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Karma Yoga 2013

Karma Yoga Second Annual Convention

The Second Annual Karma-Yoga Convention, conducted at the Great Lakes campus on 24th August 2013, had over 160 participants (including panchayat presidents, women’s self-help group leaders, school principals and teachers, farmers and students) from each of the 20 Karma- Yoga villages. Mr. Vellore C. Srinivasan, a much sought after environmentalist and a member of the Planning Commission, was the Chief Guest. He enthralled the audience through his eloquent words, saying that “the solution to a problem will always lie where the problem actually exists” thus leaving the crowd with food for thought.

The inaugural session was followed by four discussion sessions on the topics:-

1. Agriculture:Agriculture is full of dualities—(i) fertilizers and pesticides boost crop yield but also decrease soil fertility; (ii) best practices in agriculture require education but the educated are moving away from agriculture; and (iii) agriculture employs around 60% of the population but is contributing to the nation’s GDP in ever-decreasing amounts. These inherent contradictions and other issues were raised at the “Agriculture” session. The speakers were Dr. Kumaravel, Director of KrishiVigyan Kendra (Kaattuppaakkam), Mr. T.D. Subbu, an organic farmer, Mrs. Sabitha Rani Balaji, organic farmer cum activist, and Mr. Soundhararajan, farmer cum entrepreneur.

2. Health: Alternative medicine and emerging trends in sanitation was the topic for the “Health” session. Several video clippings were shown and varied points of concern were raised, enabling the participants to put ‘health’, a relatively neglected issue in their daily lives, to the forefront. The speakers in this session were Dr. Saravanan, a Siddha medic at RUWSEC (Karumarapakkam), Dr. Dharmaraja, a homeopathy practitioner from Puducherry, and Mr. Vellore C. Srinivasan, the Chief Guest.

3. Education: In the “Education” session, the first speaker, Mr. Theendhayalan, a teacher, instantly seized everyone’s attention through his poetic introduction which emphasized the necessity of education right from childhood and the need to send children to school without fail. The second speaker Mr. Venkatesh, addressed the audience by introducing MalalaYousafzai and her contributions in the form of sacrifices for promoting education. The final speaker, Mr. Ram Kumar appealed to the villagers, coaxing them to recognize their self-worth and frame a mission statement to make their lives meaningful. By narrating various short stories, he tried to highlight the relevance of education in driving life towards continuous improvement.

The Panel discussion was followed by a Workshop for Self-Help Groups on the topic “Developing Entrepreneurial Aptitude” hosted by Mr. AmuthaMathiyazhagan, a successful coach and mentor. He had the crowds enraptured right from the beginning, creating opportunities for them to express pride in their many successes as self-help group members and also discuss some of their current problems.



Karma Yoga 2013 Photos of second convention

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Karma yoga 2012

Karma-Yoga First Annual Convention

On Saturday, February 9, 2013, Great Lakes Institute of Management witnessed the first ever Karma-Yoga Convention – an annual all-inclusive platform that aimed to bring together farmers, businessmen, self-help groups, non-governmental organizations, students, local Panchayat leaders and every other stake-holder relevant in the rural development schema together under one roof.

Interlaced with motivating speeches, cultural celebrations and discussions on raging socio-economic issues, this event enabled the institute to take the relationship and trust it established with the villagers through the Karma-Yoga project to a whole new level.

The Convention was divided into four segments: first was the inauguration session, which included motivating addresses by the chief guests, next was a panel discussion on the topic "Changing trends in Rural Communities: A look at livelihoods, education and social interface of communities", which was followed by the cultural program by children from all 20 villages and the valediction ceremony.

Dr. Swarnamalaya Ganesh - a professional Bharatnatyam dancer and Director of RangaMandira Trust and School of performing arts and Dr. S. Natarajan – Opthalmologist, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Pvt. Ltd were the chief guests for the day. The conference also saw the participation of members from NGOs and non-profit organizations, who participated in the discussion as panelists. Some of the NGOs and non-profits organizations that were represented are: KrishiVigyan Kendra, Vaanagam, Centre for Culture and Development, Tamil Nadu Science Forum, RUWSEC, Reward Trust, Rotary Club of Madras West, Childline, Centre for Social Initiative & Management, Hope Foundation Elementary & Primary School &Nalamdana Trust.

Prof. Venkat R. Krishnan – Director, Yale-Great Lakes Center for Management Research welcomed the dignitaries, members from NGOs and non-profit organizations and the people from the villages and set the context for the convention. The objective of Karma-Yoga, the village empowerment project undertaken by the institute with the help of its students, he said, was to help the people lift themselves into their better selves and to enable them to achieve growth and development without any dependence.

Addressing the gathering Dr. Bala V Balachandran, said that it was heartening to see the involvement of more than 2/3rd of the students who weren’t from south, in this Leadership Experiential Project called Karma-Yoga which necessitates them to visit the villages and interact with the village people who speak only Tamil. This, he said, was an example of the inclusive growth that the institute promotes.

Dr. Swarnamalya Ganesh dwelt on how ‘aesthetic action’ can make the action itself, less burdensome. Dr. Ganesh also spoke about the three levels of problems existing in our country today – that of Governance, Society and Individual morals and said, that “she was delighted that the Karma-Yoga project was aiming at doing exactly that by reaching out and connecting with the village people and trying to curate their morals through various initiatives.”

The other Chief Guest Dr. S. Natarajan’s address was disarming in its simplicity and adherence to his to-the-core family-values. He spoke about the origins of Karma-yoga by quoting from the Bhagwad Gita and said the best way to live is by dedicating ones’ life for the service of humanity. He asked the students to have a large heart, as that was what was expected of tomorrow’s nation builders.

Dr. Prabhat Kumar – CMD, BHAVINI, in his keynote address spoke about how time-tested tenets guide one as one strives for excellence. "It’s a terrible thing to see but have no vision", he quoted. After an enthralling speech, he left the audience with his formula for achieving success, which he called the 3Cs: Clarity of vision, Conviction to succeed and Confidence to be.

Panel discussion post the inauguration session on the topic "Changing trends in Rural Development: An overview of education, livelihoods and the attitudes of people towards change". Moderated by Prof. Venkat R. Krishnan, this was an open-ended discussion of burning issues between the panel members from the NGO and non-profit organization and representatives of the rural communities which included but wasn’t limited to farmers, laborers, panchayat-presidents, councilors, women-self-help group leaders and young college-goers.

The discussion was followed by a series of events which included;

  • Village Festival: Walk through a colorful maze of stalls displaying local crafts and delicacies, Music and dances galore!
  • A War of Words: A debate session on topics currently relevant to the villages
  • Progressive Partnerships: Audience watched and listened to several organizations that have been working on issues relevant to community-development, more specifically whose work has impacted the people in the villages adopted by Great Lakes through this project.

Karma Yoga 2013 Photos of first convention