(This constitution was drafted by Mahatma Gandhi for the Congress on the eve of his assassination. His intention was to show how the Congress which was till now mainly concerned with achieving political independence might convert itself into an association for the Service of the People (Lok Sevak Sangh), and work for the establishment of a nonviolent society.)
January 29, 1948
Though split into two, India having attained political independence through means devised by the Indian National Congress, the Congress in its present shape and form, i.e., as a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine, has outlived its use. India has still to attain social, moral and economic independence in terms of its seven hundred thousand villages as distinguished from its cities and towns.
The struggle for the ascendency of ‘civil over military power is bound to take place in India’s progress towards its democratic goat It must be kept out of unhealthy competition with political parties and communal bodies. For these and other similar reasons, the A. I. C. C. resolves to disband the existing Congress organization and flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh under the following rules with power to alter them as occasion may demand.
Every panchayat of five adult men or women being villagers or village-minded shall form a unit.
Two such contiguous panchayats shall form a working party under a leader elected from among themselves. When there are one hundred such panchayats, the fifty first grade leaders shall elect from among themselves a second ‘grade leader and so on, the first grade leaders meanwhile working under the second grade leader.
Mahatma Gandhi believed the Bihar earthquake was punishment for practicing untouchability against Dalits
Parallel groups of two hundred panchayats shall continue to be formed till they cover. the whole of India, each succeeding group of panchayats electing a second grade leader after the manner of the first. All second grade leaders shall serve jointly for the whole of India and severally for their respective areas. The second grade leader may elect, whenever they deem necessary, from among them- selves a chief who will, during pleasure, regulate and command all the groups.
(As the final formation of provinces or districts is still in a state of flux, no attempt has been made to divide this group of servants into provincial or District Councils, and jurisdiction over the whole of India has been vested in the group or groups that may have been formed at any time. It should be noted that this body of servants derive their authority or power from service ungrudgingly and wisely done to their master, the whole of India).
- Every worker shall be a habitual wearer of khadi made from self-spun yarn or certified by the A.l.S.A. and must be a teetotaller. If a Hindu, he must have abjured untouchability in any shape or form in his own person or in his family and must be a believer in the ideal of inter-communal unity, equal respect and regard for all religions and equality of opportunity and status for all irrespective of race, creed or sex.
- He shall come in personal contact with every villager, within his jurisdiction.
- He shall enroll and train workers from amongst the villagers and keep a register of all these.
- He shall keep a record of his work from day to day.
- He shall organize the villages so as to make them self-contained and self-supporting through their agriculture and handicrafts.’
- He shall educate the village folk in sanitation and hygiene. and take all measures for the prevention of ill-health and disease among them.
- He shall organize the education of the village folk from birth to death along the lines of Nai Talim, in accordance with the policy laid down by the Hindustani Talimi Sangh.
- He shall see that those whose names are missing on the statutory voters rolls are duly entered therein.
- He shall encourage those who have not yet acquired the legal qualification, to acquire it for getting the right of franchise.’
- For the above purposes and others to be added from time to time, he shall train and fit himself in accordance with the rules laid down by the Sangh for the due performance of duty.
The Sangh shall affiliate the. following autonomous bodies:
- A.I.S.A. (All-India Spinners Association)
- A.I.V.I.A. (All-India Village Industries Association)
- Hindustani Talimi Sangh (Society for Basic Education)
- Harijan Sevak Sangh (Society for service’ of “untouchables”)
- Goseva Sangh (Society for Cow-protection and Improvement)
The Sangh shall raise finances for the fulfillment of its mission, from among the villagers and others, special stress being laid on the collection of the poor man’s piece.