IWSB Alum Sumit Gunjan, an inspiring changemaker, featured in Indian Express

Delighted to see #IWSB 2010-2012 PGP alum, @SumitGunjan, who anchored the school for children of construction workers in the evenings on campus, being featured in the Indian Express today.

IWSB - SEE : Mull-A-Cause launches library for childrenGUNJAN with friends facilitating children at the IWSB – SEE : Mull-A-Cause launches library for children

Sumit Gunjan has always been an epitome of empathy; a fine human being who always strived to create an impact wherever he was! Blessed to have such purposeful, passionate, persevering human beings who walked into life.

The above photograph is from the occasion of launch of the library for children at the evening school, when Indira and Mallika bought over 200 books for children from CBT and other sources. The evening saw story-telling and book reading sessions. More of the photos can be seen at the album Mull-A-Cause

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Here I am copying the Indian Express Story, as it appears on its website. I humbly thank IE.

In hostel for tribal children near Ranchi, lessons on how to stay close to roots

Two events, two years apart, were to set Sumit Gunjan on a journey that would not only change his life but that of scores of tribal children in ‘Bal Nivas’, a hostel he set up for them in Banta-Hajam, a village in Silli Block, 70 km from Ranchi.

The first was eight years ago, in 2010, when Gunjan, then a 20-year-old pursuing a post-graduate management programme in a Greater Noida institute, came across a group of children of construction workers at a plot near his college. He began engaging with them, holding informal classes for them with the help of his batchmates and a few professors.

The second “turning point” was in early 2012, when Gunjan, still with the Greater Noida institute, undertook a “research yatra” to Jharkhand for the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in Ahmedabad to study medicinal herbs used by the tribals of Jharkhand.

The first time Gunjan, the youngest of three children of a district court lawyer in Jharkhand’s Giridih, visited Banta-Hajam, he stayed for five days. But he kept coming back to the village, fascinated by the tribal way of life, until he finally decided to stay on for good that April.

“Yahaan ka boli, yahaan ka chaal… hum sab kuchh sikhaya usko (I taught him our language, our practices… everything),” says Bhavani Patar Munda at whose mud house Gunjan began by imparting basic literacy lessons to children.

Gunjan also worked in the fields, did errands and lived like any other member of the Munda household. “From then until today, we have never discussed rent. I live with them, work with them, eat with them,” says Gunjan, who has a Bachelor’s degree in management from Durgapur, West Bengal.

A couple of years ago, Gunjan, with help from villagers, friends and well-wishers, set up Bal Nivas, where 35 tribal children are imparted knowledge of traditional tribal languages, and trained in singing, dancing, classical music, computers and spoken English, besides vocational skills such as bee-keeping and knitting.

The children, all of them from the village, live in Bal Niwas, cooking their own food and cleaning their living quarters. While some children go to the primary school in the village and others to schools in Ranchi, they come back to the hostel, where they are encouraged to stay connected with the tribal way of life.

“At any given point, we teach around 35 children, of whom 25 are girls. They learn music, folk and classical, instruments such as the tabla, harmonium and even the tuila, a traditional tribal instrument on the verge of extinction, the do-tara and the mandolin,” says Gunjan.

When he arrived at Banta-Hajam village, Gunjan realised the children had limited language skills, and were not interested in studying. That’s when he came up with the Bal Nivas concept. “Initially, this was a place to give young children time after formal school where they learned basic things like mathematics and language through activities that were part of their own milieu like local games, which children don’t play these days,” he said.

At present, there are around 15 children, including seven girls, who live at the Bal Nivas. “Most of these children either do not have a father or a mother or are orphans. Also, we take children, who are generally dubbed failures by their own community or those who veer towards alcoholism and other vices at a young age,” he said.

The villagers donate rice every week, while the children have created a fund, donating Rs 2-3 a week. Gunjan also earns by teaching at two teachers’ training institutes in Koderma and Giridih.

Gunjan says he realised that to impart education to tribal children, he would have to first understand them better. “They ate rice three times a day. I started having the same diet and realised it was affecting my stamina. It then became easier for me to explain to them why having a balanced diet, especially for children, was necessary,” he says.

Some of his friends from NIF pushed Gunjan to introduce machines for sowing paddy. “But I decided to sow the saplings myself, along with the women. I then realised how it was also a place and platform for women to socialise. They would sing their traditional songs and come to know about each other’s lives. If we introduce machines, this beautiful thing would be lost. I am not against technology, but it has to be integrated with the milieu in which it is to be introduced,” he says.

Villagers are full of praise for Gunjan’s efforts. “Earlier, the only option for a young boy growing up in these parts was to migrate for work, or fall in bad company and take to liquor and other intoxicants. Gunjan has brought the focus back on all the good practices and traditions that we lived by but have now forgotten,” says Jogendra Gope, a folk singer, on whose land Gunjan set up the hostel. His daughter Sumati now learns classical and folk music at the hostel.

However, the journey wasn’t always smooth. “Last year, some people, upset with what Gunjan was doing, approached the panchayat. They wanted to know why so many girls were in the hostel and why they were being trained in music and dance. But, we stood our ground and, finally, they relented,” says Ramesh Chandra Kumhar, a lac businessman who lives opposite the hostel and who trains the children in vocational skills.

Kumhar says the reason why almost all villagers backed Gunjan was that the change he had brought about was for everyone to see.

Suraj Patar Munda, one of the students at Bal Nivas, says, “I had fallen into bad company and would take marijuana and never attend school. Now, I have left all that and I’m getting trained in music, besides English and computer,” says the teenager who is enrolled at the Ramakrishna Mission School in Ranchi.

Gunjan says he could win the trust of parents, especially of girl students at Bal Nivas, because he kept things transparent. “We would invite parents to live with us at Bal Nivas. When they saw for themselves how things were, they felt good about it and believed me,” he says.

The biggest certificate of their trust came in 2015 when he travelled with some of the children to Ahmedabad for the annual Satvik Food Festival of NIF. “For a village where girls are not supposed to go beyond Ranchi without men escorting them, it was a big thing,” says Gunjan.

One of those who made that trip to Ahmedabad was Ashtami Patar Munda, the 15-year-old daughter of Munda, at whose house Gunjan stayed when he first came to the village in 2012. “For the first time, I saw a world outside our village. Had it not been for Gunjan bhaiyya, it would have been unthinkable. I want to follow his footsteps,” she says.

Jharkhand’s Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson, Arti Kujur, who has attended a couple of cultural programmes organised by Gunjan’s students, says, “He got the artistes to perform to themes such as child marriages and human trafficking, which is a problem in these areas. Also, he has gained the confidence of the tribals. It’s not easy.”

But what really matters for Gunjan are lines like these, delivered with a warm smile. “For us, he is one of our own. He has changed our lives for the better,” says Alam Khan, a resident of Banta-Hajam.

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Reinforcements and Realizations this week !

Do what you really love… Life is such a beautiful gift to unfurl the infinite potential within. What ever do, do it in such a way that none in the world could do it!

DO NOT get trampled by others expectations! DO NOT feel guilty and carry the burden!

When you excel, all those who dissuaded you or opposed you will come around. They will first grudgingly acknowledge, then reluctantly accept and then finally celebrate.

YOU CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE EVERY DAY WITH EXCELLENCE!

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SPANDAN 2014 - SPACES and CURATION - dedicated to all gurus who have excelled in their journey of infinity

The World is your arena, play with purpose; The world is your stage, dance with dedication; The world is your canvas, paint with passion. No one can stop you… go! Just do it!

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Aham-Bramhasmi – I am the creator! Life is all about purposefulness; work with that focus and perseverance; turn every adversity into an opportunity. If your really want it, you will make it, as you will chase it at any cost. No one can stop you…The whole world is within.

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ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु
मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Meaning:
1: Om, May All become Happy,
2: May All be Free from Illness.
3: May All See what is Auspicious,
4: May no one Suffer.
5: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
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Purpose, Vision, Passion, Conviction and Execution…. make an individual push new boundaries in the journey of realizing potential !

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“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Salvador Dalí

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वन्दे मातरम् : Vande Mataram – Mother sweet, I bow to thee !

On the occasion of the republic day, our father, Sri D. Ramakrishnan who is a scholar in Sanskrit too,  forwarded a mail that had these lines. The National Song and National Anthem have always been very energizing and bonding towards the notion of Mother India. In the popularly sung version a couple of verses do not appear and I found difficult relating to it. I did a little bit of research on the web and thought will blog for my own self for the future, as well as for those who wish to go through. Also included the original version from Anand Matt.

वन्दे मातरम्     वन्दे मातरम्

सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम्

  शस्य श्यामलां मातरम्

वन्दे मातरम् 

शुभ्र ज्योत्स्नां पुलकित यामिनीम्

फुल्ल कुसुमित द्रुमदलशोभिनीम्

सुहासिनीं

सुमधुरभाषिणीम् 

सुखदां वरदां मातरम् 

वन्दे मातरम्  वन्दे मातरम्

सप्त कोटि कण्ठ कलकल निनाद कराले

द्विसप्त कोटि भुजैर्धृत खरकरवाले

अबलाकेनुमा एतबले

बहुबलधारिणीं रिपुदलवारिणीम्

नमामि तारिणीं मातरम् 

सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम्

शस्य श्यामलां मातरम् 

तुमि विद्या तुमि धर्म

तुमि ह्रदि तुमि मर्म

त्वं हि प्राणाः शरीरे

बाहुते तुमि माँ शक्ति

हृदये तुमि माँ भक्ति

तोमारै प्रतिमा गडि मन्दिरे 

त्वं हि दुर्गा

दशप्रहरणधारिणीम्

कमला कमलदल विहारिणीम्

वाणी विद्यादायिनी नमामि त्वाम्

नमामि कमलां अमलां अतुलाम्

सुजलां सुफलां मातरम् 

श्यामलां सरलां सुस्मितां भूषिताम् 

धरणीं भरणीं मातरम् 

वन्दे मातरम्

वन्दे मातरम्

वन्दे मातरम् 

 –  बंकिमचन्द्र चट्टोपाध्याय 

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Mother, I venerate you.

Rich with your rushing streams,

Bright with orchard gleams,

Cool with thy winds of delight,

Green fields waving Mother of might, Mother free. 

Glory of moonlight dreams,

Over thy branches and lordly streams,

Clad in thy blossoming trees,

Mother, giver of ease

Laughing low and sweet!

Mother I kiss thy feet,

Speaker sweet and low!

Mother, to thee I bow. 

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands

When swords flash out in seventy million hands

And seventy million voices roar

Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?

With many strengths who art mighty and stored,

To thee I call Mother and Lord!

Thou who saves, arise and save!

To her I cry who ever her foe drove

Back from plain and sea And shook herself free. 

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,

Thou art heart, our soul, our breath

Though art love divine, the awe

In our hearts that conquers death.

Thine the strength that nerves the arm,

Thine the beauty, thine the charm.

Every image made divine

In our temples is but thine. 

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,

With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,

Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,

And the Muse a hundred-toned,

Pure and perfect without peer,

Mother lend thine ear,

Rich with thy hurrying streams,

Bright with thy orchard gleams,

Dark of hue O candid-fair 

In thy soul, with jeweled hair

And thy glorious smile divine,

Loveliest of all earthly lands,

Showering wealth from well-stored hands!

Mother, mother mine!

Mother sweet, I bow to thee,

Mother great and free! 

Mother sweet, I bow to thee

Mother sweet, I bow to thee

Mother sweet, I bow to thee 

– Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay 

– English translation by Aurobindo

Setting B-HAG Goals – How they can drive : From the diary of a focussed FMS aspirant

As part of ‘Dream It, Do It’ motivational tour, I have been taking intense sessions for CAT aspirants across the country. After every session, many an inspired youngster do have long chats sharing their aims and fears, trials, tribulations and challenges, Seeking my insights, inputs and wisdom to succeed.

At the end of one such session this year, a young man sought to travel with me across the city saying that ‘I just want to be with you for some more time, to get greater clarity in life’. Just before he departed he shared his appreciation about the whole session and also the time he spent with me and how it is going to impact his journey. Also he pulled out his diary and shared a list of his goals that is motivating him and driving him…

I had a glance at it and felt really inspired by the B-HAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) set by the youngster. I promised myself and the youngster that I will share his goals in an article to inspire more youngsters…

Big Hairy Audacious Goals. (graphic courtesy WEB)

Big Hairy Audacious Goals. (graphic courtesy WEB)

1. I will have a net worth of 200 million dollars by 30 June 2025.
2. I will own a 5000 sq ft penthouse in Delhi.
3. I would have sold 1 million copies of my books by 30 March 2017.
4. I would have trained 10,000 people to become people enablers by 30 March 2017.
5. I would have completed my MBA from FMS, Delhi or better by 7 July 2016.
6. I would have trained under Robin Sharma and Jack Canfield by 1 March 2020.
7. I will travel to 7 wonders of the world by 1 January 2020.
8. I will throw 12 parties in the year 2016.
9. I would have run a half marathon by 1 September 2016.
10. I will spend at least 12 weeks with my friends and family in 2016.
11. I will find and marry my soul-mate by 1 March 2019.
12. I will read 20 “good” books in 2014.
13. I will learn to play guitar and to dance by 1 March 2017.
14. I will help 100 million people to improve their quality of life significantly by 1 March 2025.

Revisiting this goal once a day has been good enough for this youngster to be on the track to head into his chosen B-School. He also shared his schedule and his passion to write stories. Needless to say, such inspiring and demanding goals can motivate everyone who goes through the list. I am no exception, hence the article.

Last year too I had come across one youngster who shared his goals. Finally he landed at IIMA and he sent a mail. I will share that mail in another posting.

Wishing you all the very best.

Love.

Gandhiji and his relevance today : Dr R K Pachauri, Chairperson of Nobel Prize winning IPCC

Dr. R K Pachauri sharing the Gandhian Values that are relevant today, and for ages to come

Dr. R K Pachauri sharing the Gandhian Values that are relevant today, and for ages to come

Padma vibhushan Dr, R. k . Pachauri, Chair of intergovernmental panel on climate change (ipcc) addressing the gathering at BIMTECH on the occassion of inauguration of the golden jubilee celebrations, shared a few inspiring thoughts from the journey of Mahatma Gandhi, as it was also OCT 2nd, Gandhiji’s birth Anniversary. Here I try to recall for my own self and also for those who are keen learners.

Dr. Pachauri, apart from being instrumental in IPCC getting the NOBEL peace prize for the work it has been doing under his leadership, has also been decorated by the governments of France, Japan, finland, mexico, belgium. He is the director of TERI (The Energy Research Institute of India, formerly TATA ENERGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE)

His speech revolved around the question “Can the MOTHER EARTH bear the brunt of materialistic world? For how long?”, especially in the context of business and the conscience business management graduates need to have in the dynamically changing world.

Tatas and Birlas, being at the forefront of industrialization of the country have been conscious about contributing to the nation and the environment. GD Birla’ left his vast empire to his son B K Birla, advising that he will use the wealth for the cause of humanity apart from growing the wealth in a fair manner. We can see their contributions, in terms of institutions they have created that are identities of our nation, INDIA.

Dr. Pachauri shared Gandhiji’s list to his grandson of ‘Seven sins that will destroy us’. We need to be very conscious of these in the emerging socio-political conditions.

– Wealth without work
– Pleasure without conscience
– Knowledge without character
– Commerce without morality
– Science without humanity
– Worship without sacrifice
– politics without principles

Gandhiji wrote this on a piece of paper to his grandson, on the very day, a few hours before his assassination.

It is time to rediscover Gandhiji. Gandhiji has to be with us 365 days a year. It is not about one single day…We need to leave behind a legacy for our children

SEVEN thoughts culled out from the principles that Gandhiji said and followed.. and its relevance..

1. Industry should regard themselves as trustees of the society

Jagdish Bhagavati said “It is pity that the leaders in the industry are earning only to do the vulgar display”

G d Birla is a great example of being a follower of Gandhiji. He was a visionary who has created such a value for the nation, and never displayed vulgarity of the wealth. CSR has to be within. It has to come from within each of those who are going to lead the industry in the future. We need to lose ourselves in those whom we have to serve, the society at large; nothing as satisfying as serving to the society.

Gandhiji is far more relevant today than at any other point in the past.

We need to go beyond the consumerist values prevalent today. We are acting like the locusts. We need to protect and preserve natural resources around us. We are binging unmitigated, without any constraints. Where will it take us?

We want to buy cars, more cars. In a society where substantial numbers are deprived, can we increase the disparity.

2. Model of development

India cannot prosper if rural India is left behind. Urbanization is inevitable. But at what rate? Are we destroying social values, culture and tradition. Are we able to adjust with the rapid urbanization.

The social fabric and cultural ethos is under enormous pressure. Neighbors do not know each other. Community involvement has to be promoted. Individual enterprise is important and is a corner stone of growth, but are we conscious of our social responsibility?

3. Value of maintaining natural resources

“Mr Gandhi would you want India reach the level of prosperity as great Britain” was a question put to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji responded -“Great Briton needed Half of the planet. How many planets do we need?” We cannot have a plan B, as there is no planet B.

4. The pattern of economic developement, in a subtle way. GDP is seen as the measure of growth. There a few significant things that if overseen then we are in the wrong direction

Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction- Gandhi

5. Wildlife is decreasing in the jungle, but increasing in the cities? The more we prosper, the greater is our propensity towards profligacy and irreverence towards the nature and systems

6. Gandhi always was concerned with the underprivileged. Apply the test of what is the underprivileged going to receive? We are worse than most of the African countries.

Gandhiji spoke about holistic living –

– Keep focus on the benefit of the poor
– keep responsibility of the society in mind

7. India must emerge a pattern of sustainable development. We need to set an example. Each one of us has the responsibility. We are now a population of 9bn from 2bn in the beginning of 20th century. what do we pass on to the next generations..

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Q&A

1. Corporates and individuals know there is no planet B. we are losing cultural ethos. How do we work to facilitate?

A. We need to ask ourselves what is the impact on ecosystem and poorest of the poor.

We clean our home and empty on the streets, philosophically speaking! We need to inbuilt conscience in our every day life..

2. We as B-School graduates are heading to MNC companies. We are looking at only profits. Your advise?

A. Kindly exercise your conscience. These need to dictate terms. Organizations are not incensitive. Can we individually or in groups influence. Companies are sensitive. Subject of triple bottom line. The reputation that you will gain due to sustainability practices is immense. We will be thru immense public scrutiny. You can be leaders to make the shifts in the direction

3. Mahatma Gandhi suggested many about environment. Which of these is the best to followed?

A. Mahatma Gandhi had a very comprehensive view of development. It is holistic. We need to express much greater solidarity with the poorest of the poor. It is a causality. Welfare programs are poorly administered. NREGA is poorly implemented – noble cause, poor outcome. We can use the resources judiciously. We cannot afford to have this level of poverty. It has to be very high on the agenda.

4. Each time I hear a person like you and about trusteeship, I wonder -‘ Is trying to create wealth a crime? Is poverty a byproduct of wealth creation? How to create trusteeship. How do we define this trusteeship

A. Wealth need not be created along with elimination of poverty. Poverty is being patronized. Politicians have done it for obvious reasons. If we had created skills and capabilities to pull population out of poverty, we would have been much better off. We need greater focus now.

What is the education that our children in the rural India is getting. Can we use resources effectively.

Jimmy Carter commented, “when I was governor of Georgia, very small number were in jail; today the number is seven times, largest per capit in the world”.

Four countries are responsible for the capital punishment – Iran, Russia, China and the US

Scandinavian countries are rich yet welfare rich too

5. CSR – based on your experience, kindly share

The TERI program, ‘Lighting a billion lives’, initiated. Reach 400mn who do not have access to electricity. Low cost, light weight LED lanterns, to train villagers. Women charge and rent to the villages… Corporates are supporting it. No direct benefit to them.. Covered 2000 villages. It will snowball.

We have no idea what it makes to a household by providing such a simple solution..children, women, family healthier with less fumes, more time to study and do other household work…

6. Land use and forestry are major contributors. Urbanization contributes to degradation. How can we be inclusive.

Delhi has areas that are green. We need pattern of urbanization that promotes natural beauty and greenery. There is a large area in this country that can be consciously worked upon. Nainital, where I was born is in a sad state – degradation

We can have green cities. Safdarjug airport can be converted to green spaces. We get stuck between departments. I hope we soon do it.

7. We saw you with a Lantern in hand with Al Gore in the Chicago summit… Could you share your thoughts on Role of government

A. I have a vision. Programs that can feed power into the national grid. How do we go about convincing the nation

Solar roof programmes. Delhi can really contribute with vast amount roof space. Solar water heater, can. Not do it consciously. We can save several hundred megawatts of power. We need leadership, that acts.

[Sreeni: One of my friends from Germany shared about the solar farms on the roof tops that pump into the national grid. Imagine with 340 days of bright sun across the country, how many Terrawatts of energy that we can generate..]

8. Climate change. A lot of hue and cry…

Is it really a reality. It is natural for the earth to have the changes. Is it natural? Climate of the earth changes gets due to natural and human factors. A large change is very likely because of human induced changes. With our behavioral patterns we are changing the planet. Right now we are overwhelming the changes, which may bring about natural overwhelming. Small islands, coastal area, rain fed agriculture and … Are getting impacted. Let us be conscious of our every act.

Thanks.

‘Skilling India is a national imperative’ – Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite and sweet 16 too.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Dear Sanjay, The last couple of months, ever since I got to know about your decision of exploring new challenges and pastures beyond Career Launcher, I have been having a feeling of losing one of my vital organs and being incapacitated. I could not reconcile to the fact that you will not be there shoulder to shoulder in the endeavours, every day. But, I am sure, you will be a CL-ite in spirit and letter for life time.

I still recall the early days, 1998, when we used to meet at the gate of Balwant Rai Mehta school, GK-II, for taking CAT prep-classes. We used to share jokes and had a good laugh, as well as having intense interactions about how to go about in a particular session, and we swapped classes in between too at times. Your contribution to expanding the CL horizons geographically, strategically and spiritually is beyond compare. You have left indelible marks in the journey and an enviable benchmarks, very few can match. I salute you and your steadfastness.

All the memories of this long journey together, are very cherished ones for me, and will be there for life. I am sharing here your parting note, that came into my mail box, talking about future of India and our responsibility. Thanks Sanjay for everything and being there. Love you Sanjay.

The captures of Sanjay’s farewell at CL HO, Greater Noida.

Srijan 2012 - Seventy nodal locations, entire CL FamilySanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions captured

———Sanjay’s note in first person – Skilling India is a national imperative —–

Last week I took some personal time out to visit rural skill development centers in two backward districts of Orissa. Besides the obvious, I was glad to note the not so obvious. Entrepreneurship, specially in challenging circumstances must depend on creativity and out of the box thinking and in such circumstances one must look, figuratively speaking, in the dark corners of the room rather than in the areas that are well lit.

While the obvious is, well, so obvious; rural youth learning computers, gaining skills to become household electricians or car engine mechanics or training to work in hotel kitchens, etc. I was glad to note the other emerging story. The trainers or faculty were young men and women who were themselves degree or diploma holders from local engineering colleges and polytechnics. It was heart warming to meet with a BE Electrical graduate of 2008 who is now contributing to the skill effort in general but more importantly he has procured gainful and sustainable employment for himself.

It leads me to think of all the upsides that this small yet powerful example has displayed. Think of the great multiplier effect that can be impacted by such initiatives. The just graduated engineer may have never found gainful employment upon graduating from a, so called, Tier III engineering college. However, he chanced upon this teaching opportunity and is earning a livelihood and heartily participating in India’s growing consumerism, we hope not conspicuous, adding wealth to those below and above him. The great Indian smorgasbord of consumer durable, non-durable and FMCG companies are all benefitiing from this young person’s propensity and opportunity to earn and spend. It sounds like a perfect win-win for atleast these two stakeholders.

The point that I am trying to drive home here is plain and simple; such skilling/training initiatives right at the bottom of the pyramid across india’s length & breadth can have a tsunami effect on India’s economy and GDP growth rates. The micro can help build the macro picture convincingly, surely and far more robustly than some tweaks to CRR, PLR, etc, etc.

If I owned a biscuit manufacturing company, besides the traditional approach to business viz building the brand, stocking the channel, ensuring pull & push, connecting with consumers and ensuring that all the functions of a normal business are working full steam, I’d also take time out and invest in skill training initiatives that will probably ensure a lifetime pipeline of future customers who will have the needs & wants and more importantly the means to consume my biscuits. Doesn’t this make sense, if not today then atleast for the day after?

India stands at the threshold of a great opportunity; amidst a sea of nations and economies that are growing old our country is ‘young’; about 700 million young. This is more than adequate human capital  to run all the factories, banks, clinics and malls in the entire western world and with all the energy and resources of bounding youth. This is more than just ‘manpower’; it is human capital and it can be harnessed and deployed to generate large amounts of benefits for all stakeholders. This mass movement can fundamentally alter the future of this country.

 

Much like parliament aggressively discusses the Lokpal issue or for that matter any other political or economic issue the skilling agenda for India must be the single most important agenda for discussion and action.

While the government and our so called ‘leadership’ takes its time to figure out what is really important and what is not, private industry must take up the mantle and do what it needs to do. If corporate India can become the center of gravity for a large, universal skill training & education movement it can ignite the economy.

From this perspective, NSDC is doing seminal work in catalyzing the disparate & strewn components of this national agenda to come together and put a logical picture in place. It’s working as a matchmaker to bring various beneficiaries together and help them align and stay that way. NSDC is a government initiative at the very highest level and that is probably good thinking and a great beginning. But this is also akin to the proverbial “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink” . The system needs to nurture the skilling agenda by correcting or putting in place some very basis structural systems in place such as Financial Inclusion, Banking services reach, Employment generation, Micro Financing, Entrepreneurship development.

So while one can espouse what the establishment or administration should do one has to simultaneously address the learners’ dogma of going back to school, skepticism of yet another pre-poll promise and overarching low RoE (Return on Education).

Finally, programs & initiatives like MNREGA & social security may need to be revisited. Are these in direct conflict with the skilling India agenda?

On my Photoblog – “Everyone has a story….” : A Visual Poetry!

Every human being is excited about sharing a story gathered or an episode that he or she has been part of.

The journey of humankind in itself is a fascinating one and what would it be like to have a story from each of the six billion :With such a diversity –  roots of origin, culture, language – and the folklore that gets passed on, apart from the events each one is part of! What a documentation it will be.

All those places that I have been part of since childhood, have changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. The visual captures over years of the same place does not have any trace of the past. With this oral story telling tradition, a lot of emotions gets retained in the human folklore.
 

Darjeeling station, India
Darjeeling station, India

 

If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.
-Anon.

Click the photoblog link of mine for the complete visual story. It is just one of the documentations, visual, of my internal journey as I discover the beautiful world outside. I am sure you would love it.

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