A Program for youth to achieve self-development
‘From time immemorial, education stands broadly for development – development of mind so that it can liberate itself from ignorance of what we are, what nature is and how we interact with nature. Very appropriately a Vedic quotation describes the goal of education as Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktayet – education is what liberates a human being. The goal of education has not changed but the gravity and multidimensionality of the goal is becoming starkly clear to all thinking human beings. With increasing demands of civilised societies whose membership continues to grow unabated the goal of education has become associated with a goal of achieving ‘good living’ for the individual as also the society which pays for his education. And thus education gradually has assumed a purpose in the form of a social contract for the educated to serve the society.’
The above paragraph sums up the views of ANS to reorient the perception of college going youth about themselves and the society. It has become a fashion to criticise youth about their career-centeredness and lack of interest in the governance of the society. The experience also shows that political parties use youth to fulfill their vested interests without realising the values that are being implanted in the minds of youth. To avoid the pitfalls that are being faced by youth, ANS thought that there should be a platform for college going students to express themselves on matters concerning their future life.
Vivek Vahini (VV) is a loosely knit organisation of students and teachers who are interested in changing themselves and the society. To impress the idea of VV, Dr. Dabholkar visited a large number of colleges covering 20 districts ranging from Nandurbar to Sindhudurga of Konkan. He delivered more than 70 lectures in this tour. On an average 200 to 700 students attended his lectures. After the lecture students and college lecturers were invited for discussion to establish VV. ANS was not worried about the name but insisted that students and teachers should come together and form a forum for discussion undertaking activities. Vivek Vahini can be established even with 5-10 members. There is no membership fee and it is not intended to collect funds for any of its activities. The forum will be established with due permission from college authorities.
The motto of VV can be summed up in following words:
Self-development is in our hands;
Rights are necessary, but responsibility should take precedence.
VV is not like any other students union, where student community fights for its demands. The platform is for self-development. It is expected that at least once in a week a meeting will be held to set objectives and plan and implement activities.
To start with, members can begin with discussion as an activity. The topics for discussion can be any of the following for the weekly meeting:
- Scientific Attitude
- Eradication of Castes
- Gender Equality
- Environment Protection
- Science & Astrology
- Religion & Morality
To assist in self-development, following topics can be discussed.
- Why continuous self-development and for whom?
- Positive Attitude
- Acceptance of Changes
- Mission & Goals
- Communication Skills
- Time Management
- Stress Control
- Leadership Qualities
At an individual level, the student members can start reading a thought provoking book , make notes and write an independent article on the material studied.
It is also necessary to keep good health since good health is the key to self-development. Simple physical exercise like fast walking, jogging, etc., should be a daily routine for upcoming students. This too can be one of the activities of VV.
A member should be able to communicate his thoughts properly. Communicating a particular thought or idea to a person innocent of it can achieve this. This should not be allowed to turn into an argument. If one is able to convert the other person to your ideology or set the process of change, that in itself is an achievement. If the person is able to point out the flaws in your thought process, more study and thinking is required.
The processes of self-development and establishing link between thought and action go hand in hand. There are many ways of doing it. For example one can either learn at least one additional word to increase vocabulary or make an effort to read serious articles or even simply assist in doing routine household tasks.
Members of VV can even think of undertaking an activity, which may be useful to the development of society without increasing any financial expenditure. Considering the exploitation of poor and innocent people by unscrupulous elements like Babas and Matajis by displaying ‘miracles’, the student member can learn these tricks and expose them.
ANS can train the students in this skill. ANS can make material available for smooth running of VV by providing books and miracle kits, arranging lectures and discussions, etc.
Collective efforts by ANS activists and Dr. Dabholkar have started bearing fruits. A large number of colleges in Maharashtra have come forward to establish VV platform. Students have come together on their own to participate in the activities leading to self-development as well as well being of the society. All concerned has accepted the concept. A seed has been sown. ANS activists have a greater responsibility to communicate and propagate this concept. Let us hope students of next generation do not have any inhibition in rejecting the age-old practices and rituals, which are harmful to the society. Let us set ourselves time-bound targets and work together confidently towards fulfilling them. Let us be inspired by a sense of mission and rededicate ourselves to the pursuit and attainment of excellence.