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History of Scouting

The Scout Movement came to India in 1909. The first Troop was registered with the Imperial Headquarters in London in 1909.

It was in the Autumn of 1909 that Captain T.H.Baker a retired Officer of the old Indian Navy who had served with distinction in the Moori war and settled down in Bangalore, first met the heads of the various educational institutions and obtained their consent to the formation of a Scout Association. The local organization was officially recognized at Imperial Headquarters in November 1909.

It was nearly a year later, viz, in October, 1910, before any other local association was recognized in India, Captain T. Todd started a Troop at Kirkee, Poona.

This Kirkee Troop seems to have been started almost at the same time but this was registered at Imperial Headquarters in October 1910.

The third troop which lays claim to be one of the earliest was the Scout Troop attached to the Christ Church Boys High School, Jubbalpore. The Troop was raised on the 9th November 1910 by Major W.P. Pakenham Walsh, R.E.,

Col. J.S. Wilson and Sir Alfred Pick Ford did a lot of work to establish Scouting in Calcutta.

The starting of Troops in India, distributed over wide areas like Bangalore, Poona and Jubbalpore made it inconvenient on the Imperial Headquarters to appoint a Chief Commissioner for India. A large number of Scouts had assembled in Calcutta during the visit of king George V in December, 1911 and a conference was held which was attended by Captain Baker.

An Indian Headquarters was organized and early in 1912 Brigadier General F.G. Bond, Scout Commissioner for Madras was appointed Chief Commissioner and Captain Baker as General Secretary.

The Movement was so far open to Anglo-Indians and European boys only. Indian boys were not taken in and the Association was directly affiliated to Imperial Headquarters of Boy Scouts Association in England. It was therefore thought necessary to organize Scout Movement for the benefit of the Indian boys and girls.

In 1913 Mr. Vivian Bose, (later Justice) established Scouting for Indian Boys in Central province on his own.

In 1915 Dr. Mrs. Annie Besant and Dr. G.S. Arundale started Indian Boy Scouts Association in Madras. The first Scout Masters Training Course was held in May 1918 conduct by Mr. Pearce.

In 1915 Scouting for Indian Boys was started in Bengal.

In 1916 Boy Scouts of India Association for Madras was inaugurated under the patronage of the Governor.

In 1918 on the suggestion of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Pandit Sri Ram Bajpai settled down at Allahabad to organize the Boy Scout Movement. Pandit Hriday Nath Kunzru was requested to help in its development. They established the Seva Samiti Scout Association.

The Seva Samiti Association was formed with its Headquarters at Allahabad on 1st December 1919. This received the patronage of the Governor of Uttar Pradesh also.

By 1919, a net work of Scout Association got created in various parts of the country.

The Provincial level organizations had the Governors as the Chief Scouts and the Central Headquarters had the Viceroy as the Chief Scout. These Chief Scouts were carrying on the Movement with local elites as members of advisory bodies. The Indian Rulers of the various States in the country formed their own Associations with Commissioners. The states were affiliated to the central body in India and so to the International Bureau, London.

Hia Excellency the Viceroy Lord Chelmsford invited B.P to visit India. B.P. and Lady B.P. arrived in Bombay in January, 1921. Rallies of Scouts were held wherever they went and the founder was much satisfied with the standard of Scouting with Indian Boys which he observed in these rallies. He attended joint rallies of associations at Allahabad, Jabbalpore, Lucknow, Ranchi, Madras etc. In the Rally at AMadras he expressed his high appreciation of Scout organizations he had found among Indians. At the invitation of Dr. Mrs. Annie Besant, the diverse sec tions joined in amalgamation into one Movement for all India.

At a conference held in Madras on 9th February, 1921. The terms of final amalgamation were agreed upon.

On these terms the South Indian Boy Scout Association agreed to amalgamate with the Boy Scout Association and the Indian Boy Scouts Association. The Indian Boy Scouts Association in other provinces were also included in the amalgamation.

The Seva Samiti Scout Association, however, kept out of this merger and continued to work as an independent organization.

Although splendid constructive work among the youth of the country was done by the Associations the Movement did not quite succeed in catching the imagination of the Indian Public. The feeling that Scouting and Guiding were of British Origin and the Promise contained formal expression of loyalty to the King Emperor persisted. The political situation in the country and the acute nationalist sentiments of those days made many people understandably, suspicious of the bonafides of the Movement.

In the year 1937 the All India Boy Scouts Association had invited the first All India Boy Scout Jamboree at Delhi when an invitation was extended to Lord BP & Lady BP. They arrived in India to participate in the Jamboree. After this they travelled to different parts of the country. Another attempt was made to bring about the complete merger of all the Scout and Guide Associations in the country, but unfortunately this failed on the issue of Promise.

In 1938 due to a wave of intense nationalism a considerable number of members of the Boy Scouts Association left it. They along with the Seva Samiti Scout Association in India and the newly formed Indian National Scout Association merged into a new body – “ The Hindustan Scout Association” on 27th July, 1938.

The Boy Scouts Association in India continued to function separately.

Shortly before independence, on May 9, 1947 at the instance of Lady Mountbatten a joint meeting of the Boy Scouts Association in India. The Hindustan Scout Association and the All India Girl Guides Association was called by the ministry of Education, Government of India.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Minister of Education, Govt. of India presided over the conference. Following preliminary exchange of views of committee consisting of the following members was set up to carry on detailed negotiations for the merger.

  1. Shri. Mangal Das Pakvasa -------------- Chairman,
  2. Shri. Tarachand (Secretary to Ministry of Education), Member
  3. Dr. H.N. Kunzru, representing H.S.A., Member
  4. Justice Vivian Bose Representing BSA UP, Member.
  5. Mrs. H. C. Captain representing AIGGA member.

The differences that existed previously disappeared and after a good deal of discussion, the merger took place on 7-11-1950 forming the Bharat Scouts and Guides.

The All India Gil Guides Association which was till then functioning as a separate Organisation for girls also joined the Bharat Scouts and Guides on 15th August 1951.

The Scout Wing is registered with the WOSM(Geneva) and the Guide Wing is a full Member of the WAGGGS(London). The BS&G is now the only Association in the country recognised by the World bodies of the Scout and Guide Movements.

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