The Association for Social Health in India (ASHI) is one of the oldest voluntary organizations in the country, registered in 1974 under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. All donations are eligible for 50% exemption under section 80G(5)(VI of the Income Tax Act 1951.
Presently, Mrs. Roop Kumari is the President of the Association, Mrs. Alka Bipin Sharma and Mrs. Punam Dayal the elected Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General respectively. There is a Governing Body and an Executive Body in place and besides an Annual General Body meeting, regular meetings are held as per the memorandum.
A brief sketch of the evolution of the Association, given below, may be of interest to many of our readers
Established in India in 1928 the organization was known as the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene (AMSH) uptil 1936. Ms Meliscent Shephard was deputed as Head of the India Chapter by the parent organization in England.
Launched, initially in Calcutta, with the objective of conducting an investigation into the tolerated vice areas and abolition of vices such as Trafficking of women and children. During that period, the Association worked actively, along with the Government and State departments, towards bringing about much needed reforms such as
adopting appropriate strategies for control of Venereal diseases
amendment of the Immoral Trafficking Act 1930
passage of the Devdasi Prevention Act 1930 and reframing of the Child Marriage Act
drafting various bills for the benefit of widows and orphans
In 1932 the Association moved it’s Headquarters to Delhi and was represented at the All India Women’s Conference.
In 1937 the Association was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 as Association for Social and Moral Hygiene in India (AMSHI). The Head of the Association participated and represented India at various conferences held in different parts of the world.
Lala Sriram, an industrialist and a business magnate, was elected as the President and Sir Maurice Gwyer, Chief Justice of India, as Chairman of the organization in 1941.
Sir Patrick Spen, CJI, became the President in 1946 and in 1947 Lady Mountbaten became it’s patron.
In 1965 Maharani Mohinder Kaur was elected President of the Association. She continued to motivate, lead and steer the organization towards fulfillment of it’s mission until her demise in 2017. Mrs Shakuntala Lal was elected Secretary General, also in 1965, and she too held the post honorably till the time she passed away in 1998. Thereafter, Dr. Sumitra Srivastava remained the Secretary General of the Association from 1999 to 2008. These and many other women were strong pillars of ASHI and the guiding force for all members and staff of ASHI. Their dedication and commitment for social work permeated down to every level of the organization, to the extent that till date, ASHI serves the marginalized with the same spirit and zeal.
The first branch of AMSH was established in the year 1929 in Bangalore, the second in Punjab in 1930, in Uttar Pradesh in 1936 and thereafter, between 1951 and 1978 there were branches of this organization set up in almost every state of the country, east, west, north and south.
In 1974 the organization was re-registered as the Association for Social Health in India…………a name that stands tall among NGOs and a reputation of being one of the most reliable and transparent. By this time it had acquired an All India presence.
To begin with, an ‘Asra Ghar’, a home for children was set up in Delhi in 1930. Over the next five decades it continued it’s journey and went on to establish homes for children, widows, women in distress, juvenile delinquents, mentally and physically handicapped and creches to impart vocational and Industrial training to youth to organize awareness programs on sex and family life education to establish drug deaddiction and counselling centres
ASHI, gradually, spread it’s wings covering significant social and moral issues, although, over the years, the focus shifted or was modified as per the changing social fabric and needs of the less privileged children, women and youth.