Ashaddha Shukla 9 Vik Samvat 2070. Yugabda 5115: July 16, 2013

1. FESTIVALS: Rakshabandhan, Shravan Poornima, also called Aavani-Avattam and Upaakarma in southern part of Bharat, falls on August 20 this year. The delicate cord tied by the sister to the brother on this day pulsates with the abiding and chaste bond of love between the brother and the sister. This sister-brother relationship goes far beyond the mere personal protection of a female from a male. It also implies the basic element of an amicable and harmonious social life where all members of the society look upon themselves as brothers and sisters and as children of one common motherland. The tying of Raakhi to the sacred Bhagavaa Dhwaj at the start of the function at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) shakhas signifies this social and cultural aspect. 

2. RATHA YATRA IN PURI: Nearly ten lakh devotees on July 10 witnessed the world famous annual Ratha Yatra of Shri Jagannath in Puri in Odisha. Devotees from across the country and abroad descended on the pilgrim town to have a glimpse of the presiding deities – Bhagwan Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra – of the 12th century shrine. Devotees poured into the sea side town since early morning to watch the ceremony and pull the three majestic and colourful chariots on the ‘bada danda’. The pulling of the chariots by ecstatic devotees was watched by millions including a host of VVIPs and dignitaries.

3. IIT-BHU STUDENTS DITCH CAP AND GOWN FOR ETHNIC STYLE AT GRADUATION CEREMONY: In the first convocation of IIT-BHU, held on July 10, 2013, the new technocrat boys were in white dhoti-kurta or pyjama-kurta and girls in white sari or salwar-kurta, when they appeared before former Rashtrapati and chief guest APJ Abdul Kalam. Kalam was surprised by the sight but later congratulated them on their decision. There were 113 meritorious students from 2010, 2011 and 2012 batches who received their gold medals from Shri Kalam. They were a total of 2,383 students including those who had taken admission in 2006-07 onwards who received their degrees on this occasion. "It was an effort to break free from the shackles of colonial practices and return to our tradition. Nothing could be more appropriate than starting this practice from the holy city of Varanasi," professor Surendra Kumar, dean of IIT-BHU, said.

4. 'RSS ACTVISTS FIRST TO HELP STRANDED PILGRIMS IN U'KHAND': RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sah-Prachar Pramukh J Nandkumar told the journalists in Bhopal on July 8, that the RSS swayamsevaks were the first to report at the calamity-striken areas of Uttarakhand to participate in relief and rescue operations to shift the stranded pilgrims to safer places. He said that the RSS swayamsevaks had reached the affected areas within 24 hours. Since the rescue work was to be done with helicopters, the first and foremost job was to prepare make-shift helipads. And these helipads were made by RSS men. They had opened 15 centers, the very next day, to provide relief to the stranded pilgrims. Nearly 200 villages were completely destroyed in this natural calamity. But setting their sorrow aside, the people of these villages helped the stranded pilgrims. This was the tallest example of humanity. Over 5000 RSS swayamsevaks drawing from other areas of the country had reached there and helping their fellow swayamsevaks in the herculean task of rehabilitation.         

5. 2 BHARATIYAS AMONG 7 GIRLS AWARDED ON MALALA DAY BY UNITED NATIONS: When Pakistani teen activist, Malala Yousafzai, celebrated her 16th birthday at the United Nations and demanded education for all children from the world leaders, she was not alone in her endeavour. Seven girls from across the world, who had done their share for children’s education, were supporting her with both word and gesture. And when Malala told the gathering that “let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world,” they all agreed.
The girls were awarded the UN special envoy for global education’s youth courage award as part of the Malala Day celebrations. The girls, two Bharatiyas among them, were awarded for their courage to promote the cause of education and dignity of women. The Bharatiya girls are 21-year-old Ashwini from Bangalore and 15-year-old Razia from Uttar Pradesh.
Ashwini was awarded for fighting against odds to study and then using her education to campaign for the right to education for children with disabilities. Visually impaired, Ashwini was brought up in a poor village in Karnataka and fought circumstances to complete her graduation. She overcame the odds, achieved great grades and got an excellent job with an IT firm. However, she gave it all up to campaign for other children with disabilities. Ashwini now works for Leonard Cheshire Disability, a Bangalore-based NGO.
Razia, a former child labourer who stitched footballs for a living, struggled against the odds and succeeded in passing Class 11. She then helped stop the exploitation of 48 child labourers and made sure that they were enrolled in school.
Urmila, 22, of Nepal; Shazia, 15, of Pakistan; Raouia, 12, from Morocco; Keshob, 18, from Bangladesh; and Aminata, 20, from Sierra Leone were the other girls awarded on the occasion.

6. I AM A HINDU NATIONALIST AS I AM A BORN HINDU: NARENDRA MODI "I am nationalist. I'm patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I'm a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I'm a Hindu nationalist because I'm a born Hindu," Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi told Ross Colvin and Sruthi Gottipati of Reuters news agency in an interview at his official residence in Gandhinagar. The Gujarat strongman was asked as to who was the "real Modi" – Hindu nationalist or a pro-business chief minister? "As far as progressive, development, workaholic, whatever they say, this is what they are saying. So there's no contradiction between the two. It's one and the same image," he said.
Asked if he regretted what happened in 2002, Modi said, “Bharat’s Supreme Court is considered a good court today in the world. The Supreme Court created a special investigative team (SIT) and top-most, very bright officers who oversee the SIT. That report came. In that report, I was given a thoroughly clean chit, a thoroughly clean chit. Another thing, any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is. If I’m a chief minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”
Asked if he became PM, which leader would he emulate, Modi replied, “The first thing is, my life’s philosophy is and what I follow is: I never dream of becoming anything. I dream of doing something. So to be inspired by my role models, I don’t need to become anything. If I want to learn something from Vajpayee, then I can just implement that in Gujarat.

7. 50 PER CENT OF NHS IN LAST 30 YEARS CAME UP DURING NDA RULE, ADMITS UPA: The Congress-led UPA on July 8 admitted in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court that the BJP-led NDA in its five-year rule had constructed nearly 50 per cent of the national highways laid in the last 32 years.
The affidavit revealed that during 1997-2002, when the NDA was in power, 23,814 km of national highways were added to the existing National Highways network. This implies nearly 50 per cent of the 47,795 km of national highways constructed in the last 32 years was done during the NDA regime only. However, during the nearly 10-year of UPA rule, the total length of national highways laid is only 16,000 km.

8.  MODI DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING WRONG: VAIDYA: Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh spokesperson M.G. Vaidya said in Nagpur on July 13: “Narendra Modi has said the right thing. He called himself a Hindu nationalist, which is not wrong. We are also Hindu nationalists. He did not compare Muslims killed in Gujarat riots with a puppy killed by a car. He said he feels sad even if a puppy comes under the wheel of his car. I don’t think he said anything wrong. It was misconstrued because of lack knowledge of the language and a result our preconceived notions.” Lashing out at the Congress, he added:  “The Congress always speaks of 2002 Gujarat riots but what about the Godhra incident in which 57 kar sevaks were burnt alive? The riots were just a reaction to the Godhra incident. People talk about reaction, not about action. Only Gujarat riots are talked about, but the fact is that more Sikhs were killed in Delhi riots than Muslims killed in the Gujarat riots. At the time of the Delhi riots, Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, but no one demanded his resignation.”

9. ANNUAL DAY OF BSK AND SVP IN AUSTRALIA: Bal Samskar Kendra and Sydney Ved Pathshala celebrated their 5th Annual Day on 29th of June. After the invocation prayer by Vaishnavi & Malavika, Dr Shobha Rudrakumar  gave a  snapshot of  VHP activities Australia wide. The drama – Satyakama & Jabala- presented by BSK Moorebank centred around education and the role of the teacher in uplifting a student. Victor Dominello, Minister for Citizenship & Communities & Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, addressed the audience and distributed the awards to all the volunteers. Councillor Lisa Lake of Holroyd Council, in her address expressed support for the new ventures undertaken by the BSK/SVP. The musical depiction by BSK, Moorebank conveyed the message that God is everywhere and is not limited to time and space!     
Vedic hymns were dedicated to Lord Ganesha & the Guru by Sydney Veda Patashaala, Baulkham Hills and Westmead. The story behind the short verse like dialog with a small girl named Kanchanamala) was interesting and captured the attention of the audience. “Ayigiri Nandini” was chanted by students from BSK Toongabbie. BSK, Moorebank staged the girls talking to the bird in a dance form.    
BSK, Homebush presented Madhurashtakam a unique poem, describing the Sweetness of Lord Sri Krishna. SVP Baulkham Hills presented “Bhagya suktam” a very important sukta of the Veda, a recitation of which in the morning adds to the happiness and success of the endeavours of that day and further. (Balasamskar Kendra (BSK) and Sydney Veda Paatashaala (SVP) are the educational projects of Vishwa Hindu Parishad helping to promote & preserve Sanskrit Language and ancient tradition of the Vedas).

A San Diego (US) Superior Court judge rejected a claim on July 1 by parents in the Encinitas elementary school system that teaching yoga in the schools is an improper attempt at religious indoctrination.
The ruling by Judge John Meyer, who heard the case without a jury, means that the Encinitas Union School District can continue to teach yoga as part of a health and exercise curriculum. Yoga, the judge said, is similar to other exercise programs like dodgeball. Students attend two 30-minute yoga sessions each week. The yoga program has been supported by a $533,000 grant from a local studio that teaches Ashtanga yoga.
Encinitas Supt. Tim Baird has said that the program is worthwhile in teaching healthy exercise and eating habits. He said he hopes that teaching yoga to students will decrease instances of fighting and bullying.

11. JAMMU-KASHMIR KI ANKAHI KAHANI, a book by Dr. Kuldeepchand Agnihotri was jointly released by RSS Sah-sarakaryavah Dattatreya Hosabale and BJP veteran LK Advani in New Delhi on July 6. L K Advani said on the occasion that when the proposal was made, many leaders of the Congress had vehemently opposed it and had even termed it as a joke. The Congress leaders had said that the same provisions that were made for the other 564 princely states should also be made for Jammu-Kashmir and not any separate or special provision for it. The author of the book, Dr. Agnihotri  said that then prominent political party of Jammu-Kashmir, Praja Parishad, had organized a historical agitation over several issues in the 1950's. During this agitation several thousands of ‘satyagrahis’ were imprisoned and 15 of them fell to the bullets of the police and attained martyrdom. Shri Hosabale said that the people of the country need to know the truth of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s mysterious death.The Chairman of Jammu-Kashmir Study Center, Jawahar Lal Kaul thanked the author Dr. Kuldip Chand Agnihotri for bringing out the true facts of the ‘Praja Parishad’ agitation and about Jammu-Kashmir in the form of this book. Several intellectuals and prominent leaders like Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Ram Lal, Lakshmi Narayan Bhaala, JP Nadda were present on the occasion.

12. ELEPHANTS DRAW TOURISTS TO GURUVAYUR: Tourists are flocking to Lord Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur, where it is now relaxation time for 60 elephants. After 11 months’ temple duty, rejuvenation helps them regain their health. During the month-long pampering, their weight will increase by 250-700 kg. Sathyapalan (53), a mahout, is always busy preparing food for the elephants. Under the supervision of the vet, he blends boiled rice, herbs, lentil, green gram, horse gram, medicinal plants and vitamin tablets.
Guruvayur Dewasom (temple administration body) board member N Raju said: “Elephant feeding attract hordes of tourists to the yard these days. We are planning an elephant research and study centre to attract more tourists and pilgrims.”
In Guruvayur devotees have donated the elephants as thanksgiving to the Lord.

13. REMAINS OF PRE-ASHOKAN SHRINES FROM 1300 BC FOUND IN NEPAL: New excavations have unearthed ruins of a thriving village with a shrine in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Nepal, more than a thousand years before Emperor Ashoka built monuments there to spread Buddhism. Until now the earliest temples have been attributed to Emperor Ashoka, who in the 3rd century BC built a pillar and brick temple in Lumbini in his efforts to spread Buddhism across the region. Lumbini is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1997.
With the remains of a village dating back to as early as 1300 BC discovered a few hundred metres south of Lord Buddha's birthplace, the history of settlement in the region has been pushed back by a thousand years. A combined team of Nepalese and international experts worked in the excavations under a UNESCO project funded by Japan. The town of Lumbini in Nepal is where the Buddha was born as Prince Gautama Siddhartha, before achieving enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. Lumbini was where the Buddha lived until the age of 29.

14. WINNERS TAKE IT ALL: It was 5:30 in the morning on July 13 in Washington, US. Too early for Varun Jain. He liked to sleep late specially as school had closed for summer vacation. His father, Vivek Jain, a California physician, was up, however, and online. He wanted to check Varun’s SAT score, which the younger son had taken three weeks ago. It was a perfect 2,400, a national record for an eighth grader. Varun didn’t have to take that test, which determines college readiness. He still has a couple of years to go. But his parents were running out of challenges for him. So, he took the test, and killed it. Varun heard the score, when woken up, mumbled “wow” and went right back to sleep, leaving it to the family to tell relatives here and in Bharat — they are from Hyderabad.
Varun is an exceptional 14-year-old. And you may leave it at that, wish him well and move on, if not for the fact that he’s part of a wave of Bharatiya-American children sweeping every academic prize in the land.

15. SIKH OFFICER GETS US ARMY TO BEND ON HIS TURBAN: The Sikhs of northwestern Bharat, wearing long beards and turbans, have battled Mughals in Punjab, Afghans near the Khyber Pass and Germans in the bloody trenches of the Somme. When Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, an American Sikh raised in New Jersey signed up for the US Army, this tradition counted for nothing. Before sending him to officer basic training, the army told him that he would have to give up the basic symbols of his religion: his beard, knee-length hair and turban. Armed with petitions and Congressional letters, he waged a two-year campaign that in 2009 which resulted in the army granting him a special exception for his unshorn hair, the first such accommodation to a policy established in the 1980s. Since then, two other Sikhs have won accommodations from the army. But many others have failed. And so now, as he prepares to leave active duty, Major Kalsi, who earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan, is waging a new campaign: to rescind those strict rules that he believes have blocked hundreds of Sikhs from joining the military.

16. BHARATIYA-AMERICAN IS SILICON VALLEY’S MILLION-DOLLAR BET: Ro Khanna is not just running for US Congress, he is sprinting. His campaign announced on July 10, it had raised over $1 million in the quarter ending June, a record of sorts. Khanna is contesting for the House of Representatives from California’s District 17, home to Silicon Valley, which appears to have put its money on him. Contributors include Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, angel investor Ron Conway and Flipboard founder Mike McCue. It’s a record for a first-time House race challenger to raise $1 million in a quarter without dipping into personal wealth. Ro — short for Rohit — is a first generation Bharatiya-American and is running against Mike Honda, a Japanese-American who is a 12-year veteran of the House of Representatives.

17. LIVE A LIFE OF DEVOTION: SANKARACHARYA: Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peedham, has called upon people to take to the path of devotion, which is the soul of living. He was inaugurating the month-long 15th Aradhana Mahotsavam of Jagadguru Chandrasekhara Saraswathi Sankaracharya Swamigal at the Manthakara Mahaganapathy temple hall at Kalpathy, Palakkad on July 14.
The seer said, “Bhajan is the driving force in this era of life. Without Namasamkeerthanam (discourse), our life will not be full and final.” He was happy to be in Kerala because it was the great land that gave birth to Adi Sankara in Kalady.

18.  ARMY BEGINS WORK TO OPEN NEW ROUTE TO KEDARNATH SHRINE: Acting on the requests made by the civil administration and the National Disaster Relief Force, troops of Surya Command of the Army have now commenced work to open a new route to the Kedarnath shrine.
The land routes had suffered extensive damage during the cloud burst and flash floods of June 16-17, as a result of which, the access to the Kedarnath shrine remains cut off. As meteorological forecasts predict more rain in the near future, opening a new land route was the only solution to gain continued access to the shrine. Teams of Surya Command conducted a reconnaissance of the area and have commenced work to open a route along a fresh alignment. After much difficulty, the Central Command teams were successful in establishing a crossing over the Vasuki Ganga at Sonprayag on July 10, and the leading team comprising of 21 persons including four officers crossed the river and reached Gomkara and camped there for the night at an altitude of approximately 13,000 feet.
On July 11, another team with logistic support crossed the river at Sonprayag. This team will establish a staging area in the area of Gomkara. The leading team is presently opening the route to Kedarnath crossing Dev Vishnu and was heading for Kedarnath when reports last came in.
The new route is likely to follow the alignment from Sonprayag - Gomkar - Dev Vishnu - Dhungaj Giri - Kedarnath and will be approximately 20 kilometres in length, passing over an altitude of more than 13,000 feet.

19. VISION FOR 21ST CENTURY INSTITUTE OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE (As envisaged by former Rashtrapati Shri APJ Abdul Kalam in the end of his address at the First Convocation of IIT-BHU on July 10, 2013)
I have, in the last ten years, met more than 3 Million university students and faculty from more than 150 universities in India and 50 universities in abroad. Based on this spirit, I wish to formulate a ‘Vision for 21st century Institute of National Importance’:
• The universities and national institutions have to prepare citizens of the future with a global outlook and be capable of serving his/her nation or nation of his/her choice.
• Science and technology and public policy are interrelated for mutual benefit and ushering in human kind’s development. This link has to be solidly built in the university education.
• Good teachers can be in any part of the world. The institution has to bring in this resource through innovative content generation in virtual classrooms.
• Technological connectivities among universities and institutions have to be pursued on a war footing using cost effective virtual classrooms.
• Cost effective continuing education possibilities are essential for citizens to be in tune with time.
• Can university education lead to sustainable development of the nation, like PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas)?
• With the world population increasing and resources dwindling, a mindset has to be developed for conserving and sharing the resources and look for new research for abundant resources. This calls for a “noble spirit” as well as a “research spirit.”
In summary, the 21st century national level institutions’ education is about developing enlightened citizenship for a knowledge society for peace and prosperity of nations and the world. 21st century Institutions have to be the incubator of world knowledge powerhouse. Based on my interaction with Indian and foreign institutions, I have detected certain dynamics. Wherever there is research intensity, it has enhanced quality teaching and the institutions have got a great name in the world of teaching.
Universities or Institutions from developed world with their vast experience of a century have realized the significance of research as a foundation for the university or institution. This is one dimension. The other dimension is that the student community with research focus will most aggressively ask questions. The third dimension is that the sharp gradient and accelerated development processes can give a platform for research for sustainable development. There is a large student community in the developing countries and there is an urge for higher education. Hence, we should see how we can empower them through university to university collaboration, student – faculty interaction, lab to lab collaboration, reaching out the world class quality teaching and research through a virtual reality environment with the excellent content generated.
Finally, I would like to ask you, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life.
You should write it on a page. That page may be a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation – whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of creating societal change or a page of removing the poverty or the page of fighting injustice or planning and executing mission of networking of rivers.
I am sure, you would like to do something different – out of box missions, what are they?
1 Will you be remembered for a visionary action for the nation, like Prof. Vikram Sarabhai or Homi Bhabha, Prof Satish Dhawan or Dr. DS Kothari in the field of space science, nuclear science and Defence Science?
2 Will you be remembered for introducing new industrial system product, which represents a convergence of technologies for low cost high efficiency products like bionic eye?
3 Will you be remembered for creating a company which finds a place in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 companies from India?
4 Will you be remembered for facilitating the creation of PURAcomplexes (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) in the neighbourhood of your work place?
5 Will you be remembered for working and creating a validated system for the production of 340 million tonnes of food grains and value addition through food processing by the year 2020?
6 Will you be remembered for modernization of SME’s through application of new technology and innovation?
7 Will you be remembered as a discoverer or inventor of new phenomena in basic sciences?
8 Will you be remembered for promoting energy independence for the nation through the development of renewable energysystem?
9 Will you be remembered for the action oriented – “Clean home, clean environment, clean state and clean nation”
10 Will you be remembered for evolving for smart waterway for the whole country, linking the major rivers?
With these words, I once again congratulate all the graduating students and my best wishes to faculty members and professors of IIT (BHU) Varanasi for success in their mission of creating enlightened citizens towards building the knowledge society.
May God bless you
Eight point Oath for Graduating Students
1. Engineering and Technology is a life time mission. I will work, work and work and succeed.
2. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is what process or product I can innovate, invent or discover.
3. I will always remember that “Let not my winged days, be spent in vain”.
4. I realize I have to set a great technological goal that will lead me to think high, work and persevere to realize the goal.
5. My greatest friends will be great scientific/technological minds, good teachers and good books.
6. I firmly believe that no problem can defeat me; I will become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem and succeed.
7. I will work and work for removing the problems faced by planet earth in the areas of water, energy, habitat, waste management and environment through the application of science and technology.
8. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.
20. CERTIFICATE COURSES IN SANSKRIT, ANCIENT BHARATIYA CULTURE AND BUDDHISM STARTS IN MUMBAI:     Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai in association with the Department of Ancient Indian Culture, Sathaye College has initiated a three months’ introductory course in Sanskrit starting from 7th July 2013. The Department has also started two other courses- Certificate Course in Ancient Indian Culture and Certificate Course in Buddhism.
The inaugural programme for all the three certificate courses was held in the Sathaye College Auditorium on 6th July 2013. It was well attended by the professors from various colleges, scholars, students, and academicians. Dr. A. P. Jamkhedkar, the eminent archaeologist and former Director of the State Department of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra delivered the inaugural address on the ‘Aryan Problem’. Dr. Gauri Mahulikar, Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai, chaired the session.  Dr. Asawari Bapat, Head, Research and Innovation Centre, Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra gave the introductory remarks wherein she briefly introduced the contents of the three certificate courses and highlighted their scope and significance. Mr. Sanjay Kelapure, Prsesident, Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai gave a brief introduction.

21. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Ravikumar sah samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will be going to SriLanka, Shri Shyam Parande secretary, Sewa International will be on a weeklong tour to Thailand from 18 July. Visitors: Shri Pravin dhir – USA.

Be a lamp, a life boat and a ladder.       
Help someone’s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.  Jalaluddin Rumi - 13th Century Persian Sufi Poet

M. J. Prabhu
Kaumaram Sushila International Residential School at Chinnavedampatti, Coimbatore, is a school with a difference. When almost all educational institutions are pressuring their students to focus predominantly on studies, this school seems to hold a different view on school curriculum. “We strongly believe in going beyond the classroom. Lessons must aim to teach students about the native culture. They must be more practical or field-oriented rather than be merely bookish,” says Mr. M. Deva Prakash, Managing Trustee of the school and Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation.
Every academic year, the school makes it a point to inform parents seeking admission that the school gives more importance towards the conservation of biodiversity, natural organic farming, and socially useful productive work rather than marks-based education.
“We even dissuade some parents who come to our school seeking admission for their children,” says Lalitha, founder of the school. “If they are keen that their children should secure a high percentage in the exams held for admissions to professional courses, then this school may not be suitable to them. The reception from parents and students is quite encouraging,” she says.
This is one of those rare schools where it is possible to see children ride horses and graze them in the school lawn, learn mountaineering, play with varieties of ducks, puppies of sippiparai and kombai breeds, Assam goats, and see them watch bees make honey. A small portion of the school’s playground area has been earmarked for growing vegetables, and students from 4-8 years are taught the importance of growing and consuming healthy food.
A number of organic farmers and activists make it a point to come to the school and talk to the young students about the importance of preserving native trees and cattle, as well as methods of growing healthy crops. Kangayam breed cattle are reared in the school campus along with other native animals.
“The cow dung is composted along with other decomposable waste generated in the school. The manure produced is then used by students in their little farm patches where they grow vegetables of their choice. Chemical inputs are completely avoided,” says Lalitha.
The students tend to their vegetable plants during their class timings and feel rewarded when they take the vegetables back home to be cooked.
“We also make sure that children get to eat the vegetables they grow. This encourages them to eat healthy vegetables free from toxins. As a school we feel that our project is a success when we see that our students have started making compost pits and small patches of kitchen gardens at home  too,” says Lalitha. Students also feel a sense of responsibility towards protecting more than a 100 native tree seedlings planted by them around the school campus. These trees are home to over 30 different species of birds identified in the vicinity.
Apiculture (honey bee rearing) is one of the activities that has been introduced to the students this year. Students appreciate the art of interdependence in community living by observing the functioning of honey bees in specially-made glass display honeycombs.
Children get to watch all the activities of the bee colony, and appreciate their importance as pollinators. They are made aware of the fact that almost 90 per cent of our food, especially vegetables and fruits, come from these pollinators.
Students take turns to ensure that the animals are cleaned and fed well. This helps them develop an intimate attachment towards animals around them.  (The Hindu, July 14, 2013)