July 26, 2010
A two-day residential camp on Indian Culture was conducted at the Coimbatore campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, on July 16 and 17.
Attended by around 400 faculty members from the Amritapuri, Coimbatore and Mysore campuses, the participating group included teachers of Arts & Sciences, Communication, Engineering and Social Work.
The camp aimed at imparting knowledge about India’s achievements in science, technology, arts, culture and spirituality. The ultimate goal was to equip participants, so that they, in turn, could inculcate values imbibed from India’s rich culture in their students.
“It is not enough to be tolerant about the rich diversity in our nation,” stated Brahmachari Abhayamrita Chaitanya, Pro Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, in his inaugural speech. “Unity comes with an acceptance of the diversity, and for acceptance, we require knowledge and understanding.”
Dr. Gururaj Karajagi, Chairman, Academy for Creative Teaching (ACT), and one of the speakers elucidated further. “Values perpetuated over a life time makes culture,” he stated. He used several examples from his own life and from interactive exercises, to illustrate how values are not always imparted through words, but through actions.
“Many years ago, when the phone rang at home, after a long day at work, I told my wife to tell whoever was on the line, that I was not at home,” he narrated to a captivated audience. “The next morning when the phone rang again, my five-year-old son asked me, ‘Appa, can I say that you are not at home?’ I realized then that it was not enough to tell my son not to lie, but that I had to set an example in always speaking the truth.”
Other speakers during the two-day camp included Sri. Michel Danino, French Scholar on Indian Culture, Sri. Rajeev Srinivasan, famous columnist and visiting faculty at IIM, Bangalore, Sri. Krishna Jagannath, Director, Vivekananda Education Society and Trust, Brahmachari Nijamrita Chaitanya, Head of Delhi Branch of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, and Dr. K. Subramanian, President, Vivekananda Academy of Cultural Studies.
All speakers expounded on different aspects of Indian culture and values. They interacted extensively with participants during question-answer sessions, elaborating on methods to evolve a strong culture and bring up the younger generation with a strong sense of social responsibility.
“As a school student in France, I was taught all the important facets of French culture and knew all about its famous poets and important milestones. I don’t understand why this is not done in India,” stated Sri. Michel Danino. He detailed several reasons why one needed to be proud of one’s nation.
“This two-day camp was the best remuneration I received from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,” stated a visibly moved Mr. Nagendran of the ECE department, and added that the transformation that Amrita has brought about in him as a teacher and as a human being was what kept him here, despite other offers.
The camp also included various activities for participants such as group discussions, paper presentations, a quiz competition and relaxation sessions with nature walks and video screenings.