Newsletter January 2013

Ekal Dubai Celebrates 100 years of Indian Cinema

The ‘Ekal’ evening in Dubai, in the first week of October was indeed beautiful and great. It was a special program of music and dance celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema.
H. E. M K Lokesh, Amassador of India to UAE, was the chief guest. Dr Juma Al Matrooshi, Dr B R Shetty, Dr Gangaramani, Dr Ram Buxani, Sri Maghanmal Pancholia, Sri Badar Al Turki from Saudi Arabia, Sri Vasu Shroff, Dr Bharat Butany, Sri K V Rama Moorthy, Sri A K Gupta, Sri Gordon Robertson, Sri Bharat Bhai Shah, Sri Harsh Kamani, Sri Rob Broedelet & Sri Ajay Menon were guests of honor.
Smt. Geeta Chhabra, President EVF, UAE gave welcome speech, which touched everyone’s heart. In her message, in a sublime poetry, there was concern for the under-privileged.
The souvenir – ‘Glory to Education’, third one from the EVF, UAE Chapter, was released by the chief guest of the evening and was given to the members of the audience. ‘Mudra Dance Institute’ performed dances which included both the old and new numbers from different Indian movies paying tribute to hundred years of Indian Cinema.

It was also announced there that Sharjah and Abu Dhabi would have soon active presence of Ekal. The guests felt ecstatic and overwhelmed with the programme with a purpose of serving society through ‘Ekal’.


Strathfield Spring festival, Sydney

Ekal is always on the lookout for opportunities to reach out to the wider community and spread the message. In this vain Ekal volunteers set up a stall at Strathfield Spring festival on Sunday 2nd September. The fair was organized by the Strathfield Council at Strathfield Park located on Homebush & Chalmers Road, Strathfield, Sydney.
Volunteers provided information about the Ekal Movement to the festival visitors and distributed brochures & sponsorship forms. From the previous experience and popularity of Henna painting, this time also volunteers organized this activity for the whole day and the response was overwhelming.


Recognition for Good Work

Dr. Sven Volkmuth and Ms. Jacynthe Omglin both have an NGO called “Chance for Growth" in Germany. In Kolkata, they came to know about Friends of Tribals Society, and were very impressed with the working of EKal Vidalaya (EV). Thereafter, in 2009 they came to Bangalore and had two meetings with them to understand working of EV. They also went to Vanayatra besides attending one of their medical camps.

Upon their return to Germany, they had sent donations of Rs 79, 609/-, which included two medical camps, and two schools. In subsequent years i e 2010 and 2011, they had sent the donations for 4 schools, and 6 schools respectively.  This year, they have increased their support to 15 schools.

What they said about Ekal’s work – “during our last Chance for Growth annual meeting, our members were so amazed by your work that we would like to allocate € 3500 for a project that you could propose. Thank you very much for your work!  Best regards from Germany.”


Friends of Tribals Society – Bazaar

FTS – Mahila Samity had organized an FTS – Bazaar ‘Navya Jhalak” in the last week of September 2012, at A.C Hall of Bain School, Chennai. It was inaugurated by Smt. Srikanta Jhaver, President, FICCI, Ladies Wing, Chennai. Dr. K.Nirmala Prasad, Principal, MOP Vaishnav College for Women, was the guest of honor and Smt. Pushpa Mundhra, President, All India Mahila Samity, graced the occasion.

From all parts of the country, there were 58 participating stalls, and response was overwhelming. The event was sponsored by M/s Sharon Plywoods, M/s Nalli Chinnasamy Chetty, M/s Suryadev Alloys & Steel and many more. Since last four years the event has been taking place, and this year the surplus amount would go in funding seventy three Ekal Vidyalayas.
The event was followed by Deepawali get together wherein all present members actively participated. It turned out to be a very enjoyable day for everyone.


Kolkata Annual Meet

Kolkata chapter had also organized Rastriyha Kavi Sammelan on the occasion of their 24th Annual Function held on last day of September, 2012, wherein Dr. Bishnu Saxena, Sri Arun Jemini, Sri Sampat Saral. Sri Vinit Chouhan and Mrs Anju Rehebar participated. Sri Hari Prasad Kanoria, a renowned industrialist, was the chief guest.


Vana Yatra to Ekal Vidyalaya

We decided to visit Ekal Vidyalayas on 29th Nov.2012. To  make a brighter sense, Ekal Vidyalayas are semi-school structured institutions which can be drawn close to ancient aged “Gurukuls” (Guru-Sishya practice) functioning in the interior parts of the country which turns to be a sagacious one.

There is a huge difference between the other Schools and the education preached in Ekal Vidyalayas. A major one being ‘Discipline’ which is an implied area of specialization when it comes to Gurukul. All the moral values that the great people have taught us, can be witnessed here. Culture, values, ethics, moral and morale are to be taken as the core subjects.

When we name the field, this Ekal Vidyalaya practices in virtual which makes every eyebrow to rise high. For instance, say health and they sermonize Yoga. Say fitness, they practice finest games with fine values imbibed along.

My visit was a bolt from the blue. This Ekal Vidyalaya at “Lakshmi Veedu” village in the God’s own country viz the Kerala State is just 4-5 kms away from the Tamil Nadu border at the Aanaikatti city. I travelled with a volunteer of Ekal Vidyalaya, Mr.Koushik on a motorbike. The journey was an adventure itself. The zone we entered was an “Elephant Entry Zone”. Randomly you find elephants coming on the way and blocking the roads and these kinds of incidents are very casual. At very rare circumstances the situation would be out of hands.  Mr.Koushik also brought a not so well bike which instilled a sense of fear among us. Finally we managed to reach the place and Mr.Murugan, a 19 year old student studying BBA at a College in Coimbatore guided us the way. This 19 year old Mr.Murugan has become one of my inspirations ever since I met him there for his dedicated service and hard work for the Ekal Vidyalayas.

Since it was a surprise and a spontaneous visit we went directly to the Ekal Vidyalaya center and the regular proceedings at Ekal Vidyalaya had started around 5.00 PM. Every Ekal Vidyalaya starts with a Prayer. Prayer ends when they gear up to do Yoga. After Yoga it was the Dance. After Dance they do their exclusive tribal activity or the sane activity like storytelling in oral and dance forms.  The motive behind this exercise and recreation is to make them fresh mentally and physically to concentrate on the next session of studies. Let us not forget that our lives are based on practicality. Small things create a major impression. To prove this phrase, I observed that these students who were 12 in number in an orderly manner arranged their footwear and put me in shame as a big question mark. How many of us do that in reality? Though we know such acts create a strong impression. For the best reasons these Ekal Vidyalayas help the children to learn basic values and respect in the life.

Education is more than a luxury. It is a responsibility that society owes to itself. Guilty has accused my memory. I have personally never done this every day in my life. If Ekal Vidyalayas are the reason why this practice is being carried out by lakhs of students across the country today; doesn’t Ekal Vidyalayas deserve a big credit? For sure these children were not given with best of the facilities one could offer. They mostly study at government schools and they are categorized as Below Poverty Line category. At a time when the parents of these family worry about their children’s future and education; Ekal Vidyalayas rightly fills the gap and provides the needy to all these under-privileged families. I thoroughly envied that “It would have been better if I had the chance to attend Ekal Vidyalayas at my young age”. I am sure I would have been more disciplined and clearer if I had got the similar opportunity.

Having a chance to converse with these blessed children, I for obvious reasons utilize it to the fullest.  All these stars were very sure on the concept that they wanted to learn more in life (not bracketed to studies), excel in sports and accomplish greater heights in life. Aren’t we remembered of the Legend who spelled Legendary words? I am talking about Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam. These upcoming stars of India are brought up to have elevated dreams and to pursue for it and I am sure for with Institutions like these pursuing these dreams is a worthy one.

Time to depart from this memories filled place. I again salute the Ekal Vidyalaya for doing this wonderful charity to the human kind. My heart-felt thanks to Mr. Murugan, a 19 year old student who supervises 20 such Ekal Vidyalayas and visits at least 5 Ekal Vidyalayas every day after his college to look after the happenings in a bicycle is my real HERO and inspiration for he had put me on guilt when it came to service to the society.
The return journey from Aanaikatti to Coimbatore at night time was even more a difficult task for me & Mr. Koushik. It was a tragic adventure trip in the dark and pothole roads and finally we reached back safe with a big satisfaction.

My Best wishes to the Ekal Vidyalayas and I’ve committed to work for them continuously.
I thank Mr. Koushik who took me to this “Vana Yatra” and Dr.Satheesh Kumar, International Coordinator of Ekal Vidyalayas who brought me into Ekal Family.

Suryah SG


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