Transforming Rural India through education

I wrote about Ramji Raghavan and Agastya in my very first blog post. Words seem hollow when I sit down to describe the kind of effort Ramji has put in. There are several intersections I see between the work Art of Living is doing in the education sector and the very innovative and successful model of outreach that Ramji and his team have conceived of. This is a model worth replicating in every part of India. Anyone who is associated with the kids education should take a leaf out of this initiative.

Meena and I have been wanting to visit Kuppam to see their work first hand, but and this seems like such a lousy excuse, something or the othe crops up, and suffice is it to say that this visit is due for the last several years.

The good part however is that we continue to be in touch with Ramji once in a while. Two days back Ramji sent me an essay that he wrote in the Education, Knowledge and Economy Journal titled “Unlocking the creative potential of Rural India”. He writes

What advice can Agastya offer other based on its experience of sparking the creative temper among disadvantaged rural children on a large scale? Here are some thoughts from my experience:

  • Develop a vision that is credible and inspiring. A compelling vision backed by a strong team attracts the support of sponsors, governments and communities.

  • …Invest in coaching, training and development of staff. In environments not familiar with corporate management methods, develop a work ethos with modern methods tailored to local needs.
  • Be curious and receptive to ideas and suggestions, many of which will come from those affected by your actions. The mobile science lab, mobile eco lab and young instructor programs, for example, resulted from the need to repond to local constraints (lack of school labs, environmental degradation, and not enough teachers to manage science fairs).
  • Think and act boldly and differently. By demonstrating your willingness to execute innovative ideas on a large scale, you will attract more partners to your cause.

  • Think and act long term. Ask yourself the question, “what are the near and long term social consequences of my actions?” Resist the pressure to show quick results, which disappear often as fast as they arrive

Advice that a lot of us can reflect and use in our own initiatives.

He further quotes Einstein “The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful”

Exactly what Guruji keeps saying always “Instead of thinking ‘What about me?’ “What can I gain from this world?” think, “What can I do for this world?” When everyone considers only what they can contribute to society, you will have a divine society.


2 thoughts on “Transforming Rural India through education

  1. I was amazed at the blog title itself.. Indeed, i used to discuss a lot about, self-sustaining villages, with my friends.

    When i read dharampal’s books, (, i realised, what a valuable society, we had lost now.

    But, i have few questions.. You have said about providing education to villagers.. But, what type of education, and for what purpose?
    How it will fulfill their needs in their locality or nearby?

    And can village development happen without government support?

    I feel, the present education system is highly inefficient, that a fresher out of engineering college, dont even know how to develop a simple website, or develop a simple machine.

    I feel, we should empower the villagers with infrastructure and the technical knowledge of the jobs, available in that locality.

    We should set the agenda of people’s basic needs and then work on empowering them to achieve those, in that locality.

    And similar to israel’s kibutzu, our village model should be self-reliant, in that it should fulfill its requirement locally, as much as possible.

    You can get more ideas on dharampal’s book “Panchayat Raj system”

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