Shravan Shukla 10 Vik Samvat 2070. Yugabda 5115: August 16, 2013

1. FESTIVALS: Sri Ganesh Chaturthi Bhadrapad Shukla 4, September 9 this year, is the birthday (rebirth) of Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha, recreated by Bhagwan Shiva after beheading him by putting an elephant head on his trunk,  is worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival is observed for 10 days from Bhadrapad shukla 4 to Ananat Chaturdashi i.e. Shukla 14.
In houses, a small clay idol is worshipped, sweets offered and aartis are performed before it is taken to river or sea for Visarjan. The festival has also taken a public form where tall ganesh statues are placed in huge pandals, decorations made, cultural programs organized and lakhs participate in Visarjan processions.
It is celebrated all over Bharat, more predominantly in Maharashtra, TamilNadu, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Outside Bharat, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada, Mauritius UK Thailand, Burma, Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana etc.

2. RASHTRAPATI PRANAB MUKHERJEE’S ADDRESS ON THE EVE OF 67TH INDEPENDENCE DAY (Excerpts): Democracy breathes through a vibrant Parliament, an independent judiciary, a responsible media, a vigilant civil society, and a bureaucracy committed to integrity and hard work. It survives through accountability, not profligacy. We need a Parliament that debates, discusses and decides. We need a judiciary that gives justice without delays. We need leadership that is committed to the nation and those values that made us a great civilization. Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri comprised the ancient university system that dominated the world for eighteen hundred years beginning Sixth Century BC. A university is the banyan tree whose roots lie in basic education; we have to invest in every part of this knowledge tree, from seed, root and branch to the highest leaf.
Corruption has become a major challenge. The precious resources of the nation are being wasted through indolence and indifference. We have to rapidly empower the local bodies with functions, functionaries and finances to improve their performance.
The last decade has seen India emerge as one of the fastest growing nations in the world. In a globalized world, with increasing economic complexities, we have to learn to cope better with adversities, both external and domestic.          Our highest priority has to be the elimination of poverty. In our race for development, we must be careful not to disturb the balance between man and nature. Our commitment to peace is unfailing but even our patience has limits.
Rashtrapatiji called upon people to elect a stable government in the next general elections which will ensure security and economic development.

3. BHARAT LAUNCHES INS VIKRANT: Bharat launched its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier on August 12, a landmark moment in the $5 billion project that seeks to project the country's power and check the rising influence of China.When the INS Vikrant comes into full service in 2018, Bharat will become the fifth nation to have designed and built its own aircraft carrier, pushing ahead of China to join an elite club that includes Britain, France, Russia and the United States. The ship, which will be fitted with weaponary and machinery and then tested over the next four years, is a major advance for a country competing for influence in Asia, analysts say.

4. ‘Cultural nationalism- The Bharatiya perspective’: Delivering the valedictory address of a 2-day National Seminar organised by India Foundation and Center for Study of Religion and Society (CSRS), New Delhi along with The Mythic Society, Bangalore on ‘Cultural Nationalism: The Bharatiya Perspective’ on 8th August, 2013 at Bangalore, RSS Sah-Sarakaryavah Dattatreya Hosbale said that ‘Vedic Rashtra’ was not born out of wars and clashes but was born out of similar cultures. In Bharat, the Vedas, our rishis and people came together to form a nation. Rashtra may have a geographical boundary but it also has a spiritual and ethical connotation to it. The meaning of Rashtra may encompass the whole world. Our idea of a Rashtra is for spiritual emancipation whereas nation is for a political purpose.
Bharat was one before 1947 but now it has been divided into three states. I had once met a Bangladeshi citizen who when born was a Bharatiya. He belonged to Bharatiya nation. After 1947, East Pakistan was formed and he became a citizen of Pakistan. Again in 1971 Bangladesh was formed and he became a Bangladeshi Citizen. What we may observe here is that his state had changed but not his nationality. Nation is a Socio-Political concept whereas ‘Rashtra’ is a Socio-Cultural concept.
I had once asked a Jewish diplomat that since the Jews were spread all over the world for about 2000 years and in the meanwhile they would have intermingled and married across other cultures and religions and yet how could they claim that they are one nation still and what formed the basis of their nationalism even after these 2000 years. He said two things formed the basis of their nation even after these 2000 years of disparate existence. They are culture and religion. He said wherever we Jews lived, we followed our culture and religion. At conscious level we always felt as one nation. Common history, common traditions, common feelings form a nation. 
As one writer said, nation is a soul. In our nation, the national consciousness has been carried over various generations. Once Annadurai, former CM of Tamilnadu, in the Lok Sabha spoke of protecting our Himalayas during China war. Later many asked him as to why was he concerned about protecting the Himalayas which had no border with his state and was separated by thousands on kilometers. Annadurai answered that they belonged to one culture and shared the same history. This is cultural consciousness.
We also need to look into the role of proverbs in our nation. Where ever we go to any part of our nation, we get to hear the same proverb albeit in different languages. For example when a person whom we were talking about arrives, we wish him a hundred years. Even while I was at a remotest place like Demchuk, a local man quoted the same proverb when met with similar situation. One more example is ‘Namaste’. ‘Namaste’ is the same all over our nation. Even ‘Tilak’ on the forehead is a common symbol.
Cultural nationalism is something we are living but has been forgotten due to current political discourses. We need to understand it in right perspective. Cultural nationalism is not just a subject for the academia.” Kennedy once said, “Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies”. Similarly, Geography has made us a country, our history has made us a nation. Cultural nationalism is part and parcel of our life and we live it in our daily lives.” – Report by Prashanth Vaidyaraj for VSK, Karnataka.

5. Be the change to change the society: Mohan Bhagwat: “If you want to bring change in your favour, you be the change,” said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur on July 25. He was addressing the closely packed audience gathered at Vasantrao Deshpande Hall to commemorate the 87th anniversary of famous Marathi daily Tarun Bharat published from Nagpur since 1926. Stressing the role of media and newspapers in awakening the masses, Bhagwat praised Tarun Bharat for devoting itself to this mission since its first issue. Tarun Bharat, he said, “is not just another newspaper, but is a thought that inspires everybody in the society”.
Ashutosh, Managing Editor, IBN 7 Channel said that the media has emerged as a powerful tool that has brought the change in the society changing its time and space both. Recalling the sayings and observations of Swami Vivekananda, Ashutosh said we must remove the fear of the new and face the change boldly if we have to survive and make our nation a world leader.
Earlier, a short documentary on the journey of Tarun Bharat was screened. All the living former editors including MG Vaidya, DB alias Mamasaheb Ghumre, LT Joshi, Wamanrao Telang and Sudhir Pathak were felicitated.

6. Bharat Parikrama Yatra Completes ONE YEAR: It began with the sole aim to uplift rural Bharatiya life; RSS former Seva Pramukh Sitaram Kedilaya led Bharat Parikrama Yatra reached Badanor Village of Bhilawada district in Rajasthan, on its 365th day, marking the completion of a successful year.
Last year on August 09, 2012 the Bharat Parikrama Yatra was launched from Kanyakumari. On August 08, 2013 it completed successful 365 days traversing nearly 400 villages of 7 states, covering approximately 4000 Kilometers of journey. On July 03, 2013 Rajasthan became the 7th state to receive ‘Bharat Parikrama Yatra’, which entered the state on July 3rd from neighboring Gujarat. Yatra will continue in Rajasthan till September 25, 2013.

7. Congress Mukt Bharat is the best tribute to Bharat: Narendra Modi: “Today the atmosphere is of a Congress Mukt Bharat. I appeal to all parties here. What can be the best tribute to Bharat? It is a Congress Mukt Bharat”, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said in a big round of applause, addreesing the mega public meeting-Nava Bharat Yuva Bheri" (New Bharat's Youth Conclave) in Hyderabad on August 11. It was Modi’s first mega public speech after being appointed as a chairperson of election campaign of BJP.
Attacking Congress led UPA government, Modi said, “One family has ruled for decades but they have failed to do anything for the common man.” No food, clothing, shelter is the doing of the Congress. To change this we need to walk on path of development, he added. Advocating inclusive development he said that development is the only way ahead. In development lies solution to all problems.
Thousands of people turned up at the stadium to hear Modi. The stadium, in the heart of the city, was filled to its capacity by 2 p.m, two hours before he reached the venue.

8. Project Nirman, Bilaspur: An instrument of social change: Vanvasi Vikas Samiti is a social voluntary organization working in Chattisgarh state. VVS is running Project Nirman at Bilaspur which is a free coaching centre for Janjati youths. Nirman provides coaching for competitive exams for youths who come from educationally backward remote villages. This project is being run for the last three years.
This year students of project Nirman appeared for various exams and 55 students successfully got through the exams. Students secured jobs in the field of Banking, Railway, Police, Veterinary, Education and income tax services. Felicitation programme of successful students was organized on 21 July at Ram Mandir auditorium in Bilaspur.

9. YOGA EDUCATION MADE COMPULSORY IN MADHYA PRADESH: Yoga education will be made compulsory in schools of the state from class 1 to V. Addressing a meeting of Madhya Pradesh Yoga Parishad, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed to prepare course for practical and theory for Yoga education. Chouhan said that Yoga education should be imparted from childhood so that its foundation is strengthened. About availability of Yoga teachers, Chouhan said that initially, master trainers should be raised. These trainers will train teachers. Chouhan directed School Education Department to prepare Yoga education course and outlines for teachers' training within a month.
It is noteworthy that Yoga education is being imparted to students of class VI to VIII in the state. Under it, teaching and reading material has been provided for Yoga introduction, Yogic postures, Surya Namaskar, aasan, pranayam, mudras and meditation. At the meeting, issues pertaining to Yoga education's training and availability of Yoga teachers were also discussed.

10.   Ram Madhav on Face BOOK ON 5 August: One of our Pracharaks, in early 40s, met with a tragic train accident and died two days ago. He was a very gentle and lovable guy. Thousands turned up at his funeral.
His elder brother performed the last rites. What he and his wife said after the funeral was really inspiring and touching. 'My brother dedicated his life to the RSS. There should be at least one Pracharak in our family. ‘If my brother is no more today, my son will fill that gap and become a Pracharak soon'.
What a dedication! His son is still a young boy in studies. Pracharaks in RSS are dedicated full time activists who remain unmarried and work for the society without any personal gain.
In fact, it is the dedicated brothers like the one above who are the real strength of the RSS and support for the Pracharaks.

11. Dalai Lama opens Tibetan Pavilion at FACT Museum: “We as human beings create problems by our wrong doings and then seek God’s interference in resolving them. This is absolutely absurd because even God is helpless in solving the issues we create”, the Tibetan spiritual leader stressed emphasizing the need to find out solutions to the problems created by “our own” actions.
The Tibetan leader was speaking after inaugurating the Tibetan Pavilion at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History at Wadgaon Shinde near Lohegaon on July 28. The pavilion showcases an exhibition of text and photographs depicting the trials and travails of Tibetan community over the last six decades. FACT- Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism, started by Francois Gautier a French journalist settled in Bharat, undertakes awareness campaigns, conferences, exhibitions films and papers on Art, Culture, History, and Human Rights abuses. Fact India’s objective is to bring attention to these forgotten and neglected issues and to pressure the governments and international organizations to take corrective actions.

12. Hinduism is very much alive: “Mahatma Gandhi used the concepts of Sattva and Ahimsa (non-violence) and packaged them in such a way that they could be used in the political field. A number of leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela draw inspiration from him and his principles. Even at the Oval office in the White House, Obama pays his tribute to Gandhi every day,” said Dr Shaunaka Rishi Das, an Irish, of the Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies, speaking at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru on August 11, on the long philosophical traditions of Hinduism, its contemporary relevance and the challenges it is facing.
Quoting from the Rig Veda and the Upanishads, Das spoke about certain profound questions relating to Kama (desire), Sattva (goodness) and Atma (soul) that have been asked in these texts and hold an universal and contemporary appeal. These ideas have also recently seen their influence in the Middle East in the form of the Arab Spring. One cannot, however, characterise these essentially as Hindu or of Hinduism due to its universal nature which was the beauty of the religion.

13.   Hindus Celebrate New Temple In Virginia, US: Several white marble statues were installed at the BAPS temple in Salem, the second such temple in the Roanoke Valley, after a Shobha Yatra in downtown area, on August 4. Roanoke's and Salem's mayors, Virginia lawmakers, national Hindu leaders and about 800 religious followers traveled from as far away as New Jersey to take part in the centuries-old tradition of installing a new temple. The temple will serve as a hub for the Roanoke Valley's Hindu community, which is made up of about 400 families. "It will help people who immigrated from Bharat - first, second-generation kids - it will help them understand the culture, the religion, what we do," Dharmendra Patel, an active member of the BAPS denomination and a Salem business owner said. Coming from an Irish Catholic background, Roanoke Mayor David Bowers said he didn't understand everything he saw, but he enjoyed the opportunity to learn about a different religion.

14. GURUDAKSHINA IN KATHMANDU: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Nepal, Kathmandu Mahanagar organised Guru Dakshina on July 27, presided by Ma. Om Prakash Khandelwal, Mahanagar Sanghachalak. Sunil Ambekar, National Secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad graced the occasion as chief guest.
"In spite of availability of various ways of learning, the students today are going astray due to lack of proper guidance from the teacher. In such a situation, the sole way to provide students with proper guidance towards right direction is through the implementation of the sacred Guru-Shishya tradition in today's educational system too," said Sunil Ambekar.
"Sangh has regarded the most sacred Bhagwa Dhwaj as the Guru instead of any particular individual. The Bhagva Dhwaj is a symbol of one of the basic human values 'sacrifice'. It teaches us to sacrifice our selfish motives for the service of the society," he added. About 200 Karyakartas from Mahanagar Sakha worshipped the Dhwaj and offered Guru Dakshina.

15.   PIO to head SA hospital that did 1st heart transplant: A Bharatiya-origin doctor has taken over as the first woman CEO of a hospital globally renowned for carrying out the world’s first heart transplant. Dr. Bhavna Patel took charge of the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, where Dr. Chris Barnard had carried out the first ever heart transplant in 1967. Patel was chief operating officer of the medical facility for two years before taking up her new position.

16. Green cards for Bharatiyas soar six-fold: In 2012, as many as 35,472 Bharatiyas with H-1B visas got green cards, up from 6,000 in 2011 — accounting for more than 50% of all green cards issued to H-1B holders for all countries in the year. The data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) comes in the wake of a new Bill that focuses on attracting knowledge workers to the US by providing them citizenship.
Clearly, the US wants to retain its competitive edge and accelerate R&D. "They need people with specialized skills who can substantially contribute to the knowledge economy. The large base of Bharatiyas with advanced degrees and domain expertise is highly sought after and given preferential treatment," said Rakesh Prabhu, partner, immigration practice, ALMT Legal.

17. PIO Rumi Verjee made a lord: Multimillionaire Rumi Verjee, who brought the Dominos pizza chain to Britain, has now become Lord Verjee. A well known donor to the Liberal Democrat party, he is among the 30 new peers announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron on August 1. Verjee is a Uganda-born Bharatiya entrepreneur and is believed to be worth an estimated 125 million.
Verjee is a highly successful entrepreneur and the proprietor and chairman of Thomas Goode & Co, based in Londons Mayfair. He founded Dominos Pizza in the UK. A fourth generation Bharatiya born in Uganda, much of the Verjee family’s assets were seized by the Idi Amin regime. After the expulsion of the Asian population from Uganda, he made the United Kingdom his home.

18.   No. of PIOs with overseas Indian citizenship card soars 10 fold: Over two lakh people of Bharatiya origin have opted for the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card every year since 2010 while one lakh cards have been given out in the last 5 months. The largest group of overseas citizens of Bharat is in the US, which boasts of 5.2 lakh card holders, followed by the UK with 3.1 lakh people. Other countries that have a significant number of OCI card holders are Australia with 1.3 lakh people and Canada with 1.1 lakh. This means that roughly four out of every five OCI card holders live in one of these four countries. The number of OCI card holders increased from 1.12 lakh in 2006-2007 to 12.52 lakh as on February 2013, growing more than 10-fold in seven years. Between February and July this year, the number has gone up to 13.72 lakh.

19. NAVY LOSES TOP SUB: In the biggest peacetime disaster to hit the Bharatiya Navy, its Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhurakshak docked off the Mumbai coast sank August 13 night after two massive blasts set off a raging fire. All 18 crew on board, including the warship’s second-in-command, are feared dead.

20. Sun, sand and citizenship: Soon, cricket may not be the only connection Bharatiyas have with the Caribbean. Countries like St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica and Antigua have rolled out attractive cash-for-citizenship programs to woo Bharatiya immigrants.
The latest to launch a citizenship-by-investment (CIP) program is Antigua & Barbuda, a tiny independent Commonwealth state in the eastern Caribbean which will open up its borders to other nationals in a month. It is giving full citizenship for an investment of at least $400,000 (about Rs 2.4 crore) in an approved real estate project. A St Kitts citizenship, too, comes for $400,000 while tiny tropical Dominica is even cheaper at $100,000 (Rs 60,70,000). Both countries have set their sights on wealthy Chinese as well as Bharatiya immigrants. Since the program was announced in March, we have had a number of inquiries from Bharatiya  citizens. Most of them view it as a lifestyle investment, says Jason Taylor, CEO, Janik Partners, an Antigua-based company that specializes in CIP. So what are the advantages of an Antigua and Barbuda passport besides the tropical breeze, swaying palm trees and white sand beaches, of course An Antigua passport can get you visa-free travel to 126 countries including Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and Europe. St Kitts gets you over 100 countries. A Bharatiya passport only gets you 55 countries.
As a Commonwealth citizen, one also receives certain preferential treatment in the UK. For example, your children may enter the UK to study without first having to apply for student visas. After studying, they may work there for two years without a work permit.

21. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale samyojak Vishwa Vibhag returned to USA after weeklong tour to Jamaica. Shri Ravikumar sahsamyojak returned Bharat from Srilanka tour. Dr. Ram Vaidya sah samyojak will be visiting Caribbean countries of Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad. Visitors: Virendrakumar Harit – France, BS Deshmukh – Japan,

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: An aggregate or a congregation of men does not make a nation, nor do the geographical area and duration of time qualify a society to be known as a nation. A government formed on such basis can be called a state, but not a nation. It is common goal or mission that makes a nation. All the constituents strive collectively for something noble… Service with a spiritual orientation results in man making which is invariably and inseparably connected with nation building. It is the core of all our thoughts behind this organisation (Vivekanand Kendra). – Eknathji Ranade.

Gujarat shows how to go green
Nilesh Shukla
Gujarat is a pioneer in social forestry. The State was first in the country to initiate social forestry activities in 1970. Then learning a lesson from Gujarat, the first national seminar on social forestry was organised in Gandhinagar in 1976. After four decades, a second national seminar on social forestry was organised in February 2011, once again, in Gandhinagar.
In the last decade, social forestry initiatives have been intensified and new dimensions added across the State. The Van Mahotsav programme especially has made a significant contribution. Even though Gujarat’s forest cover is less, the State is now a leader in tree coverage. Nationally, about 2.77 per cent of the area is under tree cover but in Gujarat that number is over 4.0 per cent, according to a 2011 report of the Forest Survey of India.
Also, the number of trees outside the forest area increased from about 25.1 crore in 2003 to 26.9 crore in 2009 to 3014.14 crore this year. That’s an impressive 19.2 per cent increase in a decade. Gujarat’s tree density of 16 trees/ha in the non forest areas is also higher than that of the national average.
This year, the 64th State-level Van Mahotsav was celebrated at Nageshwar village of Dwarka in Jamnagar district where Chief Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 10th Sanskritik Van. In fact, it was Mr Modi who conceived the idea of a Sanskritik Van during the 2004 Van Mahotsav.
That idea was first executed in the form of Punit Van and, thereafter, a total of 10 Sanskritik Vans were successfully established across the State. The objective of a Sanskritik Van or Cultural Forest is to increase the participation of the people and create awareness among them. This has both increased the number of trees in the State and generated employment. Indeed, these ‘Trees Outside Forest’ contribute over Rs5,000 crore to the State economy annually.
The concept of a Sanskritik Van is rooted in ancient Indian texts such as the Vedas, Puranas, and Upanishads that reflect upon the relationship between humans and their environment. But it also incorporates the fact that till date, people have great regard for astrology and the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Therefore, plantations are planned accordingly — such as Navgraha Van, Nakashatra Van, Rashi Van, Panchvati, Trithankar, Saptarshi, Shriparni and Arogya Van — and gain popularity among the Gujaratis .
According to Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Social Forestry) HS Singh, the Gujarat Forest Department manages a ‘Social Forestry Programme’ for planting trees on non-forest lands which has greatly improved the State’s green cover.
The objectives of the programme were to increase the number of trees in the State, promote the participation of people and institutions to plant trees and put unproductive land to productive use. According to the National Forest Policy of 1988, one-third of the geographical area of the country should be maintained as forest and tree cover. As per the State of Forest Report (2009), Gujarat has only 9.83 per cent of its geographical area declared as forest, which is much below the national average. Forest and tree cover is only to the extent of 11.74 per cent (7.46 per cent forest cover and four per cent tree cover outside forest) of its geographical area.
This is because more than half of the population of the State resides in rural areas, which is directly dependent on forest resources. Consequently, it has become imperative for the Government to regenerate green cover and maintain the productivity level of non-forest lands, particularly the common lands so that it can meet increasing rural needs. Promotion of tree planting on non-forest land, through the Social Forestry Programme has, therefore, been considered to be the only answer to improve the State’s green cover.
Gujarat’s success in the field of social forestry has been globally acclaimed and is considered to be among the best conservation stories around the world. And this is despite the fact that a major part of Gujarat falls in semi-arid and arid zones. It is no wonder then that the Gujarat model in social forestry is being replicated all over the country. – The Pioneer, 07 August 2013

My Visit to RSS and Sewa Projects in Mangalore
After attending shaka in the United States for the past decade, I had always wanted to see what it was like to attend shaka in India and get to know more about the Sewa projects in my native state of Karnataka. This year, from June 30th to July 3rd, I received the opportunity to visit an RSS base establishment and help out with two Sewa Bharati projects in Mangalore.
On the Saturday afternoon of June 30th, I took a bus from the town of Udupi to the city of Mangalore to stay at an RSS base called Sanghaniketan. At Sanghaniketan, I met two local karyakartas, Pradeep ji and Sachin Bhat ji, who helped me with all of my activities in Mangalore. After settling down, I went to shaka at the Sanghaniketan hall and met many people. Interestingly, all of the activities were the same as conducted in a regular family shaka in the U.S. except for the prarthana and the method of communication (Kannada). Later on Sunday, I attended another shaka that consisted mostly of bachelors. That night after dinner, I befriended several college age students who resided at Sanghaniketan and struck conversation until after midnight.
The next day, after waking up to prayer at 5:30 in the morning, I attended another shaka at Sanghaniketan and met several important karyakartas in the Mangalore area. After shaka, I visited two schools run by Sewa Bharati: Chetana Child Development Centre and the Roman and Catherine Lobo School for the Blind. At the Chetana School, I learned more about students affected by Autism and Cerebral Palsy after discussing with several experts in the field. I also visited the Pediatric Physiotherapy unit and observed many physiotherapists helping out children with cerebral palsy. Soon afterwards, I visited the School for the Blind and met with two teachers who taught blind students in Braille. In the evening, after relaxing with friends for some time, many of the shaka karyakartas played three short rounds of cricket. After my first full day in Mangalore, I was thrilled after having an amazing day meeting many new people at the Sewa Bharati schools and making many new friends in India.
On Monday, I had started off with the same morning routine of prayer and shaka as the day before. For breakfast, I went to Sachin ji’s house and met his whole family. Like any other cultured Hindu family, all the members of his family gave me a very warm welcome. A while later, I went back to Chetana school and visited several school teachers who taught elementary age students the subjects of Mathematics, English, and Computer Basics. To my luck, the teachers allowed me to aid the students who were mentally challenged. After a couple hours, I understood how difficult it was to teach even the most basic concepts in Math and English to third and four grade students. It was great to see how dedicated and passionate the teachers were to helping students overcome their difficulties and become better individuals in life.
The following day, Sachin ji and I first visited the Blind School. Since this school was more formal than the Chetana School and followed the state curriculum, I was not able to directly interact with students and teachers but I was allowed to watch the teachers teach students various subjects ranging from Sciences and Technology to Poetry and Linguistics. At this school, the students were very proud and passionate of learning and aimed to perform their very best to excel in their academics. Later in the afternoon, I went back to the Chetana School and went to the school workshop for adult students where disabled students hand-made bags, envelopes, and many other items. Although the work seemed a bit mundane for regular people, it was an activity that bonded students very well. Many of the students got very excited to see visitors and several kept asking me if I would come back to work with them the next day. This day, I was able to not only see how happy these students were but also understand that even though they faced many difficulties, they were still able to overcome their hurdles and make it seem as if their life was perfect.

Finally, on the last day of my five day stay at Mangalore, I made my last visit to the Chetana School. Although it was a quite sad since my stay in Mangalore was so short, I was glad to have met many wonderful people in RSS and Sewa Bharati who dedicated their lives to uplift humanity. It was a great opportunity to get to know more about the activities going on in the Mangalore area and spend time with students my age. Thus, after my short five day stay, I would recommend students and youth to volunteer for the Yuva for Sewa internship program if possible or at the very least spend time in their native area to do RSS and or Sewa work.( Vinay Nayak – USA )