Post independence, India has been striving to develop and strengthen its industrial base. In this pursuit of “self-sufficiency” consumers have had to endure the use of sub-standard products and services, adulterated foods, short weights and measures, spurious and hazardous drugs, exorbitant prices, endemic shortages leading to black marketing and profiteering, unfulfilled manufacture guarantees and a host of other problems.
In 1960's exploitation of consumers by manufacturers and service providers was rampant in India with a few monopolistic business houses controlling the industry. In one infamous case, 40 persons suffered dropsy and glaucoma after consuming groundnut oil adulterated with toxic argemone oil. The victims did not get any justice and the culprits escaped without punishment.
This outrage energized 9 women to organize a movement to fight and protect consumer rights by establishing the first consumer organization in India the "Consumer Guidance Society of India", (CGSI) in 1966 to resist the silent suffering of consumers and their exploitation in all forms.
उतिष्ठत ॥ जाग्रत ॥ प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत ॥
Arise! Awake! Do not stop until you reach the goal.
आत्मानं सततं रक्षेत् ॥ उध्दरेदात्मनात्मानम् ॥
One alone must save oneself. Save yourself by yourself !
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बंधुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ॥
We are our own friends also our own foes.
अनो भद्राह् क्रथवो य़न्थु विश्वथह् ॥
Let knowledge come to us from every direction.
Post CGSI formation, several public minded citizens and illustrious persons have joined their cause down the years. CGSI carries out its administration strictly as per its constitution. On date CGSI has about 3000 lifetime members spread all over India with all Managing Committee Members and office bearers at the helm being unpaid honorary volunteers.