For the first time, Initiatives of Change (IofC)- Youth Movement- Let’s Make a Difference started their first Outreach in Ranchi, Jharkhand on 24th August 2011. This outreach put a lot of responsibility on Prateek Jaiswal (Coordinator) who rose to the occasion and delivered with complete responsibility & utmost finesse by organizing One Day Workshop at Surendranath Centenary School. The session was introduced by Mrs. Mukherjee the teacher in charge of the workshop.
More than two hundred students were seated to listen to what we had to share with them about the absolute standards and quiet time. The audience comprising of students and teachers listened patiently to the IofC message of honesty. The team shared that it is easy to give into temptations and cheat in exams and the bigger challenge is to work hard. The students were questioned on whether they wanted to build their lives on foundation of compromises and shortcuts. It seemed evident that they realized that perseverance should be the quality which one should thrive for.
Majority of them raised their hand when asked ‘have you cheated in your exams’, this gave the team a hope that the students will change if there is going to be a positive peer pressure built around them. When Viralbhai led the session on sharing several examples around relationships related to friends, mother, brother and sister, and how it is very easy to hurt others. This session touched them deep down their hearts and their conscious was pricked and eyes showed the sign of moistness.
With these inputs, these students had their first short Quiet Time Sessions, in which they thought deeply and many did not waste any moment in telling sorry to their friends. Some took courage and shared through the dais and expressed that few minutes of quiet time can show us great results what will be the power of silence if followed everyday with discipline. The concept of quiet time was made to understand in the simplest manner. The sharing was moving and at the end of the session the school bus was a bus of apologies. The team also proceeded to Jamshedpur with thoughts within them that how easy it is to mold the clay when it is soft and tender as school children with right values at this age could have transformational capabilities.
Some sharing by the participants:
The next day 25th August morning, the outreach programme was organized by Sanjay Kumar at Sapan Mahato’s Coaching School in Ghatshila Village. Sapan Mahato is a young teacher and together with his retired father is running a coaching center for 10th standard students. They have one hundred fifty six students from rural area in one of the most remote villages of Jharkhand.
When the IofC LMAD team reached his village what they saw was something very different from what they are used to in metropolitan and cities. Sapan Mahato has modified his poultry farm made out of hay and mud into class rooms. These students belonging from economically and socially deprived backgrounds walk and cycle several kilometers from nearby villages to seek coaching. The scene was very touching for the team, innocent children sitting on the floor, the teachers welcoming the team with their warm heart and very few words, Fresh and green ambiance, no electricity, no fan but still so cool due to green trees and unpolluted air breeze. The team could not stop themselves from making few promises to Sapan Mahato and decided to spend more time with them in future.
After the short session on ABC of MRA and living with values, the students shared with open minds, and the team was touched by their extremely deep thinking. It showed us the poverty, but in that poverty there was smile on the face of every child, a hunger for knowledge and wanting to know more about the world was visible in their glaring eyes. They understood what love is and how conscious troubles one internally when it does not connect to what is been spoken through words and not through inner voice.
On behalf of Youth Team, Viralbhai commended Sapan Mahato and his father for their dedication and despite meager resources of a straw hut, no walls and a wet soil to sit on, the results of their hard-work speaks something different, every child passed out of class tenth is with first division. The affluent and urban kids need to learn and see the struggle of deprivation which will propel the under privilege kids to excel in life.
Post Lunch, there was a workshop at Tribal Cultural Society for TSRDS – Tata Steel Rural Development Society’s employees. This workshop was attended by around 35-40 employees of the TSRDS wing. These employees work with tribal and rural individuals and it was important for them to gain insight on the living with ethical values principal. MRA-IofC has conducted many workshops in Tribal Cultural Society, but this was the first for TSRDS. The key speaker Mr. Viral Mazumdar emphasized on the importance of relationship and shedding of ego. He also explained to the audience how this has helped him in his family and business life. The team also presented few MRA songs for the participants.
The team then moved for the MRA-IofC office at ' Russi Modi -Center for Excellence' to meet the local youth coordinators. During the meeting the young coordinators expressed their thoughts, personal change experiences, their feelings and briefed their progress in life. It was indeed a great pleasure to meet past friends of Youth Movement and how they are mobilizing to organize Savera Youth Conference. Navendu mentioned that Jamshedpur Team is one of the fortunate teams to have a dedicated Conference room with beautiful campus as such a place wasn’t available to any of the teams in the other cities. Viral Mazumdar highlighted how the city was small compared to other cities and the large team could easily meet in this place for taking up more challenging projects.
On the next morning of 26th Aug.'2011 the team moved to Kerala Public School, Mango, Jamshedpur situated in predominantly Muslim area, for a session with the students who were mostly from Muslim families. The team was impressed to know that all students of this school have Quiet Time incorporated into their time table. Such a move by all schools in India would make the vision seen by MRA-Initiatives of Change a reality, where each Youth is an agent of change. This was followed by another session in the Afternoon –Hindi Medium School where children from less privileged family get free education. Their simplicity and open hearts made the session special. The importance of Moral values, Purity, Honesty, Unselfishness and Love was emphasized in both sessions.
Mrs. Kartha (Former Trustee of IofC and Former Principal of KSMS) created several opportunities to speak to many young people in two different schools. But the hallmark sessions was with over hundred Teachers of all schools under this Trust held at Kerala Samajam Model School, Sakchi. Viralbhai shared with the teachers, that knowing from his mother, who is a retired teacher, he is convinced that they play one of the most important roles in shaping society as today students spend more time in school with teachers after being at home. He mentioned that though there is a challenge to speak to teachers of his age or elder, but everybody understands love and message of IofC. With sharing of relevant experiences on personal change, the chord of love was beautifully touched and the message of love was passed on to the teachers. A midst the teachers there were few who have been for the Youth Conference and they immediately acknowledged the relevance of moral standards and quiet time in their life and how it has spread within their family and the influence of these standards is visible within their homes.
Fourth Day of Outreach, 27th August 2011 started with the visit of Hurlung village at “Gram Vikas Bhawan”, session was organized by Krishna Lohar, member of the Youth Movement of IofC and Mr. Buddheshwar. The session was basically targeted at 50 villagers and local Panchayat members. Viralbhai related his life examples and how the universe conspired to make impossible things possible, when he started listening to his inner voice. A young teacher who teaches in 6 schools of this village shared how she was motivated and supported by Mr. Buddheshwar in adopting a rural educational career versus lucrative job in the city. The Youth team encouraged her for pursuing this meaningful path of working at grass root level and invited her to attend the National Youth Conference in Panchgani.
After the talk, the Mukhiya Asha Devi of the Panchayat shared how she was divided with her family members.
“I always had ego issues with my family members’. Though staying happily with my 4 sister in laws, we used to have squabbles over small issues. After coming in touch with the MRA philosophy, I realized my flaws and talked to them. Today we have a happy joint family and share 1 kitchen. It was all possible through MRA’s role in my life.”
The local villagers and Panchayat members were inspired by the talk given by Viralbhai and though they had been introduced to this thought long ago, they saw a different perspective in this session.
The next workshop of the day was organized at the R.D Tata School with the help of Mr Indrajit Singh (Elder of IofC Family). This was primarily for the technical students of the final year who were at cross roads of joining Corporate and Higher Education. It was a gathering of nearly 400 students and the session was centered on the absolute values of IofC. Special emphasis was given on Honesty and maintaining and living an honest life. The students were sensitized about how inner listening can ensure discipline and ensure that there is no compromise on values in their journey towards success.
Since these students were on the brink of starting their career, it was important for them to go out armed with values.
The last session was at Eklavya Vidyalaya; a school for tribal children of Jharkhand funded by Jharkhand government and managed by Kerala Public Trust about 65 kms from Ranchi. Never before we had witnessed a welcome which was so grand, the National Team was welcomed with Yellow and white flowers garlands, drum beats and local traditional dance and song. All these years IofC-Youth Team has been performing Maori Welcome Song- Hai Re Mai but for the first time they experienced a welcome of this scale in a traditional style. This Residential school has three hundred and seventy five students who come from the Schedule and Primitive tribes from forests of Jharkhand.
Youth Team was inspired to witness the discipline and the sanctity of silence maintained throughout their stay. These students listened with focus and concentration. Age group between 10 to 18 years was no barrier to understand the Honesty, Purity, Love and what healing effect silence can have when followed with discipline.
Crows are black all over the world so are human traits almost the same where ever we go, similarly cheating in exams is a common phenomena in every school. Same was the case in Eklavya School too; they showed courage by raising hands in front of the teachers accepting that they had cheated in exams and vowed to work hard towards success.
Love is a universal language and one does not need to speak, the body and eyes express the feeling of love towards the loved ones. All the students are temporarily separated from their family and separation has sown the seeds of craving to be with the family and express love and gratitude that ‘I belong to this family’. Remembering their family and missing them was visible on their face. They were given 20 minutes Quiet Time in between the sessions, with utmost silence and discipline rarely seen in their urban counterparts, the students went out into the campus. This quiet time in the sprawling campus was a perfect recipe to internalize the values and connect oneself internally. Each and every one of them wrote something in their diaries. They all came and shared profoundly about their issues and the thoughts that came while they introspected.
One young student who ran away for his family since long did all kinds of work for survival but deep below there was an urge to educate himself and this school came as a perfect blessing for him to excel in life. But listening to the relevance of family his conscience went back to his own people and with tears in his eyes mentioned how much ever ‘I will run away from my family, but today’s quiet reflection showed clarity that I have to go back to my mother’.
Another Young boy spoke in front of all students and teachers that “The nation has been griped by the wave of anti corruption through Anna Hazare. I was in the rally demonstrating in Ranchi and we all demonstrators were given candles to light it and protest against the establishment, my focus along with many others was on candle rather than on the march. Many of my friends discussed why light the candle and waste it over here, rather take it home for personal use. But in the process of using it somewhere else I realized that this protest is all about corruption and in my small way I am doing the same, my conscience guided me and reminded me of my encounter with Savera Youth Conference which I had attended some years ago and honesty is the crux and need of the hour. I changed my mind and walked with the lit candles to protest.”
One student shared, that “I come from an extremely poor family. My father used to beat me up regularly for no reason at all after drinking alcohol. I was always upset and angry with him. One day, he was drunk and beating my mother, and in rage I slapped him. But I always had this deep desire to study. Through my persistent efforts and will to study I have been enrolled in this school. After this session, I realize I am carrying a lot of ill feeling for my father. I have decided whenever I meet him next time, I am going to say sorry to him. ”
One of the teachers stood up and shared “I am a teacher by profession and have attended many lectures and seminars but today’s talk on love and purity has been different experience. I have never heard anything like this from a platform. Since many days there has been lot of unrest within my family with my wife, and due to this there has been unhappiness and anger between us, blaming each other for their own priority which is more important. After a bad argument last night, I am attending this half day workshop on Sunday. Listening to love and ego I started realizing that somewhere I have been wrong, I have been harsh with my words to my wife. In the quiet time I realized my mistake and took the opportunity to correct my wrong doing by sending a sms to my wife apologizing for my words and behavior. Will carry forward this feeling within and when I meet her I will express myself”.
‘I love my mother, I miss her I have not seen her for six long years I stay in the school and have not visited her today in my reflection I was missing her a lot I cannot control my emotions I want to go back home and see my mother’ said a young boy.
The power of family cannot be measured and everyone has to return someday. The experience of observing the depth and the concentration with which quiet time was taken will be remembered for long. Saying good bye was a task to the innocent minds, we left with a promise that soon we will return. It was a fitting end to a beautiful Outreach in Jharkhand which has opened doors and hearts for the Initiatives of Change ideology.
"बढे चलो, बढे चलो, बढे चलो...... गाँव - शहर से अब सब उठे चलो......
इस देश को हम आज सुधरेंगे..... सभी को साथ लेकर आगे जायेंगे..."
“Badhe chalo, Badhe chalo, Badhe Chalo..Gaon sheher se ab sab uthe chalo…
Iss desh ko hum aaj sudharenge… Sabhi ko saath leke aage jayenge…….”
The hope and future lies in the villages of