From February 16th to 18th, Lucknow, India witnessed the most monumental public Convention in its history that was attended by over 110,000 delegates on expansive ‘Ramabai Park’ grounds. Headlined as “Parivartan Kumbh” (meaning, ‘Transformation’), it was hosted by “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation” (‘Ekal’, as it is popularly known) to highlight the ‘Parivartan’ (change) it has brought to over 105,000 rural and tribal areas across India.
Although rooted in education, in past 31 years, Ekal has significantly come a long way and evolved into economic empowerment of rural folks, village development, social-life improvement and digital connectivity. Initially, the rural-tribal children struggled to incorporate basic functional literacy in their daily chores. There wasn’t any trace of modernity either, affecting their lives. Now, the little ones, with digital ‘Tablets’ in hand, are aspiring to touch the Moon in their routine folklores. The main objective of this historic gathering was not only to highlight this willful reformation, but also, to emphasize villager’s confident strides towards contemporary ‘main stream’.
February 16th, saw a mammoth rally comprising representation from most of the Ekal villages in day-long awe-inspiring various village artistry sessions. The unprecedented gathering was also addressed by Didi Ma Sadhvi Ritambharaji. Currently, Ekal has 105,000 schools in the same number of rural regions all over India, including Jammu-Kashmir & Nepal, that are grooming 2.8 Million children each year. Internationally, it has presence in ten countries – biggest among them is in USA. Ekal-USA provides, not only financial assistance, but also, gives active support in fields of ‘technology-transfer’ and healthcare.
February 17th was the inauguration day of this congregation and it was officiated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Hon. Adityanath Yogiji at the huge ‘Ambedkar Auditorium’ in ‘Ram Lohiya College’ in presence of capacity crowd. This day was devoted to honoring outstanding achievements of Ekal alumni who brought social, economic or cultural transformation to their own lives under most hardship conditions and had managed to become the toast of the ranking society. Board members of Ekal’s international chapters, generous Donors and special-project initiators were also felicitated. This entire event was organized and conducted by village youths. There were numerous stalls on the grounds displaying products from Ekal villages that are now integral part of its cottage industries.
The closing ceremony on February 17th was presided over by Defense Minister, Hon. Rajnathji. During this entire event there were deliberations on where Ekal wants to be in Yr.2025? In 2017, Ekal had already resolved to reach out to all of India’s 650,000-plus rural tribal regions. So, in addition to its main objectives, it was decided on this momentous occasion to make rural areas more ‘women & youth-centric’ to develop village’s and villager’s full potentials. On the social front, Ekal wants to create alcohol-free environment and overcome downside of caste, creed & religion, so that Gandhiji’s dream of ‘Su-Swaraj’ (ideal Admin – life) becomes a reality.
With this task in mind, Ekal has decided to create units of 10 youths in each village, called ‘Swaraj Senani’ (comprehensive nation building teams) that would keep track of progress and development in their village and also tap into governmental schemes & entitlements for the benefit of their brethren. Accordingly, the steps are already being taken at every level of Ekal to handover the baton for the new age to younger generation. A ceremony representing the new dawn was performed by ‘Ekal Abhiyan’ Chairman, Bajrang Bagraji, by handing over the Parivartan-flag to a youth group that defined rural and urban areas. Ranjani Saigal, Executive Director of Ekal-USA, confirmed that this entire 3-day event had pronounced presence of youths and every aspect of it was flawlessly administered, managed and executed by them.
As a departure from usual Bollywood-singers for its fund-raising events, Ekal-USA this year, has invited an array of diverse rural entertainers with exceptional artistry, as the headliners for the concerts. Their performances under the banner of ‘Bharat Ke Rang, Ekal Ke Sang’ have already started in southern parts of USA. This unique concert is a spectacular splendor of ethnic music, dances and dramas by enormously talented rural-tribal artistes. In 2017, if one can recall, the similar variety programs were sold-out wherever they took place. For performance in your town, kindly visit www.ekal.org.