Intro: The Second Rashtriya Sewa Sangam organised in Delhi from April 4 to 6 brought together more than 3,000 delegates representing over 700 sewa organisations engaged in various types of sewa activities in all states and the bigwigs of corporate sector. True to the theme of the Sangam ‘Samaras Bharat, Samridha Bharat’, this Collective Social Responsibility gives a new meaning to the concept of CSR.
The second Rashtriya Sewa Sangam concluded on April 6 with a pledge to meet in 2020 with double the sewa projects and double the number of organisations associated with the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati. RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat specifically called upon the workers to leave no areas untouch with sewa activity and associate more people with the projects. “Leave this place with a clear vision, pledge and an action plan in mind to meet after five years with double the number of service projects and leaving no area untouch with sewa activity,” he said.
“Leave this place with a clear vision, pledge and an action plan in mind to meet after five years with double the number of service projects and
Prime objective of sewa is to generate the feeling of self-respect among those being served. This is how we can turn today’s beneficiries into tomorrow’s benefectors.
Sewa Sangam is not merely an event it is part of a greater movement, as we want to make sewa a ‘mantra’ of life for everyone. It is time to identify the weak points in the society and work to correct them timely.
“The prime objective of the Sewa Sangam is to bring the people engaged in sewa activities at one
After meeting the people engaged in sewa activities here I feel myself a very small person. It is the assembly of dedicated people who have sacrificed themselves for the society. They work in highly remote areas without seeking any publicity to their work and expecting anything in exchange. I am here not as chairman of Zee Group but as a swayamsevak.”
Organised at specially created Samarasata Nagar combining three resorts together, the Sewa Sangam 2015 was a historic event in many senses. It was for the first time that more than 3,000 delegates representing over 700 sewa organisations from all over the country assembled at one place and shared their experiences with each other. They also discussed and formulated action plan for further expansion of the work. The presence of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi at the inaugural session and the Wipro Chairman Shri Azim Premji as well as GMR Group MD Shri GM Rao on second day along with hundreds of other leading philanthropists of Delhi and surrounding areas proved motivating for the delegates.
The first Sewa Sangam held in Bengaluru in 2010 laid the foundation of organising Sewa Sangams at Prant level. At that time 930 delegates representing 452 sewa organistions had participated. The experiment proved helpful in mobilising different Sewa organisations at Prant level. The strength which was basically mobilised through Prant Sewa Sangams was witnessed in this Rashtriya Sewa Sangam. On March 3, an exhibition was inaugurated by Swami Rajrajeshwarasharam and leading film director Shri Subhash Ghai. A total 31 stalls were set up in the Exhibition.
Addressing the Sewa Sangam on April 5, Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat said every deprived person should get the benefit of the sewa and there should be no discrimination among the beneficiaries on the basis of way of worship, region, language or community. “Sewa has to be done without expecting anything in exchange. Also there should be no ego in sewa. Nobody should have the feeling that we are helping anybody. We want to make the society strong. Only then it will stand for the welfare of the world. Our objective is to turn today’s beneficiaries into tomorrow’s benefactors,” he said.
Shri GM Rao, founder chairman of GMR Group, said just like the entrepreneurs and businessmen are economic engine for the country, the voluntary organisations and philanthropists too are social engine for the country. They both are equally required for development and growth of the country, society and the people. “We have good number of NGOs but what is required is collaboration amongst them. It is good that the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati is providing that platform so that each one can connect with each other. I highly appreciate the great work being done by the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati,” he said.
Earlier on April 4, RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi said the prime objective of sewa is to generate the feeling of self-respect among those being served. “There are about 35 crore people into the country who need support. They cannot be brought in the mainstream solely depending upon the government. The government can only provide facilities, the real awakening has to be brought about by the society. We should have the feeling that whatever we have today has to be shared with the society. Our action should be according to the needs of the society. Any work done without the feeling of sensitivity cannot awaken the society in real sense,” he said.
RSS Sahsarkaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal said the then Sarsanghachalak Shri Balasaheb Deoras in 1989 had set a target of 5,000 sewa projects before the workers. They achieved that target before 1995. And today we have over 1.5 lakh sewa projects across the country. But the speed and the number of the projects have to be accelerated and after five years when we meet in the Third Sewa Sangam the numbers of the projects should be double.
Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sewa Pramukh Shri Ajit Prasad Mohapatra said the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati is trying to bridge the gap between the haves and haves not. “We are connecting the well to do people with the deprived one, as we feel that it is the collective responsibility of all to make the country strong and for that everyone has to be stronger. Through various activities we are generating self-respect among the deprived people so that they can stand on their own feet. More than 700 such organisations working with same vision and goal have assembled here to further expand this work collectively.”
Speaking at the concluding session on April 6, RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale termed the Sewa Sangam as ‘advitiya’ (extraordinary). He said the Sewa Sangam is not merely an event it is part of a greater movement, as we want to make sewa as ‘mantra’ of life for everyone. He said sewa is a medium to repay the social debt. Unfolding action plan before the workers he said skill and mindset are needed to execute the plans and to make them result oriented. “When we talk about expansion of the work in coming five years we should clearly understand that it has to be expanded in all respects. We have to start the activities keeping in view the needs of the people, but the quality and impact of the work should also increase accordingly,” he said. He stressed the need to acquire specialisation in the respective fields. “The onslaughts are made on the weakest points of the society. Therefore, it is time to identify the weak points and work to correct them timely. Only then we can make Bharat a strong nation in real sense,” he added.
Retired people need to spare two years for sewa: Amma Inaugurating the Sewa Sangam, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi called upon the retired fathers and mothers to spend at least two years in villages in order to conduct classes that foster values in children there. “We should hold regular classes to teach our children about the values of Sanatan Dharma. At every temple there should be funds set aside to distribute spiritual books to children for free. Instead of only taking our children to scenic locations for holidays, we should also take them to poor villages so that they can see for themselves the lives of the less fortunate. This will help them develop compassion and service-mindedness from a young age,” Amma said.
Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath touched the heart of the delegates when he said whatever was good in the Sewa Sangam was because of the workers and whatever went wrong was because of him as Sewa Pramukh. He called upon the workers that after five years when we meet in next Sewa Sangam there should remain no Basti, street or locality in the country where we do not have any sewa activity. “Our work should be multi-dimensional touching all needy people. Let us move ahead taking other people with us.
Good education is the key to make India a global power : Azim Premji
Good Education is not about rote memorisation and getting good grades, it’s about ability to think critically, to question, and to develop the individual’s autonomy. Good Education is about developing good human beings, who are empowered to make informed and ethical decisions, and who grow into responsible and caring citizens. First, our aim should not be to create a parallel system of private schools, but to revamp and enable the vast existing public system which today reaches almost every village in our country. It is imperative that we revitalise this system. Second, the problem is while we have many excellent policies and intentions, our execution on the ground has been very weak. We must focus on execution and implementation on the ground. Third, improving the entire Education system is only possible if we carry all stakeholders with us. This means that not only must all the states be committed and its institutions involved, but most importantly that our millions of Teachers be motivated to change. We must recognize the critical role of Teachers and make them partners in the change. Fourth, improving the Teacher Education system, including the B.Ed., D.Ed. colleges is crucial if we want to develop good teachers. Fifth, we must make sustained and systematic efforts to develop the capacity of existing teachers by providing comprehensive on the ground support in multiple ways, including opportunities and mechanisms for peer learning. This will require revamping our Cluster and Block Resource Centers as well as our 600 odd existing District Institutes of Educational Training (DIETs) which can then take the lead in addressing the multiple needs of school Education, including capacity development of Teachers. Sixth, it is also most important to improve early childhood care for our preschool children to ensure they receive proper nutrition and early Education.
After reaching our respective areas focus should be on organising Sewa Sangams at District levels involving all organsations active there whether local or national.
|Udyogvardhini Solapur: Over 15000 women become self-reliant
“Solapur based Udyogvardhini has so far groomed over 400 women entrepreneurs and helped more than 15,000 women to become self-reliant. It mainly runs three kinds of activities—catering, counselling and old age home. It is firm not to start its own industry on large scale, rather develops individual entrepreneurs. The activities for self-reliance include Beauty Parlour, Bhaakri Making, Book Binding, Catering Service, Fire Wood Seller, House Maid Placement, Small Grocery Shop, Tailoring Shop, Vegetable Seller, Groundnut Chatni Making, Manufacturing Units, FMCG Products, Gift Items, Handicrafts, etc. Apart from it training is imparted for chalk making, cookery class, incense sticks making, hand paper making, hand work on dress materials, two-wheeler driving, etc.”
—Chandrika Chauhan Founder Chairperson
|Youth For Seva: Making youth as change agents
“Youth for Seva’s primary focus is to enable individuals especially the youth who have the intent to do something for the society but are unable to find the ways and means to where to start. During the last seven years of our journey we have enabled more than 4,000 youth. Through this journey many of them have become good positive change agents. Some of them have started their own organisations now. Some are working to bring about waste management change. We have created a platform for Doctors for Seva. This initiative has mobilised medical professionals to work for the society. Through it we are covering on large scale the health care programmes in slums and government schools.
Another new dimension where the YFS is actively working is the Corporate Volunteering. Many companies are looking to engage their workers as volunteers. YFS plays an important role to engaging them meaningfully in their days of service–where to work and how to work and how to sensitise the employees on large-scale on social issues. Sewa Sangam provided us a platform to connect with like-minded youth from other parts of the country. Now we are operating in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi. Here we have been able to create key contacts in other states also like in Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Jharkhand, etc. We are basically making youth as change agents. —Venkatesh Murthy
Hindu Seva Pratishthan: 4,500 Sevavratis in remote areas
“Started in 1980, the single activity of the Hindu Seva Pratishthan which attracted the attention of the people from all over the county is Sevavrati Yojna. Youth, both boys and girls, dedicate some time of their life in the service of the society. In the beginning it was thought that women would not join it. But the response from the women has been so huge that today 80 per cent of the Sevavratis are women. A total of 4,500 people have worked or are working as Sevavratis in different states including Kerala, Karnataka, Manipur. Some Sevavratis are working in Naxal affected areas too. The Pratisthan also runs Nele (for desitute children), Sevakirana (education and cultural centres in slums), Aruna Chetana (school of excellence for differently able children), Vidyanidhi (scholarships for students from economically backward classes), Apta Salaha Kendra (counselling for the needy minds and souls), Parisara Samrakshane (for maintaining the ecological balance), Yoga Bharathi (for a fit body and a fresh mind), Youth For Seva (involving youth, students and young professionals for community development), Nele Swalamban (vocational training for economically weaker sections), etc.” —Suresh, Director, Director
Dr Ambedkar Vanvasi Kalyan Trust: 1,200 educated youth pledge to stay in villages
“Dr Ambedkar Vanvasi Kalyan Trust is working since 1999 in three districts of Southern Gujarat—Tapi, Narmada and Dang. Training, health, agriculture, self-reliance and women empowerment are the focus areas. Since Surat is expanding, farming is dying in surrounding villages. Urban life attracted the people and they migrated. But they could not earn the amount which was required to live a dignified life there. In order to improve the farm production we imparted them special training. We offered them special rice seeds which produce about 2.5 times more. As a result 1,200 educated Vanvasis rural youth, including girls, have pledged to live farm-based life throughout their life. Now they are working with enthusiasm and the primary results are encouraging. Many posts are reserved for Vanvasis in governments, but the benefit is not availed by those who really deserve it. We encouraged Vanvasi youth to dream for civil services. We imparted them training and seven of them now have been selected for various posts of officers.” — Himanshu Bhatt
Vandemataram Foundation: The LLL Remedy
“The government survey report on education pointed out that the students of 10th standard are not able to properly read the books of 2nd standard. The students of 8th standard find it difficult in simple arithmetic calculation like plus, minus, multiplication, etc. Life skills are too weak that after reading a portion they cannot interpret that. The students can pass 10th and 12th standard or even degree courses but they severely lack basic fundamental knowledge. As a remedy the Vandematam Foundation started LLL programme—language, logic and life skills. It is the outcome of our eight years research and now the volunteers are showing perfect results in government schools. The Education Department has formally included this method in the 5th class curriculum. On government request we have imparted training to 7,000 principals of different schools. We have designed a mechanism for teaching language and logic. For life skills we have started the experiment of Bal Sabhas conducted on every Saturday after lunch. Students with different interests express their feelings freely in the Bal Sabha. This Bal Sabha is tomorrow’s Gram Sabha, from Gram Sabha to Vidhan Sabha and then Vidhan Sabha to Lok Sabha. The students are also encouraged to ask questions freely. We have implemented this LLL programme in 200 schools and the results have been encouraging. We are now planning to implement this programme at the national level.” —Madhav Reddy
|Sewa Bharati Tamil Nadu: 14000 SHGs in one District
“During 1990s, people living in some villages of Kanyakumari district were at the mercy of local money lenders for funds. They charged exorbitant rate of interest—called ‘kanthu vatti’. That was severely affecting social fabric of the lower middle class. Those who fell into this dragnet were targeted and religious conversion was also happening silently. Under such circumstances the Sewa Bharati started constituting Self-Help Groups. Now about 1,400 SHGs are functioning in Kanyakumari district alone—100 male and 1,300 female. They have proved to be medium of total social transformation. In 2005, a Vanvasi settlement, Thachamalai, was under a severe debt problem. People had huge borrowings from the local money lenders. Lands were being taken over by the money lenders as the people failed to repay the loan. The SHGs decided to rescue them. The SHGs granted loans to the farmers for farm activities. The farming proved profitable and within two or three years majority of farmers repaid the loans. The SHG members also worked together in each other’s farm without payment. This also saved money. This is just an example. There are hundreds of such examples which tell the success of the SHGs. During 2005-06 the state government approached the Sewa Bharati to help in implementing total sanitation programme. In Kanyakumari, there are 30 registered voluntary organisations, but Sewa Bharati was given this work for implementation.
—Ramakrishnan, Tamil Nadu
|Sewa Bharati Purbanchal: Arogya Rakshaks as catalysts of change
“Sewa work in North-East began in 1996. But it took the concrete shape in 1998 when Sewa Bharati Purbanchal was formed. The main focus has been remote areas where the government agencies or the voluntary organisations have not yet reached. The sewa activities are conducted through 35 societies/trusts. The Arogya Mitra scheme has been a big hit. The scheme was started 12 years back. Dr Arun Kumar Bannerjee, who previously worked in a Medical College, is now guiding the scheme. About 12,000 Arogya Rakshaks have been trained and they are working in different areas. They provide primary medical care in 7,000 villages where there is acute shortage of these facilities. They are now mature enough to further provide training to the new Arogya Rakshaks. There is no region of north-eastern states where Arogya Rakshaks are not working. Yoga has also proved to be a big hit. During the last 10 year about 1,200 Yoga teachers have been trained in the region. Yoga Vidyalaya of Nashik helped us in this regard. This work is becoming popular especially in urban areas. There are regular 140 yoga centres which benefited over one lakh people. Neurotheraphy has also become popular. Dhanwantari Sewa Yatra is conducted for the last 12 years to provide specialised medical help in remote areas. Around 200 doctors from reputed hospitals join it every year. It emotionally connected these people with rest of the country.” —Naresh Vikal,
Kshetra Organising Secretary
Apart from it, we should also organise Gram Vikas Sewa Sangams at Prant level bringing various organistions engaged in rural development work together. Similarly, the organisations working for cow protection should also be mobilised through Prant level Sewa Sangams. All these activities will bring good and dedicated people with us,” he said.
Pramod Kumar from Samarasta Nagar