April 5, 2010
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
The final semester exams for engineering students are only one month away. But this has not deterred several determined young men and women, who are taking a week off from their classes, in the form of duty leave, to do seva in the Raichur district of Karnataka.
The district was devastated by floods about six months ago. The Mata Amritanandamayi Math pledged Rs. 50 crores for relief and rehabilitation. It took the responsibility to build houses for those families that were rendered homeless.
When Chancellor Amma was in Bengaluru in February 2010, keys were handed over to beneficiaries of the first 100 houses. The Math was widely praised for having completed the houses in record time, ahead of every other NGO that had made similar commitments.
Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya, Pro-Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, was extensively involved in the relief efforts. He made the opportunity available to Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham students and faculty to also participate in the relief work. This participation, of course, is purely voluntary.
Twenty-five students accompanied by four members of staff from the Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore spent four days — March 24-28 — in the village of Derampur, where 550 houses are being built. They shared their experiences.
“The main activities that our team engaged in, included transporting sand and soil filling for the house construction,” stated the students, upon their return to campus. This first batch of students will be followed by several others, and from other campuses, as well.
Was the work easy?
“It was blazing hot and on one day the temperature shot up to 43 degrees,” Guptaa M. a final-year engineering student shared. “The heat was so unbearable that it was not possible to work in the afternoons. We would start work at 5:30 am and work till 11:30 am. We would resume then only at 4:30 pm and continue till 6:30 pm.”
Was it fun?
“Overall it was a very enjoyable experience. We enjoyed the food prepared at the worksite. We spent some time with the local villagers. We made the time to trek to the Shiva temple atop a nearby hill. On the way back, we visited Mantralayam, the sacred abode of Swami Raghavendra.”
“It was the first time that we had seen a village affected by such a calamity. In spite of the fact that the villagers had suffered a lot, they offered us great hospitality. When we were leaving, the small children came to the boat to see us off.”
Guptaa was joined by his class-mates Agasthian and Raghul, in this seva activity. “I am proud of these students,” stated their HoD, Prof. K. Gangadharan, Chairman-IT. “In spite of the fact they are in the last phase of their academic program, with the final-year project presentation just a few weeks away; the students chose to respond to the call of our Pro-Chancellor, Brahmachari Abhayamrita Chaitanya, and served.”
The Mata Amritanandamayi Math, has undertaken to construct about 2,000 houses for the flood affected in North Karnataka.