An Unknown Small Town which Learn to Weave Dream
Sriniketan, a vicinity of Shantiniketan where common people, mostly back warded people dream and their dreams become true. Sriniketan is a place which teaches you the way of self improvisation.
Rabindranath dreamt that he had been making a country which country decide their way by their own and to influence by his desire and dream, he built Sriniketan in his birthplace Santiniketan. Rabindranath wished to give value his dream and his dream project Sriniketan helps the people to believe themselves and making a country that can go the specific path of ideas.
It’s not exactly in Santiniketan; Sriniketan, located at Surul at the distance of about 3 km from Santiniketan, is now one of the largest hubs of rural development programme. It has a great historic perspective also. In 1922, Rabindranath Tagore set up the Institute of Rural Reconstruction here, in a large manor house, which was taken from the Jamindars of Raipur. The first director was Leonard Knight Elmhirst. Rathindranath Tagore, Santosh Chandra Mazumdar, Gour Gopal Ghosh, Kalimohan Ghosh and Kim Taro Kasahara took the major initiative to construct the Sriniketan Project.
The Rural Reconstruction Institute of Sriniketan was inaugurated on February 6, 1922. The main purpose of this institution is the development of village life, to complete the local rural projects and to help the local people to solve their own problems by themselves instead of solutions being imposed on them from outside.
The Visva Bharati University has its two campuses, one at Shantiniketan and the other at Sriniketan. The institute also looks after the development of the ‘Sriniketan Campus’ of Visva Bharati.
To know about Sriniketan’s development Noise Break talked with the Program Manager of Sriniketan Rural Reconstruction Institute, Bikash Majhi and he gave the details of their work. According to him the domain of their work covers local 50 villages. In each village they have their village development society and each village has their own local club, which are under Government registration.
Rabindranath’s endeavor and his struggle to found Sriniketan:
In year 1921 Rabindranath Tagore started to develop Sriniketan. In that same year after he came back from Silaidah he formed “Brati Dal”, the training of physical exercise. In this province they have 37 libraries, “Gramin Granthagar”. They also generate their own cultural program like ‘Rabindra Sangeet’, ‘Rabindra Nritya’ with the local people. In fact Sriniketan have started a certificate course for Rabindra Sangeet. It also provides scope for playing games for the local people; it generates the competition like football, volleyball and etc.
They give teaching to the natives how they can develop the village; they provide trainings like women’s development, women’s self dependent and many more. Sriniketan has 120 “self help groups” where they give opportunity to women; they bestow training like mobile repairing and handicraft training which is a great success.
Craftsmen from more than 50 villages made an association and this association showcases their handicraft products at“Poush Mela”, “Magh Mela”. The management of this association organizes to exhibit these handicraft products like leather work, mud work, bamboo stick work etc. to various melas and events around India.
Another achievement of Sriniketan was developing the “Adibasi Para” and they successfully to unite the adibasi women with the “self help” group with the help of Visva Bharati “Upacharya”. They created 19 groups of these back warded adibasi women. These adibasi women take responsibility to clean the Visva Bharati campus and they formed a group, “Shantiniketan Adibasi Mohadal”. Still now the adibasis are illiterate, but Sriniketan management successfully educated the people, at least these adibasis can sign their name. Their teaching is not like formal teaching; they give them informal training like how to use seeds of trees to craft varieties of jewelry.
Rabindranath not only dreamt about formal teaching. He wished education should be free and not only from books but people should also learn from the nature. So Sriniketan is trying their best to shape the dream of Rabindranath. Actually this is not possible to give them only formal teaching, their economic condition is so low that they cannot pay for their education. This is the best way to educate them with informal way. The process with which Sriniketan attempts to teach is by giving various suggestions and the people utilize the suggestions to earn. This is very significant that in India this type of process to educate people and giving them a way to earn has been initiated by Sriniketan.
Their motive and their work:
Their motive is totally self-help. That’s mean the people find out the way to earn by their own, the Visva Bharati University or Sriniketan just help them to find out the way. Their objective is the future development of Sriniketan. They try to emphasize the culture of ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ and ‘Rabindra Nritya’. They have created a group named “Gitanjali” and in this group the back warded girls try to show their talent.
Sriniketan emphasizes on nature consciousness. They perform this type of work with the primary schools students. They celebrate children’s day, national literacy day, national library day and AIDS day in the villages. Among 37 libraries they have succeeded to give computers and internet in 4 libraries. They desire to extend this list so that the adibasis, schedule cast people get the opportunity to access important information through internet. The management created “Pathacharcha Kendra” in the library it’s actually a coaching centre for the people of Sriniketan.
They introduced a project “Informal Adult Continuous Education”, where adibasis get different types of training. Another project is “Duck Pairing Project”. ‘Pati haans’ and ‘Khaki haans’ are paired together to produce high breed eggs. No doubt this is a very innovative idea for the village women who can earn by this way.
They educate the Baauls and aware people about the diseases like AIDS, pals polio etc through songs. They train other agencies and NGO’s and guide the people of “Brati Dal”. These trained students of the age group 9-14 go to the villages and teach physical exercise to other children.
They are connected with the other NGOs. But Sriniketan works differently as they follow the footsteps of the great poet.
Rabindranath wanted to develop this undeveloped country. He desired to build a self dependent country; the people earn their livelihood by their own, and who can solve their own problems without taking help by others. He was successful to develop his project, Sriniketan. The uneducated people now get jobs and help other people; Sriniketan is helping them to go ahead in their lives.