With the awakening of national consciousness in the early years of the last century, a few notable efforts were made in British India to improve the system of education prevalent in India during that time. Gujarat Vidyapeeth, started by Mahatma Gandhi, aimed at preparing youth to serve and uplift the rural masses; Shantiniketan tried to bring the cultures of the East and West into Universal harmony; Jamia Milia tried to educate the Muslims in keeping with the needs of the main Stream of National life; and the Gurukul Kangdi aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of the nation keeping with the requirements of the modern age. Inspired by the same spirit, Pandit Janardan Rai Nagar established the 'Rajasthan Vidyapeeth' in 1937 to uplift the down-trodden common man in the feudal state of Mewar. Started as a night Study Centre for the Elementary, secondary and Advanced Courses in our national language Hindi, Rajasthan Vidyapeeth has grown into a large complex of more than 50 institutions spread over several districts of Rajasthan.
Historically, Rajasthan has been a paradise for knowledge seekers, as it has a rich and Royal cultural heritage in the form of manuscripts, historic documents, icons, epigraphs and monuments. Late Manishi Pandit Janardan Rai Nagar's initiative and vision led him to start the Prachin Sahitya Shodh Sansthan in 1941 to preserve, edit, translate and publish old manuscripts. Probably, it was a unique Institute of its kind in Rajasthan, which was established for the conservation of cultural heritage.
After the historic event of the unification of Rajasthan, 'Hindi Vidyapeeth' added new dimensions to its basic objectives. It became a leading Non-Government Organisation during the course of its journey and the founder Pandit Janardan Rai Nagar renamed it as Rajasthan Vidyapeeth.
Early sixties proved to be the landmark in the history of Rajasthan Vidyapeeth when it decided to meet the challenges, which started springing up after independence. The first Prime Minister had deep faith in democracy and he decided to spread the message of sharing responsibilities at the grass-root level. As a result the Panchayati Raj institutions came into existence. Rajasthan Vidyapeeth also decided to join hands with the GOI to share this responsibility and established Community Centres Department and Janata College during the Second Five-Year plan. The objective was to provide benefits to the people of remote villages. It was the beginning of the full-fledged Institute of Adult & Continuing Education. During this period, Vidyapeeth started the new unit, which is called JANPAD, with the objective of propagating the knowledge of day-to-day local and national affairs for the urban society through black-board / broadcast service mass communication being the aim.With the dawn of independence, there was a dire need to provide opportunities for higher education to the underprivileged section of the society, specially in the Tribal belt. The Evening College (Shramjeevi College) was the outcome of this idea. The basic objective of establishing the Evening (Shramjeevi) College was to admit the students who worked during day-hours and wanted to educate themselves for better job opportunities. During this period Rajasthan was also emerging as a potential state of Union Government of the India. Availability of trained professionals for industry / business was the urgent need of the time.
Keeping this in view, Vidyapeeth initiated a Postgraduate course in the discipline of Social Work(MSW). Today, a large number of its alumni are working in various positions in Personnel and Management field throughout the country and abroad. A number of other institutes like Higher Secondary School, Secondary School, Post-basic School and the Centre for Fine Arts were also started by Vidyapeeth to provide education to all the sections of the society. The College of Teachers' Training was another major event on the path of progress of Vidyapeeth during the seventies.
A special features of Rajasthan Vidyapeeth administration is what we call the 'Janatantriaya Shilanyas' (Democratic Foundation), i.e. its democratic way of life and work. Vidyapeeth is organized and run entirely by its workers and its basic philosophy is to provide opportunity of participation to each worker in the decision making process through various constituent bodies. The entire administration is divided into three-spheres or streams-social, educational and general management administration. Each of these spheres has its own elected or nominated leader and body for the management of its affairs.
The prestige enjoyed by it during all these years is reflected in the fact that eminent personalities like Late Shri Bhopal Singh, Maharana of Mewar, Dr. Karan Singh of Kashmir, Shriyut Srimannarian, Mahapandit Shri Rahul Sankrityanan, etc. have graced the chair of Chancellor of Rajasthan Vidyapeeth. The eminent persons, who visited Vidyapeeth, include Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Jai Prakash Narain, Vinoba Bhave, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Dr.Rajendra Prasad and Dr.Radha Krishnan. Col. Tod completed his historic book 'Annals and Antiquities of Rajputana' during his stay in the campus of this institution.
The year 1987 was the landmark in the history of Vidyapeeth when the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and the University Grants Commission granted it the status of a Deemed-to-be-University. Since then, a number of different types of courses, including professional ones, for the benefit of the society, have been launched. Its guiding objectives have invariably been to provide research based qualitative education to community through preservation and conservation of our socio-cultural values.
The institution is not only spreading its wings of education in the country itself but has also entered into the area of international studies through academic exchange of its students and faculty members to Slippery Rock University a prestigious University of USA. This is a step forward to the academic excellence and towards providing opportunity to the students and teachers of Rajasthan Vidyapeeth.