All about inspiration and rejuvenation!
A small booklet with a few inspiring words of Swamy Vivekananda was what made an IITian change his perception on life. When jobs were flooding him from every nook and corner, vision sparked off from the words of the spiritualist, prompted M Pramod Kumar to search for the truth and hidden mystery of our past.
While graduating as Mechanical Engineer from IIT Madras in year 1997- 2000, Pramod was drawn to the words of Vivekananda. Aspiration and motivation made him form a Vivekananda Study Circle (VSC), a unique autonomous student body, which has made a significant impact in recent years on the cultural atmosphere at IIT Madras. He served as student coordinator of VSC for three years, and also helped in the formation of similar bodies at Anna University and IIT Kharagpur.
Meeting French man M Zhelibunin, who was knowledgeable about India, motivated Pramod further to explore the rich history, culture, heritage of India. Associated with International Forum for India's Heritage in many capacities, he designed and carried out a nationwide survey of school students on the cultural content in school curriculum in India, and it was approved by the National Council of Educational Research and Training.
Presently working with Amritha University, Coimbatore, as faculty for Cultural Education and Research Associate, Pramod has been developing a cultural educational programme for the undergraduate students of the university.
He was recently in Chennai for a lecture for students of various colleges on the National Youth Programmes commemorating Swami Vivekananda's 144 birth anniversary. Pramod was also presented with the Yuva Shakthi Youth Achiever Award.
News Today spoke to Pramod.
Q. What inspired you to take up a survey on cultural content in school curriculum?
A. I was not satisfied internally, a vacuum always remained in my heart. But when I went through the inspiring words of Swami Vivekananda, the vacuum was filled with positive thoughts. At the sametime, I felt that no other job would give me self-satisfaction.
Q. During your lectures conducted by Yuva Shakti in various colleges in Chennai, you stressed on the need to educate students about our cultural past and heritage, including the Vedas and Upanishads.
M Pramod Kumar
A. Yes, it is true that we need to educate today's youth about the essence of our culture and heritage which are eroded due to western influence.
Q. Don't you feel that more emphasis on spiritualism and religion could bring disharmony in a country like ours.
A. No. Spiritualism and religion are two different concepts, but people have often used both as a tool to bring about disharmony. But if used as a weapon it can bring about a change for the good.
Q. Are you not trying to propagate a Hindu philosophy, while leaving out other religion.
A. It is not so. People in India know less about Hindu religion and spiritual thoughts. A few people misinterpret them and inculcate a different vision of the truth.
Unfortunately in India there are not many institutions and organisations to make people understand the truth at an early stage. Other faiths make people understand their religion and the spiritualism at quite an early age.
Q. What were your findings during the nationwide survey on cultural content in school curriculum?
A. Many of the schools do not have many cultural content in their curriculum and that prevents students from understanding culture and heritage though they have shown interest in those areas.
Also, it was interesting to know that India was one of the most scientifically advanced country. When considering the exports of India before British rule, the exports were more than today's US share in the market.