Educational Institutes, Khagaria (Bihar State)

The Saga
— The Solidarity

I founded a monthly Hindi journal “Nirman Samvad” around twelve years ago jointly with one of my social friends, this friend introduced me with Dr Swami Vivekanand Yadav, MD, of Khagaria, Bihar. Dr Swami Vivekanand Yadav stayed in my Delhi residence for a few days, sharing his old dream of establishing education institutes in Khagaria. I told him establishing education institutes is a straightforward task, get some funds from anywhere, construct the buildings, apply for the recognition with the government apex bodies, start taking intakes of students; that’s it all done.

I suggested him that the governments get money from the common people, we could also get support from the common people. It is tough but definitely will work. I shared my ideas with him on the social ownership and local governance. We started to work together for establishing educational institutes as the hospital, medical college, nursing training college, teachers training college, paramedical college, livelihood training college and other.

— The Inception

On 2nd October 2006, the first foundation stone for the medical college and the community hospital was done by my wife, a PhD in hydrology and catchment management evaluating rainwater harvesting with the University of Sydney, and a post-doctorate in agricultural extension policy with The International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI.

— The Dawn and the Headway

Following my ideas and proposal, we organised mass meetings, foot marches and public dialogues to get peoples' support. I wrote some handbooks for free distributions on the ideas of local governance and decentralised economy. We were publishing thousands of copies of monthly open-dialogues booklets, and volunteers were going villages to villages with these booklets.

— Mass Meetings

We organised many mass meeting at various level from the street level spontaneous meetings to the large-scale mass meetings of more than one hundred thousand people.

— Foot Marches

We did many foot-marches, one-week period clustered foot-marches to one and half months long foot march, on average thirty kilometres to fifty kilometres per day.

In the one and half months long foot-march, we did not make route-chart of foot-march. We walked from one village to another, unfamiliar communities. We used to have long days, from early in the morning around at 4:00 AM to about 11:00 pm at night to cover more and more villages and villagers.

After entering a village periphery, we were walking one or two rounds covering all residential areas of that village followed by street plays in various places inside the village and spontaneous street-mass meetings with the villagers. After these meetings, we were asking food for us. At the first day of the foot march, we had decided for not buying food and accommodation. Except me, no one was familiar with foot march and begging food. In the beginning, a few days, it was not easy for the other foot-marchers to beg food from a stranger in a strange village but after a few days, they had overcome their egos and conditioning of individual ownership.

We had decided, if we do not get food or raw material for self-cooking from villagers, we will not eat and keep walking and talking with the empty abdomen. We used the method of spiritual-begging for food from strange-villagers, begging for social cause generates politeness and spiritual association with the common people. We used to ask food in many households, the small amount of food from a house, mixing all food and eating together by sharing. We were used to inviting villagers also to have food with us. It was another opportunity to have a dialogue with them for educational institutes. Sometimes, we cooked the meal on the edge of the village mud-roads.

Dr Claire Glendenning also participated in one of the foot marches. She learnt Hindi to talk with local people. In the video, she is speaking in Hindi.

— Open-dialogues by periodic-booklets

A booklet-journal was published periodically with the updates of the works also asking suggestions. Thousands of copies of these booklets were used to send to the villagers through the newspaper hawkers, and after around a week our volunteers were going to villages for collecting suggestions.

— Public Contributions
— Construction of the educational institutes
— Educational Institutes after construction
— Free medical help for financially weak families on the ground

There are hundreds of villages with no readily available functional connectivity with the district headquarters. There are many villagers with no money to get medical help. Volunteers and doctors team go to the remote villages with the medicines.

The founders

Prof Swami Vivekanand Yadav MD
Dharmendra Kumar, Engineer
Vivek Umrao Glendenning "Samajik Yayavar"

— Prof Swami Vivekanand Yadav MD

Prof Swami Vivekanand Yadav

Dr Swami Vivekanand Yadav was born in a financially-humble village family in Khagaria. He is an MD in Radiology; he could have earned lots of money and could have lived a luxurious life. But he chose to serve financially poor villagers. He was a professor in a medical college but he was spending more time travelling to the interior and remote villages of Farbisganj (Araria), Supaul, Saharsa, Purnia and Khagaria in the cheapest class of the cheapest trains and buses to reach the villages to serve needy people, the egregious public transport.

I travelled with him many villages. I saw him going to villages, sitting in any available place and giving free medical advice to the villagers. He was starting his day very early to cover more and more villages in one day.

— Dharmendra Kumar

Dharmendra Kumar, a mechanical engineering graduate, lived in poverty even sometimes slept empty stomach in his childhood but refused to join a few nicely paid government jobs as an engineer in PSUs after graduation. Still, above forty years old, he does not own a house although his business earns tens of thousands of dollars per month. Dharmendra and his family live in a very simple house. He has been utilising majority shares of his income into social welfare and upliftment programs. He is a very good mass-organiser. He has a network of thousands of farmers and youths in Bihar.

In 2006, he motivated the financially weak youths of a village for entrepreneurship. These youths were working in Delhi as migrant labourers. Under his guidance, they started making PEDA. The business started with one-kilogram PEDA /पेड़ा (a sweet dish made by milk) in 2006 but in a few years reached to an annual turnover of around ten million US$ per year.

Dharmendra Kumar, always on the ground with the people

I have been saying to him to work for a chain of residential schools and a chain of a supermarket and small-scale village industries of local farmers. He took a few years to accept these ideas and now Dharmendra, and I are working on these ideas- a chain of agro-cottage industries and a residential school.

— Vivek Umrao Glendenning "Samajik Yayavar"

Prof Swami Vivekanand Yadav and Vivek Umrao Glendenning

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