महान स्वतंत्रता सेनानी, विचारक, पत्रकार और कांग्रेस सेवादल के संस्थापक स्व. नारायण सुब्बाराव हार्डीकर की 123वीं जयंती पर सोमवार को प्रदेश कांग्रेस सेवादल द्वारा कच्चीघाटी शिमला में कार्यक्रम आयोजित कर सेवादल संस्थापक के चित्र पर पुष्प अर्पित कर श्रद्घाजंलि दी और उनके बताए मार्ग पर चलकर देश सेवा का संकल्प लिया। बैठक को संबोधित करते हुए प्रदेश मुख्य संगठक इंद्र दत्त लखनपाल ने कहा कि डा. नारायण सुब्बाराव का जन्म सात मई, 1889 को रत्नागिरि तालुक के हर्डी नामक गांव में हुआ था। बाल्यावस्था में ही उनके माता-पिता का देहांत हो गया, जिस कारण उन्हें लगा कि यदि उचित स्वास्थ्य सेवा मिलती तो उनके माता-पिता बच सकते थे। इसी से उन्होंने चिकित्सक बनने तथा आधुनिक सुविधाओं से लैस अस्पताल खोलने का प्रण लिया और डाक्टरी की पढ़ाई के लिए विदेश चले गए। डाक्टर की डिग्री करने के बाद वह भारत वापस आ गए और स्वतंत्रता आंदोलन में कूद गए। 28 दिसंबर, 1923 में उन्होंने हिंदोस्तानी सेवादल की स्थापना की, जिसके प्रथम अध्यक्ष पंडित जवाहर लाल नेहरू बने। इस प्रकार सेवादल के माध्यम से डा. हार्डीकर ने स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के लिए स्वयं सेवकों की भर्ती कर उन्हें प्रशिक्षित किया।
The Seva Dal is the grassroots front organization of the Congress party. The organization has a chapter in all the states of the Indian Union. The members of the organization are known for wearing the Gandhi topi. It is headed by a Chief Organizer, the present Chief Organizer is Mahendra Joshi. The All India Congress Seva Dal in-charge is Shri Jagdish Tytler, Congress Seva Dal
In 1923, following the Flag Satyagraha at Nagpur, many activists of the Congress were arrested and sentenced to prison. Unable to tolerate the rigors of prison, most of them tendered written apologies to the colonial authorities. However, members of the Hubli Seva Mandal, founded by N S Hardikar refused to yield. This uncompromising stance gained the attention of the Congress' national leadership that had gathered in Nagpur to participate in the satyagraha. It was here that the idea of establishing an organisation of volunteers to combat the Raj was born. At the Kakinada session of the Congress in 1923, a board under Dr N S Hardikar was constituted for setting up the Dal. The Seva Dal was established as the Hindustani Seva Mandal on January 1, 1924. According to the resolution at Kakinada, the Dal was to work under the supervision of the Congress party's working committee. Jawaharlal Nehru was its first president. The Dal faced much initial opposition from Congressmen, who were opposed to the idea of creating a militia like organisation in the Congress, seeing it as a threat to the idea of civilian dominance and as being inconsistent with the idea of non-violence. Umabai Kundapur was the founding president of the women's wing of the Dal. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was closely associated with the organisation, especially in the 1930s.
In 1931, the Congress Working Committee decided to rename the Hindustani Seva Dal as the Congress Seva Dal, making it the central volunteer organisation of the Congress. Every province was to have a general officer commanding the provincial Seva Dal. The organisation also focused specifically on three categories of people: children, adolescents and adults. All Seva Dal members were required to take an oath, which, among other things, required them to stay aloof from political activity in the Congress.
The task of imparting training and organising volunteers was given to the Dal in 1938, which was then headquartered in the Karnatak district of the Bombay presidency. Under Hardikar, an Academy for physical training was established and training camps established at several places across India. During the Civil Disobedience Movement, the Seva Dal played an stellar role in enrolling new members in the Congress, organising activities like picketing and in arming the party with an organised but peaceful militia. The significance of the Dal in the Civil Disobedience Movement can be gauged from the fact that in 1934, when the Movement came to an end and the colonial authorities lifted the ban on the Congress and its organisations, they continued to proscribe the Dal.