Karma Yoga Convention – 9 Feb 2013

On Saturday, 9th February 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 Ranga Mandira 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: Krishi Vigyan 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.”

Our 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.

One of the participants said, “Karma-Yoga program has helped us look at the leadership qualities within us. Having been brought up in a different set up, opportunities to seek knowledge and learn new things had always been minimal until now. Through this program we aim to manage our village in a more organized way.” Another villager said that, “The knowledge shared by the students made us think like a strategist."

Student Achievements

Winners - Litmus Case study competition conducted by SIMC

Abhishek Jain, Harleen Wahi

Winners - 'Anti Muda', Inter college Operations Competition conducted by LIBA

Vishal Drolia, Yash Sobti

Runners up - 'The Grail', Business Plan competition conducted by BIM, Trichy

Kishore Kumar R, Sampath Selvan, Joyeeta Mukherjee

Winners  - 'Say What', a marketing competition conducted by IIM Shillong

Arnav Talwar

Article published in Samvad : WE school student magazine, Welingkar college, Mumbai

Arnav Talwar, Inder Deep Singh

Runners up - Ca$e Anova, Rural Marketing Case study competition conducted by IIM Trichy

Gajendra Sisodia, Tanya Seth, Deepika Solanki

Winners - Pinnacle Ad-ah, a Marketing Plan Competition conducted by IIM Trichy

Abhishek Jain, Harleen Wahi, Inder Deep Singh