Tata-Dhan Academy: PDM

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Programme in Development Management

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat: Is a salute enough for development?

By Shanti Gupta

For the past five years, I have been thinking that the way I’ve always celebrated Republic Day is insufficient. In my college and in many formal and informal institutions, the “traditional” way of celebrating Republic Day has become simply gathering in a common place, saluting the flag, talking about our great leaders for a couple of minutes, and at last having some sweets; but, is this enough? I thought about it, and felt that “Oh, I’m a student. So, my responsibility is to study and respect my parents. These are my duties.” In this way, I satisfied myself. But this satisfaction was short-term. Another national festival would come every August, and again, subconsciously, I used to ask myself what I could do for the country’s development. I felt that I had the potential to serve under-represented members of society, but to do so, I would need a platform to enhance my knowledge and skill on how to develop the country.

Now in Tata-Dhan Academy, I feel that I am on my way to finding different ways—big and small—that I can help the development of the country. After six months of the PDM course, not only has my attitude towards development improved, but the role I can play and the responsibility I have are also becoming clearer. I have also realized that we can take actions in many different ways, and that our Republic Day celebrations can be much more than short speeches and sweets.

Children from the village recite a pledge after hoisting the flag.

On 23 January, I got the news that Tata-Dhan Academy would go to a village to celebrate Republic Day. We (PDM 11 students) planned interactive activities for the villagers, particularly for the school children. After celebrating Republic Day at the Academy, we went to Thenkarai, a village located near to our campus. For the first phase of the day’s programme, we went to the primary school and the Aganvadi centre for celebration. The school’s headmistress and a teacher were waiting for the panchayat president to hoist the flag. In between, we got a chance to talk with the villagers. Although I do not know Tamil, I was able to understand most of what people said. After the flag hoisting, the pachayat president addressed the gathering. My faculty, Mrs. R Sangeeta, helped me to understand every activity including the student’s prayer and pledge, and the speeches that people made. (During this time, it was clear to me that at the Tata-Dhan Academy, the faculty’s role does not stop with subject and classroom teaching.)

For the second phase of the programme, we moved into one of the classrooms. Here, I was surprised by the childrens’ knowledge and ability. A 3rd standard girl gave us detailed information about her village, district, state, and country. The primary school students also performed some excellent cultural programes.

The school student presentations were followed by a short play from the Academy’s students. We were all afraid that the audience would not be able to understand the theme of our play, but fortunately, our only Tamil-speaking batchmate (Aravind) was able to verify that our message was understood. Our play was inspired by the third Millennium Development Goal: promote gender equality and empower women. According to the data available, we are far behind achieving this goal. Our citizens always think that the government, NGOs, or “somebody else” would take actions to address this goal. At citizens, though, we can do better than any other institutions. But, even at the micro (family) level, we create many hurdles to achieving this goal. If this is changed, society can change, and gender equality and women’s empowerment would happen in a very short time.

A Umarani, Director of Tata-Dhan Academy, quizzes the children in the village.

After our play, we had a short “quiz” session. It was great to see how excited the children were to answer all the questions. It was also good to see that the general knowledge of the school children was quite strong. We distributed prizes to students who were able to answer our quiz questions—some of them even got four prizes!

The final phase of our celebration was dedicated to Millennium Development Goal number seven: ensure environmental sustainability. The villagers, our faculty, and the Academy’s students all came together and planted several trees in the village.

Students and faculty from the Academy plant trees while children from the village look on.

Overall, the experience helped me find a part of an answer to “What can I do for the development of my country.” I realized that there is no need to think that we only have to take big steps. We should also think practically about what we can do at our current level. Small things have the potential to contribute in big ways. After we planted the saplings, we handed over the caretaking responsibility to the village children. We have a responsibility to making the world a good place for them, and we also hope that our efforts taken on this day also helps them to understand that they, too, can play a role in the development of this country. Now, I feel that I can say proudly, “Mera Bharat Mahaan.”

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Filed under: General TDA, Non-Academic, PDM 11, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Dear Shanti,

    You wrote well, I am also agreed with you… It is not more than enough to just make flag hoisting & say Jai Hind, Jai Bharat..!! These days we just do remember our patriotism only on our national Holidays i.e. republic day, Independence Day. We have to have think beyond this, The day we start to perform our duties, & learn to use our rights in appropriate way, The day we start to think Are we doing all what we can ? The whole scenario will change….

    All the Best..!!

    Devendra

  2. shanti211087 says:

    yes sir, In India like country people want a leader who initiate anything afterwards people can follow,people have capability to change the whole world but in lack of guidance their capacity is not utilized in proper manner. I was also one of them but Tata-Dhan Academy has given a platform to develop attitude towards development and take action. Thanks for your blessing.

    Shanti Gupta
    PDM 11

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