Today social service is considered to be an important part of Education. Gandhiji outlined a programme of social work to be done by the student during their long vacation.

They were required to go to villages, befriend the villagers, teach the illiterate, improve their sanitation and render them help in every possible way. The real Indian lives in villages. About 80% of the population is rural.

“To serve our villages is to work for Swaraj. All else is an idle dream,” said Gandhiji. Our villages present a sorry state of affairs Ignorance is the watchword of our villages, superstitions are their backbone and backwardness is their keynote.

India cannot make progress unless the lot of her teeming millions is improved. No social service can be better than the one done to uplift our villages.

One of the most useful forms of social service is to educate the illiterate. We have still about 60% of illiterate people. 3R’s may be imparted to children during the day-time and night schools may be opened to teach the adults who could not enjoy the benefit of regular education during their younger days.

Another aspect of the social service is to improve the health of the people, especially of the villagers. The villagers shall have to be taught how to keep their houses and lanes neat and clean and maintain themselves in perfect health and strength. There must be a proper drainage system in order to remove insanitary conditions prevailing in our villages.

Again, in a country where most of the villages cannot get even two square meals a day, no social service will be more welcome than that which goes to increase their income. This can be done by teaching some craft.

Gandhiji’s programme of Khadi and the revival of cottage industries must be tried with profit. The villagers must be kept busy, especially after the harvest time. They should be taught some spare time occupations to supplement their income.

Besides the above, there are other kinds of social service which can be rendered for the betterment of the poorer sections of society. They can, for instance, be taught that litigation and extravagant habits are bad and that a life of communal harmony and mutual goodwill is always better.

Social service can also be done in cities at critical moments. An epidemic may break out. The scarcity of food may result in famine. Heavy rains may give rise to floods and the earthquake may cause destruction.

At such critical times the highest form of social service is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the needy, to protect the weak and to give shelter to the homeless.

At the time of partition of the country and Bangla Desh’s conflict with Pakistan crores of refugees came to India. Our young men and women rendered very useful service to rehabilitate them.

Today social service has been made a part of education. The N.S.S. Worker, N.C.C. cadets the Boy Scouts and the Girls Guides are busy in making roads, digging canals, cleaning tanks and village wells, repairing School buildings and doing a hundred other jobs. Students and citizens give Shram Dan as their contribution to the building of free India.

Free India needs blood and toil, hardwork and continuous labour. Mere words cannot take the place of work. Today the slogan is. “Talk Less and Work More.” Some universities have made social service compulsory for getting the first degree. It depends upon our educated young persons to infuse a new life into our masses by rendering useful social service to them.

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