Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Nov 12, 2011

Unparalleled example of making a dream come true!

The year is 1946. the day is 3rd March, quite a  hot day of impending summer.  The place is a remote village in western India. Two simple looking men (one is 66 years old and other precisely a decade younger) are arranging their spartan personal belongings in an 8 ft x 10 ft sized makeshift dwelling under a mango tree. The area is infested with gangs of robbers and dacoits. 

They have the burning ambition to do something for the people of their area. They have spent lot of time in ambitiously planning to build a new educational town. With no resources in hand, they had held a meeting in a small neighbouring village, predominantly comprising of farmers. They were persuading farmers to donate their land for their dream project, which would benefit one and all in times to come. 

One of them - the younger of the two - had drawn an ingenious plan which offered a deal, with all sincerity, integrity and commitment: 

By October 1943, Bhaikaka had planned a complete and compact town of learning. The town would have provision of almost all the faculties of education, with learning facilities from KG to PG, and even a University. He planned a town with all infrastructural facilities like electricity, water supply and roads. He envisioned supportive facilities like a market, a post office, temple, a hospital, a community hall, recreational facilities and a vast playground.

Farmers will give their land free of cost for their project. They would develop the entire are and soon the market value will sky-rocket. At that point of time, they would return to each donor a piece of land measuring 1/3rd of his originally donated land. The market price of this small piece will far, far more than compensate him as compared to his initial philanthropy.

With such a win-win proposal and a desire to be useful to the society at large, the plan worked well. 

At one such meeting in a village, the response was so astounding that the village population spread the map of the village land before these two benevolent taskmasters and offered them a pencil to choose the land size they need. Donations rained that day in the small village of Bakrol and 555 acres of land was spontaneously offered. The educations mega city was now not a mere dream but a work-in-progress.

They despised the idea of borrowing know-how and do- how from anywhere. So they started to bake bricks for the buildings locally. Soon to follow were a workshop and foundry, cement pipe factory, tiles factory, rubber factory and prestressed concrete factory to produce, in addition to bricks, lime, timber doors and windows, flooring tiles, hume pipes and various concrete products.

And why not?  What they produced was cheaper in cost, superior in quality and employed local people. Next, they silently started to transform the social stigmas such as un-touchabilty, divided factions through narrow religious beliefs and caste system. So, they invited a Harijan to inaugurate the brick-kiln, a Muslim mechanic to lay the foundation of the workshop and foundry and a Brahmin to lay the first brick of the Science College! They did not miss out to start even a printing press for printing handbills, booklets, books, research journals and question papers! Not to mention that they planted a thousand trees.

They had blessings of  Sardar Patel,  Mahatma Gandhi and the like. Their extraordinary hard work brought  into existence their first college in  June 1947. Its  B.A. and B.Sc. classes had no roofs - just tall walls. After the classes were over,  the  teachers and students carried, with cheer, bricks and mortar, toiling  along with the skilled and semi-skilled construction workers !

Sir C.V. Raman and Lady Raman graced the first Annual Day celebration of the college.

Justice M.C. Chagla, Vice -Chancellor, University of Bombay, during his visit to  in 1947, was all praise for it when he said, "I came here... and found a new magic. Dreams have come to reality. As the Vice- Chancellor, I am proud that such an ideal college is affiliated to the University of Bombay.'

In next five years came up two more colleges: commerce and engineering. Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor General,  declared open the engineering college on 14th June, 1948 and had praised this "experiment in village reconstruction"  . He said that “ from the start the organizers have kept before them the project of a residential university and I am glad to see the educational areas of the township have been planned accordingly.. it is a real pleasure for me to perform this ceremony , the last of its kind of which will be my pleasure to perform in India as governor general”

Jawaharlal Nehru, who laid the foundation stone  of this new educational town observed"...The first thing I have liked is that the activities here have the object of serving village people. The other thing I have liked is that you do not care whether your house is ready or not. You know how to start putting it to use and start your activities. Here we find harmony of principle and practice. This institution by itself prepares its requirements. I earnestly hope that the example of this institution will not only be followed in this province but throughout the country..."

Many reputed men of letters from all over the country joined  college as teachers in response to the appeal of the founders who ensured that the quality of education imparted was first- rate. In order that new teachers too equip their students with the latest advances in their respective disciplines they sent nearly a dozen teachers to U.K.U.S.A. and Germany  for receiving advanced training in research.

The engineering college was the first one started by a private trust in the entire Bombay State, which extended from Karachi to Dharvad, and the first one in the state. The commerce college foundation stone  was laid in 1950 by Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Establishment of Gram Panchayat (1954) & railway station  (1956) added new dimension to the prolific development . And all this within a short span of only eight years !

The enthusiasm was unstoppable. Within ten years of its foundation it became a university township in October 1955. As a befitting gesture expressing their deepest gratitude, people were happy to see the elder of the two founders being appointed as its first vice chancellor.
Today, the campus hums with almost 45 institutions,  beginning with primary schools, technical school, offering graduate courses in arts, science, commerce, engineering,  fine arts, music, dance, pharmacy, applied science, environmental design, English training and research, home science, career development centre, management education, physical education, ayurvedic study and research, language studies, applied social sciences, women’s  institute for engineering, research in computer and communication technology, ayurveda hospital and maternity home, IAS academy, etc. etc.

To imagine that this happened so long ago, without the help of present day time saving tools and facilities like high speed transportation and communication is itself mind boggling.

The two  founding fathers were none other than Shri Bhailalbhai Patel (Bhaikaka) ( 1880-1970)  (pictured  on the left) and Shri Bhikhabhai Patel (1890-1955); the driving force and inspiration behind the entire concept was Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel (1875-1950)( with the university named after him to immortalize his contribution in this entire project, as also  the educational campus : Vallabh Vidyanagar in Gujarat.)

Nov 8, 2011

The Record Breaker Beauty Ambassador...

" Miss Venezuela, Ivian Sarcos, is  crowned the 61st Miss World, 2011 " 

Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares , the winner , had an uncertain future when she , one of the 13 siblings, became an orphan at the age of 8; sadly her parents passed away. 

She  was studying to be a nun but eventually gave up the idea and decided to start her career as a model . We know who lost and who gained by this decision. 

Today she is wearing the crown which was a special gift from the Queen Elizabeth of England for the Miss World pageant.

She becomes the sixth crown holder in her country, a world record ( which so  far  was tied with India witha 5-5 score). Her country was waiting for this since last 16 years.  

"V" for Venus, for Venezuela, for Miss "Vvorld" blog post of 14th Sept,2009 flashes today in my mind" . What passion, what pain and what pursuit do these girls with nerves made of metals undergo in this small, country full of would-be Venuses! 

OMG.  Worth re-reading? You decide !

Simple Living and High Thinking... deep down in wilderness!

The British colonials gave the aborigines of Africa a name: Bushman.

Though struggling for their daily survival, they are excellent philosophers. Their attitude is reflected in their simple life and simple customs.

They are on the move each day of their lives for water and food. They have limited names, say about thirty-five for each gender (they think it fosters a “name kinship”). The women enjoy high importance and their opinions often take precedence. They hunt with a poisoned arrow which is neuro toxic, meaning that it affects the brain of the prey but does not contaminate the whole body. The portion where the arrow hit the prey is cut out and thrown away before consuming the hunted animal.

They take birth, wedding and death also very casually.

They are not big issues. A Bushman woman who is about to give a birth will simply go behind a bush  (sorry, no pun is intended) and just ‘squeeze out’  the baby, have the baby and be back for her routine life in a short while, say an hour or so, unless there is some complication when an older woman could be called for help.

A wedding is a private affair between the bride and the groom and only in exceptional cases, a guest may be invited. Boys are not considered as men until they have killed a large, dangerous animal.

If some one dies, the clan will move away from that spot after burying the dead alongwith his or her possessions and never camp at that spot again. The dead person’s knees are folded and brought near the chin while burying, believing that this makes him ready for his new journey (a position resembling the foetus inside the mother?)

I did not start this post to write about the Bushmen but a beautiful piece of their wisdom:

“The day we die, a soft breeze will wipe our footprints in the sand.
When wind dies down, who will tell the timelessness that
Once we walked this way in the dawn of the time”

Or this similar thought, written differently:

The day we die,
The wind comes down
To take away
Our footprints

The wind makes dust,
To cover up
The marks we left
While walking.

For otherwise
The thing would seem
As if we were
Still living

Therefore, the wind
Is he who comes
To blow away
Our footprints.”

Need we say or learn anything more?

Oct 23, 2011

what a heart sings is poetry!

આમ અચાનક આપ જ્યાં, મળવા આવ્યા ત્યાંજ
રોમે રોમે ઉજવ્યો, અંદરથી તહેવાર
* * *

અહિયાં ફર્યું જે રીતથી ત્યાં પણ ફર્યું હશે,
એકાદ પીંછું યાદનું ત્યાં પણ ખર્યું હશે.  
( અંકિત ત્રિવેદી)
* * *

પોથી કરતાં તો  એક સપનું સારું
જે મને જીવવાની લગની લગાડે - (કિરીટ ગોસ્વામી)

* * *

બંધ ઘરની એ ઉદાસીઓ બધી પી જાય છે
એક કોયલ આંગણામાં રોજ ટહુકી જાય છે 

કોઈ પણ હાલત માં ખુશ રહેવાનું મન શીખી ગયું

એટલે મારાં બધાયે દર્દ હાંફી જાય છે -

- (કિરણ ચૌહાણ)
* * *
એક માણસ હારવાનો વારતાના અંતમાં
હું દિલાસો આપવાનો વારતાના અંતમાં
જિંદગીભર આપતા આવ્યા છો  જાકારો ભલે 
હું તમારો લાગવાનો વારતાના અંતમાં - (દિનેશ કાનાણી)
* * *

આ તે કઈ રીત છે?
સંબંધના ચણતરમાં લાંબી તિરાડ
અને પાયામાં શરતોની ઈંટ છે.- (આશા પુરોહિત)
* * *

એક ખીલીને 
ભણવા બેસાડી ...
ગ્રેજુએટ થઇ ને આવી
ત્યાં સુધીમાં તો 
સ્ક્રુ બની ગઈ!!  - (જિજ્ઞાસુ દક્ષિણી)

* * *
તળાવ પુરાઈ જાય 
એટલે શું પુરાઈ જાય છે?
 તરસ?  - ( મનીષા જોશી)

* * *

ઝાડ,  તને મારા સોગંદ
સાચું કહેજે એક પંખી ની જેમ કદી ઉડવાનું થાય તને મન ?

ઝાડ,  તને છાંયે બેઠેલો એક માણસ ગમે કે છાંયે  બેઠેલી એક ગાય?
સાંજ પડ્યે પંખી જો પાછું ન આવે તો પાંદડા માં  ડૂમો ભરાય?
છોડ્યું ના છૂટે વળગણ,

સાચું કહેજે એક પંખી ની જેમ હવે  ઉડવાનું થાય તને મન ?
ઝાડ,  તને મારા સોગંદ - (હિતેન આનંદપરા)

* * *

આવે ગઝલ માં  જે રીતે બસ આવવા દીધી,
મેં લાગણી ની કોઈ દી'  માત્રા ગણી નથી.

એથી જ પ્રેમ પામવાની આશ છે હજી
તેં હા કહી નથી મને, ના પણ ભણી નથી. - (મકરંદ મુસળે)

Oct 17, 2011

Mentoring - the golden touch of a master

For personal growth, self-esteem and self-worth are immensely essential.

We may feel very lowly about ourselves, despite all our talents and skills.

Just a little boost, some mentoring, some one kindly showing us a mirror and letting us know who we actually are! Those who are lucky, get such people in their lives. And they suddenly find a surge of energy and enthusiasm and urge to achieve and excel, with confidence level that was never so high.

It is the grace of our mentors: small and great, old and young – who made us believe in ourselves. How can we repay this debt? One, we must remember and thank very often, Secondly, pass on the legacy of mentoring on to some one who come in our touch and help that person realize their self-worth.

Here is a beautiful poem by Myra 'Brooks' Welch, the ‘poet with a singing soul” (originally published by her anonymously in a church magazine but later she was identified as the writer of this much too popular and greatly inspiring piece of work).

There is an interesting background:

She wrote it just in 30 minutes in 1921 after she was greatly touched by listening to a speaker when she was a student. She thought it came from the God and must not have a claim on it as a writer. It sparked like magic and touched many a hearts. When it became popular was read once in an international convention as an anonymously written poem, a man stood up and said that he knew her and it is high time the world also knew her. “She is my mother”, he said.

It tells splendidly what one hardly can say about the golden touch of a master (in shaping our lives, as it were).

Here it is:

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.

"What am I bidden, good folks?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar"; then, "Two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?

Three dollars, once; three dollars twice;
Going for three" But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;

Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.

"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."

Oct 7, 2011

Sing aloud "all is well" when you are hurt

I came across today a wonderful lyrics of a song  by the popular US band R.E.M. that transported me to a popular Hindi film song from the film '3 Idiots'.

Both are having a common thread, a philosophy that liberalizes one self from the grief and hurt. Who has not experienced it?

So let the lyrics enthrall and elevate us, with least interference of any sort

Everybody Hurts


When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on

'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand. Oh, no. Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you've had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone

All Is Well

(Swadanand Kirkire)

जब लाइफ हो आउट ऑफ़ कंट्रोल
होंठों को कर के गोल
होंठों को कर के गोल
सीटी बजा के  बोल

इज्ज्ज़ वेल

क्या जाने अंडे का क्या  होगा
अरी लाइफ मिलेगी या तवी पे फ्राय होगा
कोई न जाने  अपना फ्यूचर क्या  होगा

होंठ घुमा 
सीटी  बजा
सीटी  बजा  के  बोल
भैया आल इज्ज़ वेल

अरे  भैया आल इज्ज़ वेल
अरे चाचू आल इज्ज़ वेल 
अरे भैया आल इज्ज़ वेल

कनफूजन ही कनफूजन है
सोलुशन कुछ पता नहीं
सोलुशन  जो मिला तो साला
क्वेश्चन क्या  था पता  नहीं

जो  तेरा बात बात  पे घबराए
दिल  पे  रख के  हाथ
उसे तू फुसला ले
दिल  इडिअट है  
प्यार से उसको समझा ले

होंठ घुमा 
सीटी  बजा
सीटी  बजा  के  बोल
भैया आल इज्ज़ वेल

स्कोलरशिप की पि गया दारु
ग़म तो फिर भी मिटा नहीं
अगरबत्तियां राख हो  गयी
गोड़  तो  फिर  भी दिखा नहीं

बकरा क्या  जान उसकी जान  का  क्या  होगा
सीख घुसेगी या  साला  कीमा होगा
कोई न जाने  अपना फ्यूचर क्या  होगा

होंठ घुमा 
सीटी  बजा
सीटी  बजा  के  बोल
भैया आल इज्ज़ वेल
अरे  भैया आल इज्ज़ वेल