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HVK Archives: Modern education in a urukul environment

Modern education in a urukul environment - The Afternoon Despatch and Courier

Hubert Vaz ()
March 11, 1998

Title: Modern education in a urukul environment
Author: Hubert Vaz
Publication: The Afternoon Despatch and Courier
Date: March 11, 1998

One of the ambitious service projects of the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the country is the Keshav Shrushti
Complex, near Bhayander, which incorporates three main activities
- education, agriculture and herbal medicine. Of these
activities, the Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir residential school Is
considered the most Important since it aims at Imparting modern
education In a 'gurukul' environment and moulding its students In
the best traditions of Indian thought.

Perched on a plateau, 500 feet above the sea level, in the scenic
surroundings of Uttan, an idyllic village near Bhayander, is a
unique educational institution where, apart from the instructions
of the teacher, one can also hear the cries of the cuckoo, the
whistling wind, the ripples in a pond.

Ram Ratna Vidya Mandir, which is just a year old and already
having 21 students (Std. VI and VII) who are on the way to
completing their first academic term in the school. The school is
a constituent of the Uttan Vividh Lakhshi Shikshan Sanstha at the
Keshav Shrushti Complex at Uttan. Being a true confluence of
various streams of Indian thought, the school provides modern
education with emphasis on the knowledge and wisdom enshrined in
the traditions and cultural heritage of India.

The school, which is about 10 k.m. away from Bhayander railway
station, is located on top of a hill with an overview of the
Hindu Mahasagar on the west, green hills, a sweet water lake and
200 acres of greenery in the complex. A hitchhike to the road
towards the east takes you to a thick shady mango grove and the
agriculture and herbomedicinal centre of Keshav Shrushti.

According to the principal of the school, Mr. S. N. Padalkar,
though it was starred with one class each in Standards VI and
VII, it proposes to start classes from Standard III onwards from
June 1998 and the admission process is already under way. By the
year 2001, the school will have its first batch of SSC students.

Already equipped with a laboratory, library, computer room, a
students mess and hostel, the school, which has a syllabus
designed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New
Delhi, encourages students not only to develop research
mindedness but also to develop their individual talents in
sports, music, etc.

While it is considered ideal for the wards of Non-Resident
Indians (NRIs), students from all parts of India are considered
for admission after an entrance test. The daily routine of the
students is so designed as to develop in them love for the
country and a desire to advance its place in the comity of
nations. They also guided towards becoming illustrious citizens
and providing leadership for bringing glory to the motherland.

Besides regular academics, the extra curricular activities
include various games and sports, martial arts, swimming,
mountaineering, horse-riding, archery, rifle shooting, etc.
Facilities are also provided for encouraging children to pursue
artistic endeavours like music, dance, painting and crafts.

All care is taken to ensure the safety and good health of the
students. A doctor visits the school every week to attend to
ailments, if any, otherwise medical help is administered either
at a dispensary in the complex or at nearby hospitals. if
required. Also, students have the benefit of eating organic food
and drinking cow's milk from Keshav Shrushti. A qualified
nutritionist helps decide the healthy menu for the meals which
are purely vegetarian.

No friends or relatives are allowed to take students out of the
school premises while even parents/guardians can meet them only
after school and rest hours. Students are expected to write home
once a week and the names and letters received are subject to
thorough scrutiny.

The school's motto 'Gyanam Vigyan Sahitam' Indicates the emphasis
put on blending the modem updated knowledge of science and
technology with traditional, realised and assimilated Vedic and
Upanishadic wisdom about nature, society and the universe. At
every stage, the pursuit of knowledge is tempered with character
and human values through a constant 'guru-shishya' relationship
in a urukul-like' environment. Not only the teachers, but all
the functionaries of the school are expected to ' engage into
exemplary behaviour for the students.

(For more details, contact School office: 81885001, Mumbai
office: 4924144)

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