Tag Archives: school

Unlocking the Secrets of Childhood and Evolution of Humans : Classes begin for NEEV Vidyalaya, Hurlung

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Even as the construction of new NEEV Vidyalaya at village Hurlung continues, classes have begun at the NEEV Herbals unit with 25 children on board. Thus sails out the ship of NEEV to the scarcely chartered lands of true education. Not only that, NEEV Vidyalaya becomes a center of enrichment in an environment bereft of anything ennobling for the children of Village Hurlung. Given the class distinctions that prevail in our world, for the child are reserved only the material, moral or intellectual resources of the family into which he/she was born. And if in his family there are no such resources, the child has to develop in material, moral and intellectual misery. With NEEV Vidyalaya, a whole new vista opens out for the children of Hurlung.

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The ship of NEEV Vidyalaya sails out – Shibu of LKG with his drawing

Education as it is today

Most of us think education to be a trivial affair – a routine affair of transferring skills like the 3 R’s, passing examinations, getting degrees and becoming subsumed in the vast socio-economic machine of society. Educational institutes are well oiled organizations clanking out mass stereotypes. Our economic system must create men who fit its needs; men who cooperate smoothly; men who want to consume more and more. Our system must create men whose tastes are standardized, men who can be easily influenced, men whose needs can be anticipated, men who will fit into the social machine without friction.

We are concerned to the degree of obsession with what we will make of our children and begin engineering them at an increasingly early age. Not content with school at six years of age, we have continued the logical regression into preschools, early learning, infant education, pre-natal music, ultra sound screening and what not. We are certain that we will create the perfect child through all of this, but would we recognize perfection if we came upon it through all our manipulation.

For those who see the child as born failed and broken, in need of repair and redirection, education will mean a revamping of the child that is, into the child that “should be”. We are all adults who “should be”, and we are never enough with “what is”. We can easily implant this essential dissatisfaction in our children and induct them into the cult of unhappiness that looks to materialism for its solace.

What concerns most parents is that their children should pass the examinations  and learn their lessons as quickly as possible, so as to save time and money. It is not learning in itself, the attainment of a loftier culture that concerns the families, but the response to the summons of society, to the obligations imposed, an obligation which they find burdensome and which cost money nonetheless they consider it important that their children should acquire their passport into the life of the society in the shortest time possible.
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Explaining to Parents the Vision of NEEV Vidyalaya

The Effects of Today’s Education on Individuals and Society – Repression

In all discussion about how best to teach children, we don’t often hear about the purpose of education from the children other than a social obligation and preparation of the child for the adult world of work. We don’t hear much about the child, and almost nothing from the child.

Perhaps all that education aspires to be is the preparation of the young person for their role in the larger society. This is certainly a good idea for society, but in the efficiency of producing citizen workers, are we missing the deeper meaning and higher purpose of learning? Have we forgotten about the spirit of the child, the unique and fragile expression of a passionate and integrated life?

Perhaps we are a little afraid of happiness. We were educated (away) from that state long ago, molded into a set of skills and a catalog of information. Our education was not to fulfil us but to fulfil the needs of productivity in the market place. But children are born knowing the creative life, and fortunately creativity is hereditary – we can easily inherit it from our children.

Psychoanalysis shows that memories evoked from the subconscious are sufferings that occurred in infancy and lie latent in the consciousness, shaping and guiding human behaviour outside of his volition. These sufferings were caused by repression of spontaneous activity of children by adults who wielded authority over them. And the surprise of surprises is that the person who does wiled the maximum authority in early infancy is none but  – the mother. The next wielder of authority is of course the school.

So society as a whole is populated with repressed adults who are driven by extrinsic motivations like money and power, chasing a chimera rather than fulfilled individuals led by intrinsic motivators like love for work, nature and humans.
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Story telling time – A very special activity for the growth of children. The stories told are not from textbooks or history. Rather they are spontaneously made up on the spur by observing intimately the behavior of each child during the day. The story every day centres around a particular child in the class and talks about how that particular child faces some challenging situation. It is an effective way, a psychological tool for catharsis of the child, relieving him of his/her repressions and boosting self- esteem. 

The Only Way for the World to Change is through Education

We look forward to science, technology, politics or economics to change the world. However, it is education that may point the way to the normalization of the adult world. Such a social reform would not come about through theory or the energies of a few organizers, but through a slow constant emergence of a new world in the midst of the old – the world of the child and the adolescent.

From this world the revelations, the natural guidance necessary to the normal life of society, would gradually evolve. It is truly absurd to suppose that theoretical reforms or individual energies could remedy so colossal a void as that made in the world by the repression of the child. No one can remedy the ever growing evils of which the first roots lie in the fact that men are all abnormal because their infancy could not develop along the lines traced by nature, who therefore suffered irremediable deviation. Every good thing comes to a naught with deviated men who seek to possess it for themselves and seek to make of it a means of power. Then every good thing is destroyed before it can be of service, and thus becomes a danger to human life. That is why every good thing, all progress, all discoveries, can increase the evil afflicting the world as we have seen in the case of machines, which represent the most tangible form of social progress for us all. Every discovery that might mean elevation and progress can be used for destruction, for war, or for self enrichment. The progress of physics, chemistry and biology, the perfecting of means of transport , have only magnified the danger of destruction, wretchedness and the appearance of a cruel barbarity. We have therefore nothing to hope from the external world till the normalization of man is recognized as a basic achievement of social life. Only then will all external progress be able to lead to welfare and a higher civilization.

The unknown energy that can help humanity is that which lies in the child.

We need a reorientation of education, a radical and fundamental realignment of the purpose of education. Can education shift from it’s current model of shaping children into components of economic production, into an active experiment in optimizing the creativity of the whole child? We have been so busy educating our children that we have missed the heart of education, the creation of a happy child.
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The Aim of Education – A Happy Child (A very difficult aim )

A happy person, fulfilled in their connection to their friends, family, and community and in the expression of their vocation, is likely to be useful and productive in their life and to help weave the collective fabric of a functional society. What else should a society need from education other than the happiness of its people?

According to the 5 S philosophy of NEEV – Education is no longer about people taking exams and proceeding on that verification from that secondary school to the university, but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher one by means of their own activity, through their own effort or will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual.

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“Precious things are conveyed to the younger generation through personal contact with those who teach, not – or at least not in the main – through text-books. It is that which primarily constitutes and preserves culture” –  Albert Einstein

Taking an Unknown Journey Along with the Child in Education

If we don’t see children as broken at birth, then what are they if not a mystery. Can we join them in exploring the unknown in their life and have strength to reveal that we live in the unknown too. In that, we are not trying to change them, or ourselves for that matter, but rather we are revealing in the amazing discoveries that life holds for all of us. We cannot teach our children to drink deeply of life because the knowledge of life is not transferred by will. But children can understand so easily if they are not stopped, more so if they see that the adults in their life are continuously learning.

We heartily thank all of you who have supported us so far to create this unique journey of NEEV possible, and who have joined hands to create a transformation in human consciousness through education. The journey is long, relentless, back-breaking but at the same time an adventure of a lifetime. We sincerely look forward to all your support for this journey which is always just beginning…………..

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Jaya of Nur – Beginning her life’s journey with her new partner in NEEV Vidyalaya

NEEV Vidyalaya – Hurlung : A Small Monument Created by the Large Heartedness of People

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Shikha and Anurag at the NEEV Vidyalaya, Hurlung Construction Site

Dear Friends,

Usually schools are created by governments, businessmen or politicians. Very rarely are they created by common people who have a passion for education. This is because building a school involves massive capital as initial investment. Unlike a business, the returns are very slow. And to compensate for the returns, schools have to charge high fees. The result is that all good schools are built for the rich, by the rich. Not only that, the education system belted out by these schools have to cater to market demands of mere skill development rather than the total development of children – body, heart and mind.

Meanwhile the poor are relegated to an inferior education system with poorly qualified, disinterested teachers and a languishing environment. For generations they suffer a life of inferiority complex and disempowerment. Of course there are always exceptions, the few who flower in the barren wastelands of educational institutions catering to the poor.

It took almost two decades of personal journey and a decade of NEEV’s journey to come to a point where we could materialize our dream for opening a small English Medium School for children of Hurlung Village. This could have in no way been possible without the unimaginable support we received from all our friends of NEEV over the years. I would like to especially mention our college mates – T G Sathish and Vivek Gahlaut – who have helped us with Rs. 30 Lakhs and Rs. 13 Lakhs for helping us in the school construction. Of course there are several others who donated us to the tune of I lakh rupees and many more who have donated in thousands. By not mentioning them I am aware of the injustice I am causing to them. I hope I shall be pardoned, considering that it would become untenable for me to mention all the names. Thus NEEV Vidyalaya, Hurlung is a small monument that embodies the large heartedness of common people; people who are not businessmen, politicians or corporates but people who have a passion for creating a just society on the basis of good quality education.

Following are the costs involved in the school construction.

Purchase of Land                                                                                               : Rs. 16,25,000 Lakhs

Design and Construction of First Floor                                                      : Rs. 34,80,400

Furniture, Electrical and Plumbing Fittings and Fixtures:                  : Rs. 4,00,000

Total Estimated Cost for the first floor                                                 : Rs. 55, 05, 400

We have received Rs. 47 lakhs as donation from various donors for the school construction. We are falling short by Rs. 8 lakhs. The costs have kept on escalating since we initially conceptualized the school. This is because we wanted the school construction to be based on indigenous materials. But considering the  long term stability and maintenance issues we had to go for more conservative and modern constructions as we went along. We are still trying our best to minimize the costs, so hopefully we may be able to shave off some expenses.

I would be really grateful if all our friends who have come together to bring NEEV to this point can help us with the remaining amount of Rs. 8 Lakhs.

You all may know that we have stopped the Rural Kids Sponsorship Scheme because we would like the school to be self – sustainable, at least in its operations. However we would require help from our friends for further construction and planned expansion of the school.

For the sake of meeting our operational expenses and contingency, we have created a Contingency Corpus Fund of Rs. 50 Lakhs and would like to increase it to Rs. 60 lakhs depending on future plans. The interest from this along with the nominal school fees we shall receive from the village school children would help us meet the operating expenses as well as my monthly honorarium of Rs. 10, 000 per month. Shikha, who would be teaching the school kids would be giving her time and energy totally on a voluntary basis.

We are planning to take admission of around 50 kids this year from Nur to Std. 3. The total monthly fee we are charging from them is Rs. 200.

I hope this gives a fair picture of the finances involved in the construction and operation of NEEV Vidyalaya.

Following is a plan of the school prepared by our Architect

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The school shall prepare the children in English Medium for NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) Board Exams. It is the same board from which my daughter too passed her 10th Std.

At present we have finished with the boundary wall construction and foundation work. The roof for the office block and the first room is ready to be casted next week.

Shikha in her daily inspection visit of NEEV Vidyalya, Hurlung construction

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Looking Back – Beginnings of  NEEV Vidyalaya in Aug 2016 – (8 months back)

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We could take this unbelievable journey only due to the support we got from all of you. I hope we can continue to take forward this dream of by the continuation of your support. All those who would like to make a donation of any amount to NEEV to help us with the remaining 8 lakhs, can write to me or donate in our bank account

Bank Name – IDBI

Branch – Telco

A/c Name – NEEV

Savings Account

A/c No. – 903104000120197

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Looking forward to blessings from all of you 🙂

Madhu: The Head Mistri who is constructing our school: asking for God’s blessings before the staircase casting. His son Raja would be studying in our school in UKG

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Architects of Future : Children’s Day Celebrations at NEEV

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Collage of some cards lovingly handmade by NEEV School teachers for the children

Dear Friends,

If the world today has to come out of the mess it finds itself in today, it requires new architects who are educated differently. Does education mean training children to develop technical capacity to get a livelihood or does it mean to help them understand the vast significance of life? Is education a means to create docile, imitating minds that fit in society or does education means creating minds that can question and learn? Does education mean creating cogs that service the vast industrial-consumeristic machine of society or does it mean to create sensitive human beings who care and nurture for the earth.

For five thousand years man has not learnt to live without conflict. Wars, environmental catastrophes and social inequalities have been the norm rather than an exception. Instead of developing a life of love, freedom and beauty on earth we have created inequity, strife and destruction. For years we have relied on authorities and experts to solve our problems. We have looked up to kings, priests, sacred books, politicians and scientists to tell us what is life and how to live. The result of abdication of this responsibility has been nothing but a vastly insensitive society where each individual is conditioned to ruthlessly strive and scramble to the top of a heap or else pigeonhole oneself in comfortable social roles that promise security. While the world simmers with wars, reeks with environmental pollution and languishes in poverty and misery, we continue our lives as usual – unconcerned, non-chalant, ignorant and self-seeking.

NEEV Vidyalaya is a place where we learn how not to go to sleep. It is a place of questioning and freedom. It is a place where young minds are not doused by authority and fear to cower down and become meek participants of a society that loves and rewards docility, compliance and imitation. It is a place where children learn to know themselves and discover their conditioning imposed by society. No revolutions in the outer, no system changes by governments can free man of conflict till he himself does not take up the responsibility of knowing himself/herself. Without self-knowledge, there is no transformation, no revolution that can free man from suffering on this earth.

So on Children’s Day, I thank all the friends who have come together to create NEEV Vidyalaya through their sponsorships, a unique and vital space for a work of such tremendous importance because it is only through right education that humanity can be transformed. I am including some pics to help you get the feel of what it is to be a child or a teacher at NEEV.

Love,
Anurag

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Card on Children’s Day created by a NEEV CIL Member using natural colours

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Some of the Cards written by me to Std. 10 students who are going to leave school next year

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Teachers of NEEV singing Kishore Da’s song – Aane Waala Pal Jaane Waala Hain for children

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Anjali and Simi – NEEV CIL Members and NEEV Vidyalaya Teachers singing the song Yeh Jo Des Hai Mera

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 Myself talking to children of NEEV Vidyalaya on what makes our school special

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Shikha wishing the children a Happy Children’s Day

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Our daughter Harshal who has passed NEEV School having a happy reunion with her friends of Std. 9

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Biscuit eating race for children of Kindergarten

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 Balloon blowing race for children of LKG

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Wearing the shoe race for children of Std. 1

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Hopping race by students of Std. 3

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Bursting the Balloon Race for Std. 2

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 50 m dash for Std 4

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Spoon and Marble Race for Std. 5

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 Three legged race for Std. 6 & 7

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 Musical Chairs for Std. 8, 9 & 10

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 Shikha commenting on the state of affairs

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 NEEV CIL Members and teachers giving cards to their students

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 The NEEV Vidyalaya Senior School Students and Teachers – A Happy Community

The Tricolour Unfolds in NEEV Vidyalaya: 70th Independence Day Celebrations

Dear Friends,

The 70th Independence Day was celebrated at NEEV Vidyalaya under a blue sky and warm sunshine. For yet another year, the rain gods spared their downpour on August 15th; unleashing their waters a week before and a week after this day.

Amidst parents, ex teachers, ex students and well wishers from NEEV the programs unrolled with characteristic simplicity and charm; the greenery of NEEV Vidyalaya providing a backdrop for melodious notes, frolicking dances and solemn speeches.

Just to give you all a real feel of how the program of that day, this time I am intertwining the photos with the anchor’s speech. The text of the anchor along with the pictures captures the collage of humble school celebrating a great day, not forgetting the solemness of the occasion. It also brings about the philosophy of NEEV Vidyalaya.

All the programs from Std. 6 to 10 were entirely conceived, practiced and presented on stage by the children themselves with absolutely no teacher supervision and guidance.

Love,
Anurag

Introduction, Welcome, Hoisting of National Flag and March Past

Good morning everyone: Our esteemed Principal Sir, parents, guests, teachers and our lovely students. We have assembled here, in NEEV Vidyalaya, on this solemn occasion to celebrate the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence Day.

How different is this morning? You shall discover this yourselves as the events of the day unfold just like the tricolours of our national flag.

I now request our school’s Head Girl, Harshal to escort our Principal Sir Mr. Anurag Jain to hoist the National Flag. I request all of you to please stand up for the national anthem.


1. Aazadi ke Rakhwaale – Poem by NUR, LKG and UKG

Highlighting the duty of every Indian to protect and preserve the hard earned freedom of our country, let’s begin our day’s program with an innocent yet patriotic performance by the tiny tots of Nur, Lkg and Ukg, who shall sing – Aazadi ke Rakhwaale

Thank you children. I hope we have taken the message given by these young children and let’s take a resolve to never take freedom for granted but to protect it with all our energy.

2. English Speech – Tannupriya Std. 9

Now I would like to invite Tannupriya of Std. 9 on stage to deliver a speech in English

Thank you Tannupriya for such a wonderful and inspiring speech about the sacrifice made by our noble leaders of the past. Do we have such noble men in our society today who are willing to devote their lives for the development of our country? I would like to leave you with a question, “Freedom comes with a responsibility of preserving it. Who shall take this responsibility?

3. Mera Desh Mahan – Song by Std. 1 and 2

Carrying on, our next program brings out the great spiritual and cultural heritage of our country. We must be proud to be a citizen of such a great and ancient nation. To honor this pride, the students of Std. 1 and 2 are going to present the song Mera Desh Mahan


Thank you children for giving us the message of being proud about our country. How many of us actually feel fortunate to have taken birth in a nation of such greatness, today?

 

4. Woh Kisna Hai – Dance by Std. 4 and 5 Girls

Now I would like to call upon stage the Radhas of Std. 4 and 5 expressing their love for Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was not only the prince charming but also a great teacher who showed the path to real freedom from ignorance through the immortal words uttered by him in the Bhagavad Gita.

Thank you girls. What a lovely and graceful dance that was. When the spirit of freedom throbs in the minds of the citizens of the country then it find expression through the myriad forms of arts and dances. Like Krishna, I hope the youth of today develop the seriousness to defend freedom and at the same time develop the grace to rejoice in it, the way Lord Krishna did.

5. Hindi Speech – Riya of Std.7

Now I would like to welcome Riya, a student of Std. 7 on stage to deliver a speech in Hindi

Thank you Riya for your thoughtful words. Truly education forms the backbone of freedom and independence. Young minds and bodies twisted and tortured by a thoughtless and inhuman education system can hardly be the fore bearers of freedom. We need to bring a radical change in our education system so that children can flower in freedom and self responsibility.

6. Andher Nagri – Drama by Std.6 to 10

And now lets come to the theatre of life. Actually life is a drama when led in ignorance. Our next program is a skit which depicts how an ignorant leader creates darkness in the life of all. Please gear yourself up to watch a tragic yet humorous masterpiece of Drama – Andher Nagri

Thank you boys for an admirable performance. I hope all of us have taken the crucial message that when we blindly follow our leaders, there is chaos, darkness and ignorance. Unfortunately most of us are scared to question those in power. Therefore we have to develop the capacity to question and not merely follow authority. In a democracy, it is the people and not the government that rules. It is in our hands to create an Andher Nagri in India or an India that shows light to the world.

7. Yeh to Sach Hai ki Bhagwan Hai – Song by boys of Std. 2,3 and 4

Indian culture is steeped in God and religion and this can be seen in it’s 33 crore Gods. We have built grand temples since ancient times to worship statues of God, bestowing our faith in his infinite wisdom. But, Where is God? Who has seen him? In what form does he exist? To answer these mysterious questions we have students of Std. 2, 3 & 4 singing the song “Yeh to Sach Hai ki Bhagwan Hai”

Thank you boys for a truly appreciable performance

8. Dance on Sau Dard Hai by Std. 4 and 5 boys

Next we have a power packed dance performance by Std. 4 and 5 boys on the song Sau Dard Hai

Thank you boys for a truly thrilling performance

9. Hai Preet Jahan ki Reet Sada – Song by Std. 6 to 9

After receiving an education in the western model, the youth and children of today are blinded by the developments of science and technology of the west. They look down upon Indian culture and fail to recognize it’s profound wisdom as well as the enormous contributions it has made in the development of mankind.

So, to bring back the pride in the achievements of our country by understanding it’s glorious past, the students of Std. 6 to 9 are going to present a heart-warming song – Hai Preet Jahan ki Reet Sada

Thank you boys and girls. I hope after listening to this none of us shall remain ignorant about the immense contributions of our country. It was our country which realized that more than machines, gadgets and bombs what humanity requires is love. The greatest gift India has given to the world is the possibility of living on this earth with Truth, Freedom and Love.

10. Chak Dhoom Dhoom – Dance by Std. 2 & 3

Next we have on stage the students of Std. 2 & 3 to delight us with an energetic dance performance of getting soaked in the rains, now that we are in the midst of a rainy season.

Thank you students for entertaining us with your light hearted dance on a truly melodious song.

11. Mohe Rang do Laal – Dance by Girls of Std. 6 to 9

India is a land of numerous dance forms. One of them being the classical dance form called Kathak. Classical dance and performance arts, states this ancient Hindu text Natyashastra, are a form of expression of spiritual ideas, virtues and the essence of scriptures. Our next performance by girls of Std. 6 to 9 brings alive the delicate nuance of Kathak dance on the song Mohe Rang do Laal.

Thank you girls for a really graceful performance.

12. Tribal Dance by Std. 6 to 10

Continuing our exploration of various dance forms, we have a totally refreshing Tribal dance of Saanthalis of Jharkhand. Characterized by delicate, graceful and extremely co-ordinated steps of a group of dancers, tribal dances celebrate communion with each other and nature. The tribals have been custodians of nature since ancient times. They have protected the trees, rivers and forests for centuries. But with the onslaught of modern science and technology, the tribals are losing their culture and wisdom. This dance is a way of honoring their great culture and contribution to mankind.

Thank you students for such an adorable performance. I am sure we can all feel the beats of the drum still vibrating in our hearts and our feet just waiting to dance to the tribal tunes.

13. Gaaye Ja – Song by Nisha of Std. 9

The last program of the day is a truly amazing song sung by Nisha – Gaaye Ja. The song starts out with a sad note, about difficult times that lie ahead in a person’s life. There are times in all our lives where we face a sea of difficulties. The world we live in today is not an easy one. Numerous challenges lie ahead, especially for people who want to live their dreams.

Thank you Nisha for a deeply emotional and heart stirring performance. I hope we all receive the positive message at the end of this song which begins with a sad note. We do not have to stop dreaming. We have to dream as well as develop an unbreakable spirit that can withstand all challenges that lie in the way of completion of our dreams. To get up after getting knocked down by every challenge of life and to move again in the direction of our dreams is the path of the brave.

14. Speech by Principal Sir

The freedom fighters who gave up their lives for their country had seen a dream of a free and independent India. They did not give up till India got free. What dreams do we have for our country and the world? To talk about this I invite upon stage our Principal Sir to end today’s Independence Day celebration by his speech.

14. Thanksgiving

Thank you sir for your thoughtful words. With this we come to the end of today’s Independence Day Celebration in NEEV Vidyalaya. I would like to thank our guests and parents who took out their valuable time to watch the program. Your presence does a lot to motivate us. I would like to thank all the teachers who trained the students for the various performances. Last but not the least I would like to thank all the students who worked hard to put up a delightful performance today and made the 70th Independence a memorable day for all of us.

Teachers of NEEV Vidyalaya

Our Chinese Intern – Lin, trying Tribal Dance with the Children after the Program

Shikha with our Friend Manjeet from Bangalore enjoying the programs (Lin – Chinese Intern and our friend Monica in background)

The Youngest Spectator and and a Proud Indian at NEEV Vidyalaya Independence Day Celebrations – Akshat (Son of our friend Ashish)

Visit of KSMS School Children to NEEV Herbal Cosemtics Unit in Village Hurlung

Last Saturday, our normally quiet unit was aflutter with a group of Std. 6 to Std. 12 students from KSMS (Kerala Samajam Model School). I am sharing a few picture of their visit below. Their class teacher informed me that ever since their school received the Education Excellence Award instituted by Tata Steel, they were looking into totally new ways and directions for education. So as part of their exploration they decided to make a visit to NEEV first.

NEEV, an Integral Enterprise stands for holistic education promoting self inquiry and freedom from all conflict in the inner and a life of sustainable living in the outer. So it slowly evolving as a centre for dialogue, reflection and dissemination of an Integral way of living on this earth. The growing psychological distress and environmental degradation has been acting as a wake up call for institutions across the world to question the paradigms of growth, development and technology that have destroyed peace and harmony in the world.

The visits of various school to NEEV is a way by which children get to learn about a totally different way of being, thinking and living.

The first half an hour of the visit of the children was a dialogue and discussion on the following questions

  1. What is the true purpose of education?
  2. How important is technology for being happy?
  3. What is man’s relationship to nature?
  4. Can one learn to think for oneself rather than follow society and aspirations of parents?

Most of the times these are questions which children must have heard the first time because our conventional/mainstream education system works with a set of tacit presumptions which are never questioned. It creates children who are conditioned to think in certain moulds of thought to fit in society rather than children who have the capacity to critically examine the way humans have lived on earth and find a true, genuine and individual response to the problems facing man.

At NEEV, children from different schools not only take part in such a dialogue but  they also get a chance to see who a life is being lived.

While most of the senior kids were “trigger happy”, clicking photos of the unit and its natural surroundings and not to forget “selfies”, I was particularly taken in by a bunch of Std. 6 kids who had a glorious smile on their faces, their eyes open in wonder and minds effervescent and curious to know all about NEEV and it’s mission. Their hearts had not yet closed. They had not yet got caught in the adult world of status, comparison. They peppered me with questions and even made me write the name of the village in which the NEEV Unit is located in their notebooks, probably holding a hope to visit us again. I say so because they remarked that they did not feel like going back home 🙂

However, one wonders if these kids are going to be sucked into the vast current of what we call “society”? Or will they find an educator or an education that will help in awakening an intelligence in them that keeps alive the flame of questioning burning in their hearts. This is a question which all schools, educators and parents have to put to themselves.

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Visit of NEEV School Students to the Zoo

Unfortunately civilization has come to mean the distance man has created between himself and nature. The technological world that man has built is more like a medallion he wears to stamp his victory over nature. But is this really a victory that we can take pride in? Is a culture built on exploitation, domination and control of nature something for us to be proud of? Our schools and modern education system belts out technologists every year ingrained with a mental model that comfort provided by technology is paramount to anything, that trees, forests, mountains and animals are there to serve the insatiable thirst of man.

We need to radically examine the assumptions underpinning the modern technological world. Nature is sacred: God incarnate. Who has not seen the beauty of solitary tree on a hilltop silhouetted against a setting sun and remained oblivious to a sense of divine order and beauty? Unlike the disorder that prevails in the created world of man, there is an order in the rise and fall of the waves of the ocean, the chirping of birds and the rising majesty of the mountains, which no technology of man can ever create or emulate. This order was called the Kosmos by the ancient Greeks and Rtam by the Vedic seers. Can our education system teach children to commune with this divine order rather than to become rapacious human beings living in the artificial confines of thought?

With the view of establishing such a kinship, we at NEEV Vidyalaya (School) take our students for a picnic to the Zoo every year. I am including some pics of the picnic below. Our picnics are not accompanied by loud music and raucous revelry that one sees as the growing trend in the youth. Of course there is mirth, joy and laughter, all mixed with the soft winter sunshine and dappled shade of trees, in our picnics. Even though we make a visit to the same zoo every year, there is a quality in animals that one never fails to commune with. Have you ever very quietly watched any animal? It is a meditation which teaches more than books or watching discovery channel can ever teach.

Like always as a symbol of love, awe and adoration, I am indulging slightly by including a pic of my favourite animal – the hippopotamus. Hopefully, when you see the pic, you may share my sense of exaltation 🙂

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