Vidya Bharati Vanvasi Bal Sangam in Ranchi
Ranchi comes alive with Indian colours
By Naval Kishore Singh
It seemed as though all the colours of India had gathered in Ranchi during the Vidya Bharati Vanvasi Bal Sangam that began at Moharabadi Ground on October 28. Nationalism prevailed over regionalism at the Sangam. Though, children hailing from different parts of the country, competed to prove their supremacy over one another, the air remained filled with patriotic fervour. There was a sense of unity among the diverse groups. Children from north-east, Ladakh, Andamans, etc. mingled with their friends from Rajasthan, Gujarat and other states.
The gathering also presented an example of secularism. The organisers had ensured special arrangement for those observing roza. Afrin Khatami, a participant, said excitedly, ?Sehri and Iftar have been arranged for us.?
Over 16,000 Vanvasi students of Saraswati Shishu Mandirs attended the Sangam. Though, the first conclave of students was organised in 1992 in Allahabad, this was the first conclave to be held exclusively for Vanvasi students. There were impressive cultural presentations by the participants. The second day of the Sangam was marked by several competitive events. The venue was named as Birsa Nagar where 16 different colonies were erected after the national luminaries.
Inaugurating the Sangam, RSS Sarsanghchalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan said, ?Those, who feel that only the missionaries can help Vanvasis, should open their eyes and see this Sangam. Started in 1953 Vidya Bharati, the largest educational institution of the country, is creating a chain of schools in Vanvasi areas. There is hardly any government school near the Vanvasi villages. If there is any, then that is found in too worse a condition to be able to impart education. The teachers in such schools come to just collect their salaries and they lack self-inspiration. It is also a fact that Vanvasis hesitate to send their children to missionary schools as they fear that such schools keep their children away from their samskars.?
The Sarsanghchalak strongly advocated social awakening to make people aware of the importance of education. The government cannot ensure a proper method of teaching in each and every school. The society should acknowledge its responsibility and force the system to work. He pointed out that a school in Maharashtra achieved cent per cent attendance of both teachers and students after the villagers imposed a daily fine of Re 1 for the absence of students and Rs 51 for the teachers.
He added that some anti-social elements were posing a serious challenge in Vidya Bharati'seducational endeavour to reform the society through value-based education to the underprivileged. Citing incidents of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where the Naxalites had threatened Vidya Bharati activists to discontinue teaching in remote areas, he said no government had the right to stay in power if it failed to ensure peace in the society. Shri Sudarshan made a fervent appeal to the extremists to shun violence and take part in the nation-building process. He said they should learn a lesson from the erstwhile USSR and China.
Presiding over the Sangam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Babulal Gaur blamed the Congress for providing covert support to the missionaries, which had led to forced conversions of Vanvasis. He said some influential people and institutions were indulging in propagating the misleading information about Vanvasis. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Dr Raman Singh lauded the Vidya Bharati'scampaign for infusing the sense of patriotism into the masses through education. Jharkhand Chief Minister, Arjun Munda said, ?education is a real hunger of the people in the state.?