Scouts Association of India, Hindustan Scouts Association and the Girl Guides Association under the guidance of the then the leaders of the country like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. H.N.Kunzru, Justice Hidyatullah, Sir Vivian Bose and many other stalwarts. The Bharat Scouts & Guides is recognized by the World Organisation of Scout Movement (WOSM) and World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

The Bharat Scouts & Guides was internationally recognized in December 1950 pursuant to Circular to Circular No. 40 of 1950 of the Boys Scouts International Bureau and in April, 1954 when the Bharat Scouts and Guides became a member of the World Association o Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Prior to this affiliation, the All India Girl Guides Association was a member of the world body. It is pertinent to mention that more than 160 Counties are members of the International Scouts body i.e. World Organization of Scout Movement (WOSM) and approximately 140 Countries are members of the International Guide body i.e. World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

At the international level, there is only one body for Scouts namely “World Organisation of Scouts Movement” with its headquarters at Geneva (Switzerland) and one body for Girl Guides, namely, “World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts” with its headquarters at London in Great Britain. As per the rules of the said two apex bodies, only one national body from affiliated countries is recognized and admitted as a member. Thus, the Bharat Scouts & Guides is the only recognized body by the said two international bodies in India.

. The Movement of Scouting and Guiding is internationally recognized. The movement has the universal Motto “ Do your Best” for Cubs & Bulbuls ranging from the age group 05-09 years, “Be Prepared” for Scouts & Guides ranging from the age group 10-16 Years and “Service” for Rovers & Rangers ranging at the age group 16-25 years. In India, almost 46 State Associations including Union Territories, 9 Indian Railway Zones, Scout/Guides Associations of the Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sangathan and those of the Navodaya Vidhalaya Samiti are all affiliated and members of the Bharat Scouts & Guides. The Bharat Scouts & Guides has district units in different countries where Indian Schools are functioning including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sultanate of Oman. The Central Tibetan Administration Schools are also having Scout/Guide Unit which are affiliated to the Bharat Scouts & Guides.

The Bharat Scouts & Guides is engaged in the task of developing the personality of the youth and canalizing their energies into the task of National resurgence. The Scouts and Guides are seen working with dedication and commitment to serve the community. The membership of the Bharat Scouts & Guides today touches all time record of over 50 lakhs Scouts & Guides. We are the third largest in the world in the number of Scouts and second largest in the number of Guides.

The representatives of the Bharat Scouts and Guides have represented and have attended various World events and Conferences and earned laurels for the Country. The Bharat Scouts and Guides has been honoured with “PEACE MESSENGER AWARD” by the UNO in 1987, “HABITAT AWARD” in 1990 and “INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL INTEGRATION AWARD” in 1987. The stalwarts like late Mrs. Lakshmi Mazumdar the then National Commissioner and Sardar Lakshman Singh have been the recipients of “PADMA SHREE” and “PADMA VIVHUSHAN” respectively.

The Bharat Scouts & Guides Movement provides youth programme, Adult Leader Training, Adventure activities and International level programmes etc. to our young people.