Shanthi Sena, (Peace Corps) in GRI was founded in 1958, 18 years before becoming a Deemed University. Since, GRI has always been a testing ground for many Gandhian experiments, the founding father of GRI, Dr G. Ramachandran took upon himself the task of establishing within this institution of higher education a nonkilling alternative to military training—a Shanti Sena. Even when GRI, upon becoming a Deemed University, was presented with the choice to adopt National Cadet Corps (NCC), it chose to continue with Shanthi Sena instead. By doing it, GRI became the only educational institution in the whole of globe to have adopted this model.
Combining spiritual, physical, intellectual, and organizational training, the Shanti Sena prepared students for conflict resolution, security functions, disaster relief, and cooperative community service in response to community needs. The approach is always to work together with villagers to improve such things as childcare, sanitation, housing, and preservation of folk arts traditions. The Shanti Sena in GRI until recently assumed responsibility for campus security. No armed police were permitted on GRI campus or if permitted they used to play second fiddle to Shanthi Sena, even during visits by Indian prime ministers Pundit Nehru, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, or Presidents Shri R. Ventkatraman, Shri Abdul Kalaam and other dignitaries. Besides providing security, when such dignitaries and prominent leaders visit the GRI campus, Shanthi Sena remains at the forefront in according them floral tributes and grand welcome.
The six-decade long experience of Shanthi Sena in GRI includes taking initiatives in peace building, promoting democracy and governance by conducting peace dialogues, inter-religious dialogues, youth exchange programmes, youth camps, leadership training programmes, sports for peace programmes and prohibition (abolition of arrack) in the neighbouring villages. They are actively involved in emergency relief, peace education, environmental conservation and providing community based health facilities in the rural areas nearby.
Every year, many students of the Institute volunteer to become part of Shanthi Sena and carry rich experiences and fond memories with them when passing out from GRI.