2nd Karma-Yoga Convention held on 24th August, 2013

Karma-Yoga, in the literal sense translates to the path of union through action. And, in the practical sense, it is the process of transforming lives through action. To move ahead on this path of transformation, Great Lakes welcomed the members of its extended family encompassing 21 villages to the 2nd Karma Yoga convention held on Aug 24,2013.

The ceremony was inaugurated with the lamp lighting by honourable chief guest Mr Srinivasan, a consultant and an environmentalist. Mr. Srinivasan motivated the entire crowd by his eloquent thoughts, and left them on a positive note by quoting “there has got to be a solution, wherever there is a problem.”

Mr. Srinivasan’s address was followed by an address by Prof.Venkat, who pioneered the concept of transformational leadership and laid the foundation of experiential learning program at Great Lakes. He welcomed the crowd on behalf of Great Lakes and threw light on how this program is devised to give the villagers an opportunity of interactive learning. He shared his belief that learning should not just be restricted to classrooms. It is the experiential learning through working in the field which actually passes the criteria of being a real one. He also emphasized on the importance of building relationships through healthy interactions. He ended his speech by reiterating the importance of interacting with each other and thanked everyone for their support & active participation in the second annual convention.

Next, Uncle Bala delivered the welcome address. He greeted the crowd with the famous Tirukural song. He enthusiastically welcomed all the people present for the convention. Uncle Bala thanked the members of extended family for accepting the students and teachers of Great Lakes, and also for helping them to evolve as better human beings. He set an example of being 76 years old and still having so much enthusiasm; requested the crowd to ooze out the energy and the crowd reciprocated the same with the prompt and loud vanakkam. He talked about some of the global issues like the importance of green earth and clean drinking water. Everyone present in the convention cheered and clapped for Uncls Bala. In the end, he thanked the excellent team of Prof. Venkat, comprising of Arun, Hetal and Archanaa, without whose consistent efforts, this event could not have been pulled off.

The program was divided into four thematic areas – Education, Self-help, Health and Agriculture. The main idea behind these was to identify villagers from different livelihoods and address their concerns related to these areas. Therefore, the villagers were split into 4 groups, one for each thematic area.

This area was meant for discussing queries and opinions about the current state of Education in India. Following speakers formed the panel for discussions about Education-

  • Mr. Theenadayalan, a teacher by profession, is also an author & a poet extraordinaire. He is a widely respected expert in the Right to Education movement. He 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. He reiterated the importance of education by mentioning struggle of few social reformers in the field of education and their determination to fight for their rights. He emphasized that every kid is an indispensable treasure and a future gem which accentuates the responsibility to curb child labour and motivate schooling.

    He responded to the queries of the crowd regarding intervention of politics in manipulation of book content, the ineffective teaching style in government school which enforces them to take a back seat when compared to the quality of education in private school, syllabus pattern in higher classes, breach in the implementation of 25% reservation for underprivileged in private school, difference between inclusive and differentiated education, absence of the footprints of Navodaya Vidyalaya in Tamil Nadu.


  • Mr. Venkatesh, a member of TNSF (Tamil Nadu Science Forum) State Executive committee, Kalpakkam addressed the mass by introducing Malala’s sacrifice and contribution towards promoting education. He explained how a willingness to do better is important to reach heights of success. Further, he introduced the people to the undertakings of his own organization, T.N Science Society and expressed his willingness to form educational associations in each village with prime focus on the improvement of quality education.

  • Mr. Ram Kumar attempted to motivate the villagers by coaxing them to recognize their self-worth and frame a mission statement to make one’s life meaningful. Through narration of various short stories, he tried to highlight the relevance of education in driving life towards continuous improvement and thus develop an interest to study without any thought of dropping out.


The whole purpose of self-help groups in general is to help each other out in testing times and to be there to share each other’s achievements, triumphs, motivate and to redefine happiness for each other, and that is exactly what happened at the Self-help Group Thematic Area at the 2nd Karma yoga Convention, 2013. The session was presided over by Mr. Amuthamathialagan, a corporate trainer, success coach and motivational speaker with an experience spanning a period of over a decade. Success stories of various self-help groups, representing the 21 participating villages were shared. Majority of the self-help group consisted of women who had been working selflessly for an average period of nine years in order to develop their villages and take command of their lives. They shared the obstacles which they faced in those situations and more importantly, they all shared how they overcame these obstacles. During the talk, Mr. Amuthamathialagan talked about us being the biggest obstacles in our development and he talked about how we can keep ourselves happy and to never discount ourselves, no matter what background we came from. "Dream Big, Aspire for more" was the mantra given by him to each one present there. The whole session was based on the theme of the importance of team-work and co-ordination with various fun games being played in between. Over all the session was a fun filled, inspiring one for all present there. It ended too with the importance of synchronization with everyone shaking a leg with two simple steps, and everyone present moving to the tunes at the same time.


Following speakers formed the panel for discussions about Agriculture-

  • Dr. P Kumaravel who is actively involved in education, research and transfer of technologies to farmers for several years now. In 2010, he was awarded the nation’s best KVK by our then president, Ms. Pratibha Patel.

  • Ms. Sabitha Balaji is a self taught farmer. She has made organic farming her life-pursuit. She vigorously advocates environmental conservation.

  • Mr Soundarajan served as the chairman of agriculture training and management in the Thirukkazhukkundram block. He is currently the chairperson and correspondent of Bharat Vidyalaya trust and primary school at Natham-Kariacheri.

  • Mr Subbu TD conducts farming activities on leased property and promotes natural farming products such as Panchagavya. He has been recognized by KVK and other organizations for “Best farming practices” over last several years.

The speakers talked about promoting organic and integrated farming among farmers and farm-women, children and youth. Emphasis was specifically laid on the population growth and its effects on the food availability, good soil, and clean water to facilitate the agriculture environment and pros and cons of using chemical fertilizers. The first speaker, Dr P Kumaravel, spoke eloquently about organic farming. “We add chemicals with abandon, but then the first thing to go is soil fertility. We have to use organic methods and look to improve productivity in a scientific manner,” he said. Our other guests also made the villagers aware of the importance of the Agriculture offices in different places across the state and how farmer can benefit from them.

The villagers were made aware of pros of Superponni seed, Makkachallan and how their low price could effectively help in farming. Ms. Sabitha discussed primarily Ponni Rice and how productivity of milk and egg increased. She appreciated the earnest endeavours made by Karmayogis by acknowledging the fact that contribution of the Karma Yoga Project was enormous in helping rural farmers and their efforts were not laughed into oblivion.


The following speakers led the panel discussion for Health-

  • Dr. R. Dharmaraja - He worked at JIPMER starting out as a theatre assistant and, after several promotions he retired from services at the Medical College as Superintendent.

  • Dr. Saravanan - a part of RUWSEC (Rural Women’s Social Education Center) for over two years now. His lifelong pursuit is the propagation of herbal medicine.

  • Mr. Vellore Srinivasan - Project Director of the newly started Indian Green Service (IGS), who introduced the innovative system in Vellore district when he was the president of Exnora Green Cross, Vellore. At present, Mr Srinivasan is popularising the system of Solid and Liquid Resource Management (SLRM) in other parts of the country.

The speakers laid emphasis on the importance of Health and how the usage of greens is forgotten and urged people to grow at least 10 varieties of greens in their gardens. They also explained how the amalgamation of spices present in our kitchen can act as life saviour. Some Light was thrown on importance of herbs and plants available in the village. Several medical conditions like snake bites can be cured using these herbs. Mr Srinivasan walked the villagers through his tree plantation activity.

The villagers felt a great joy as the history unfolded in front of them vicariously. He shared the details of his exploration of 256 hills surrounding Vellore and use of bio-degradable waste to cover the surface of the hills to reduce the temperature. He mentioned terrace farming can be made best use for greens which don't require more than 6 inches of soil. The audience was amazed to see the video which explained garbage collection from each house in the morning getting converted into methane within 24 hrs.

The Karma-Yoga Convention provides a perfect platform for the villagers and experts to get together, discuss and come out with answers for issues in Agriculture, Health, Education and Self-help. It also encourages the villagers to challenge their obsolete ways and develop a new thinking pattern in order to prosper in life. The goal of growth and development without enhancing dependence originally envisioned stared to solidify during the convention when villagers talked openly about their rural issues and invited suggestions and solutions from the experts.

Student Achievements

Swati Kaul, PGPM, 2013-14 won the Article writing competition

Swati Kaul, PGPM, 2013-14 won the Article writing competition on the theme “GENDER EQUALITY-Are Mars and Venus treated equally in the corporate universe?” conducted at SWIM 2013, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

‘The Changing Face of Finance Consultancy: Boutique Investment Banks’ has been published in the May, 2013 edition of IIM- Shillong Conquest Magazine (Consulting Club) as ‘featured article’

Ankur Baj of PGDM (2012 - 2014)

Best silent voice entry for the June, 2013 Edition of Markathon-The Marketing Magazine of IIM-Shillong

Pulkit Kohli and Ankur Baj of PGDM (2012 - 2014)

Winner of Ernst and Young Knowledge Quiz

Lathish Venugopal, Viral Patel. More than 2000 teams across India participated in this

Runners up at TATA Crucible Campus Quiz

Lathish Venugopal and Viral Patel.

Article published in March edition of Markathon – Marketing magazine of IIM- Shillong

Kriti Dua and Sankalp Parihar. The article was on Marketing Trends 2013

Winner at Hyundai Global Youth Marketing Camp

Shouvik Das. The event was held in S.Korea and the team comprising of 4 Korean students, 4 Indians and 1 Chinese student won the award for the Best BTL Strategy

Second Prize for Article writing in NMIMS Banking

Namratha and Mahesh. The article was on “Policy expectations for the Indian Economy” and was published in the BankAge Magazine of NMIMS.

First Place- The Clan,IFMR

Krishnan Chidambaram and Hariharan Subramaniyan. The event was Abhyudhaya, the flagship HR event of IFMR. They competed in the finals against teams from K.J. Somaiya, IIT Madras, BIM, Welinkar and LIBA

I Runner up at Goa Institute of Management

Gajendra Sisodia and Kriti Dua. This was a national level case study competition (Samiksha 2013). Total of 127 teams participated in the event

Article published in NITIE’s In-Fin-NITIE

Manshi Gandhi. The article was on “Quantitative Easing”

First prize in case study competition at SIMC

Harleen Wahi and Abhishek Jain. The case study was a real case of declining sales of next gen publishing magazines a unit of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co Ltd. Great Lakes competed with 11 teams in the final campus round with the likes of SIMS,MICA, NITIE, Narsee Monjee,etc