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.