Summer of ideas: Engaging minds and matters


Most students have either proceeded on summer vacation or will be having holidays in a few weeks’ time.  For school children, this is time to unwind, learn and grow.  For many of the college students, this can be a time for engagement with their own inner self and also with the larger society.  Let me share some thoughts which might be useful to those who would like to use summer of 2013 for a meaningful and challenging engagement with different kinds of minds and matters.


Those students who can persuade their teachers to trigger Honey Bee Innovation Clubs or chapters of National Innovation Clubs can aim at doing four things:  Search, Spread, Sense and Celebrate.  Hon’ble President has decided to inaugurate National Innovation Clubs in all the Central Universities which he will visit in the months to come.  Search will imply scouting for innovations in different fields.  Students can look for outstanding school teachers, extraordinary inventors or innovators, creative ways of problem solving whether by public systems or even private sector, or cultural creativity which reinforces pluralism and harmony.  The Spread will require disseminating ideas already scouted by Honey Bee Network or other innovation networks which can inspire others to try new things.  The students can also spread awareness about social issues such as abolition of child labour, conservation of roof top water or other such causes.  They can ask different housing societies to declare themselves as ‘no-child labour-zone’.  It is a pity that despite all the prosperity that cities like Ahmedabad may have, there is still a rampant engagement of child labour in various tasks.  The Sense indicates the desire to benchmark unsolved problems of our society.  Any community which learns to live with problems unsolved indefinitely somehow learns to be helpless.  Such a community is condemned to live with mediocrity and inefficiency.  Young people must identify such persistent problems whether technological, social, institutional or cultural with which they would not like to live a day longer.  The Celebrate suggests the need to engage with outstanding achievers in different fields and learn ethical ways of achieving one’s dreams.  If every young person identifies five role models and writes about them, a tremendous positive energy can be generated at school and college levels.


The question is whether young people would like to add more meaning to their life by challenging themselves on all the four parameters of creative performance.  The Search, Spread, Sense and Celebrate are not just relevant goals for young students.  They are relevant for anyone who wants to open one’s mind.  Once you let imagination be fertilized by the actual achievements of common people instead of trivia, the expectation from oneself get automatically raised. We won’t be satisfied easily.  Wouldn’t it be nice if during summer of 2013, young people go around and identify the science of hope, feelings of faith and sparkles of serenity.


I will be very happy to hear from young students in school or college who would like to experiment with the four functions of harnessing the creative energy of our society.  One can form innovation clubs even at the neighbourhood level.  For that matter, autorickshaw drivers, petty vendors, other service providers can also form innovation clubs of their own.  How to keep vegetables fresh for longer period in summer using lesser water could be an interesting problem for some vegetable vendors to think about.


But, we have a choice.  We can let inertia take over and find hundred reasons why nothing would work in this world.  Thank God, that cynicism, though infectious, fortunately is declining in our society.   There are more people who are hopeful and want to engage.  If some of you wish to join me in our 31st Shodhyatra in Wardha region of Maharashtra during May 5 – 12, 2013, join me in Sevagram Ashram, Wardha on 5th morning.  A word in advance would help.  Walking together, sharing what we know, learning what we don’t, sensing what much change and celebrating the excellence already existing will happen effortlessly. If you want to try, join us.


Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place