History of Scouting


Scouting, is a worldwide movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, so that they may play constructive roles in society. 

Scouting began in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell, Lieutenant General in the British Army, held the first Scouting encampment at Brownsea Island in England. Baden-Powell wrote the principles of Scouting in Scouting for Boys (London, 1908), based on his earlier military books, with influence and support of Frederick Russell Burnham (Chief of Scouts in British Africa), Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, Smith of the Boys' Brigade, and his publisher Pearson. During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups each for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide).

 Scouting in India

The first Scout Troop in India, consisting of Indian Boys, was formed by a Scottish Missionary, in the  Central Provinces (present Madhya Pradesh) in 1908. However, the troop was disbanded in 1910. The common confirmed date, however, for the start of Scouting in India is 1909, when three troops for British boys were started at Bangalore, Kirkee and Jabalpur.

This list of three Scout Troops increased to nine different Boy Scout Organisations in early 1911 in Shimla, Calcutta (present Kolkata), Jabalpur, Allahabad, Bangalore, Poona, Kirkee, Saidpur and Madras (present Chennai).

Efforts were made to merge all the Boy Scouts Organisations with the help and assistance of Lord Baden Powell in 1921. These efforts were partly successful. An endeavor was again made in 1937.

The Girl Guide movement got a start in India at Jabalpur (M.P.) In 1911. It expanded enormously. There were about 50 girl guide companies with a membership of over 1200 by 1915. There companies were directly registered with imperial scout headquarters, London, like other Scout organisation. But an All India Girl Guides Association was formed in 1916. Girl Guiding was restricted to British Girls till 1916.


Unification of Scouting and Guiding in India

There were scattered organisations during the pre-independence era. However, serious efforts made by leaders like Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Education Minister, Govt. of India, Mr. Mangal Das Pakwasa, the then Governor of C.P. and Scout Leaders like Dr. H. N. Kunzru, Pt. Sri Ram Bajpai, Justice Vivian Bose. Final merger took place on 7th November 1950 under the name of the Bharat Scouts & Guides. The Girl Guides Association joined the Bharat Scouts & Guides a year later in 15th August 1951.

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