Friday, February 25, 2005

iwitnessed ivolunteer

This is something blogworthy that happened which predates the blog, but here it is, because I think I’m getting addicted to blogging.

As a part of Delhi University, I’m used to the vibrant student culture here. People who come and talk to us to initiate change, firebrand students who do propel change.
D school.
And then FMS. Which overlooks the road to the market.
Maybe its symbolic.
Is it an accident that DU doesn’t know about FMS? That no posters of college activities are stuck up in FMS? We worry about companies and the average person not knowing about FMS.
I think its became FMS doesn’t involve itself in DU. Its not just because it’s a postgraduate institute-look at Dschool.
When I reached Dschool, I found myself in a small room, which had some twenty people in it. The talk had not begun, although I was late.
I was tempted to go back.
Then, the people began speaking. I was reminded of FMS. It was life a few hundred metres away viewed upside down-or down side up.
The speakers were very good. Brands in their own right. DPS Mathura Road. SRCC. MBA IIM A. FPM IIM A. They hadn’t let brand MBA sear their skin though.
Mr. Pandey, head of the NGO version of CII- VANI started the Powerpoint presentation. I was reminded of Bschool. The bullet points were there, to hammer his points home .
Profit in its simplest sense, means surplus. To use some favourite MBA jargon, to add value.
To think of value in monetary terms alone would be short sighted. To translate in monetary terms, NGO related work entitles corporates to tax benefits. Hence corporate social responsibility.
He spoke of how NGOs develop people who work, thereby adding to National Income.
I found my attention wandering, in the Powerpoint. I found myself reminded of the lectures in College. At least I’m imbibing a bit more now than I used to then, thanks to Powerpoint.
Or so I thought. Then the second speaker spoke.
Like the storytellers of yore. A raconteur.
I was on a train, on my way to FMS after the Autumn Break. A boy with impish eyes asked me which class I was in. As this is an FAQ, the question was no surprise. How do I explain it to him?
I counted the years I’d studied. Which class are you in? I asked. Class II he shouted. Class 16, I said.
This was the same technique, Mr. Gulati used to explain to the villagers of Ghad, at the foothills of Dehradun. They’d studied till Class III, Class IV. They were astonished and asked, What did you study? And he was at a loss to explain. It helps us get a job, but what is the intrinsic value of what we study?
He’d ask in turn , looking at a field, is this wheat or rice? He was unskilled when it came to thatching a roof or ploughing a field. Do tomatoes grow above the ground or below?
He spoke of villagers who were showed pictures of city folk. What do you associate with these people, he asked them. Civilization.
Alright. Suppose they were traveling through your village and their car broke down. They knocked on your door. What do you do?
They said without hesitating, We’d offer them shelter.
Alright. Now suppose you are marooned in the city. You knock on a door. Do you think you’d get shelter?
No, they said.
Who’s civilized then? Trivia-the root of the word civilization is civic, which is also the root of the word city.
He spoke of this book Affluenza, and this website called which counts the goods and bads a country produces, in its National Income.
He spoke of how we are foreigners in India.Of how foreigners who come to India, would probably feel more at home, when they see Macdonalds, than the villager on a city junket.
This leads naturally to the white man’s burden now being the urban educated professional man or woman’s burden.
We live in a global village, where the villagers have been nudged out.
He has set up Manzil, where 80 children who go to government school are taught. Education there means business-it is strictly vocational. I am reminded again of my MBA. No one goes to university abroad-its too expensive .Vocational courses like in plumbing are popular.
So for all quarter life crisis sufferers, ivolunteer (a ‘facilitator’, a la CRAP. PJ-would the NGO version of CRAP be COWDUNG?Joffers a 6 week internship with an NGO, from mid May. For us, they may start projects from June. The NGOs who have agreed to ivolunteers are listed on their
The forms asks you for functional skills you have. To rub salt in wounds, it helps you out with examples. ‘like can you cook your own food, do your laundry, travel alone.)That made me think. In some ways, I would be a liability where I was thinking I would be an asset. Some one would have to cook for me.
Application forms can be downloaded from the website.
They will provide a stipend of Rs. 3500, which is expected to cover your food and accommodation. They will also pay train fare to and from Delhi. They will provide stints in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Projects would include ones like selling health insurance through Self Help Groups.


LI said...

Probably media team should do an analysis on doing some visibility campaigns in our home turf , DU
;-) . Still thinking ;;;;;-)

Anonymous said...

some of it made sense to me nuts, need to know more.

blueglassvase said...

WELL??? here i am, and its TWO days since update! :D welcome to the most dresed word a blogger can hear ;)

blueglassvase said...

er....zat wuz dreaded....but im sure you goddit :)

umang said...

I thought you said that you've blogged! All I find here is an old post!

Anonymous said...

It made you think you might be a liability.. true but have you really given a thought on how independent are you in the real meaning of the term?

swamy said...

Manish, IIM is IAS Topper at AIR 5. Cheers!!

Date:12/05/2005 URL:

Front Page

Railway official from Tamil Nadu is IAS topper

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Railway traffic service official Srinivasan Nagarajan has bagged the top spot in the Union Public Service Commission Civil Services (Main) Examination. The results were announced here on Wednesday.

In all, 422 candidates, including 67 women, have been recommended for appointment. While the top 20 includes six women, 193 candidates have been selected from the general category, including three physically challenged persons, 118 from Other Backward Classes, 64 from Scheduled Castes and 47 from the Scheduled Tribes category. The number of vacancies reported by the Government for IAS, IFS and IPS is 91, 20 and 88, for the Central Services Group `A' 235 and the Central Services Group `B' 19.

It may have been his fourth and last attempt but for Tirunelveli-based Mr. Nagarajan, it could not have ended on a better note. A B.Tech from BITS Pilani, he had sociology and geography as options. Professionals have clearly scored, with the top 10 comprising an engineer, two doctors and an IIM graduate. Basant Garg and Gaurav Uppal are both doctors and hold the second and third ranks this year. Basant has cleared it in his first attempt.

Manish Kumar, ranked fifth, is an IIM graduate. He had to choose between a New York posting with handsome salary and one that would help him serve his own people.

"I decided to take the UPSC exam when I got the offer for a job in New York. Although the money was great, I wanted to do something here. I was not sure if coming back would be easy once I went there, so I decided to write the exam instead. It is my third attempt but I am glad to have finally made it," he said. Interestingly, at least six of the top 10 were trained at an institute here. "We were confident of having our students in the top 10 but six of them, including the top three, was completely unexpected. It has been a brilliant year for us," said Sri Rangam, the man behind the Delhi branch of Sri Ram Institute.

© Copyright 2000 - 2005 The Hindu

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