Gunotsav - Infusing life into Education.

Published By : Admin | December 8, 2010 | 14:08 IST

Friends,

We all know that good education is the foundation of the bright future of a nation. The quality of education today decides the tomorrow of Gujarat.

Government may build schools, but the future can be built by the schools only. The key responsibility of building Gujarat’s tomorrow thus lies with the schools.

The first decade of the 21st century was quite important for education in Gujarat, especially for primary education. Whether it is recruitment of the teachers, construction of class-rooms, computer labs, other school facilities, enrollment of students in schools or the mission to reduce the drop-out rate… an unprecedented success has been achieved. But doing all this is yet not adequate.

The soul of education is its quality … and that is why the State Government has taken up the ‘Gunotsav’ campaign. This could have very well been done by the teachers and the Department of Education. But to create the spirit of a high priority to this cause and to make those in the field of education feel the value of this activity, the complete strength of Government machinery has been deployed. Whether it is the Chief Minister or the Chief Secretary, more than 3000 Class-I & II Government officers are visiting the primary schools in Gujarat focusing on various aspects.

I strongly believe that, any child, a tender bud, who has not got an opportunity to bloom cannot be in anyway inferior to his fellow children. God has given enough ability and strength to everyone. The need is to nurture those characteristics, the need is of a good gardener who carefully rears such plants, the need is to guide the child in such a way that he is never lost or goes astray on the road ahead. What is required is to create an atmosphere wherein a teacher becomes attached and sensitive to his student, he feels the passion and responsibility to foster his student, like a gardener does to his garden. We need to take the teachers out of the old rut and orthodox thoughts through inspiration and motivation. We need to make them feel the significance of their role. ‘Gunotsav’ is an endeavour to create such an environment.

‘Gunotsav’ is a special campaign meant for inspiring the teachers and students to do better and to exhibit the same. Each of you must have experienced that whenever a camera is focused on us, we automatically become alert in our posture and gestures to get a good photo. Though we know that the camera is not going to evaluate us, we become ready to show the best within us in front of the camera. Gunotsav is something similar to this. It provides the necessary focus to the entire activity of quality education. It provides an opportunity to the teachers, school authorities and students to exhibit the best in them. It motivates as well as cautions them that they are in front of lens. This is only a step forward, following which we have to go further.

Friends, ‘Gunotsav’ of the last year has brought some encouraging results. I would like to draw your attention towards a small encouraging example.

12 lacs children were found weak during last ‘Gunotsav’. Teachers took ‘Upachaar Varg’ (remedial classes) for three months by allocating extra time. When these children were evaluated by the UNICEF subsequently, 85% of these children had improved and reached a satisfactory level. There are several such examples.

Let us become partner in the ‘Gunotsav’.

Let us give some time for the development of our children as a guardian.

Friends, today’s age is that of learning rather than teaching. In this context watch a small video clip here… . I like it very much. I hope you too will like it

Yours,

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A tribute to Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji
February 21, 2024

Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji attained Samadhi and left us all saddened. His life is a spiritually rich epoch graced with profound wisdom, boundless compassion and an unwavering commitment to uplift humanity. I have had the honour of receiving his blessings on numerous occasions. Thus, I feel a deep sense of loss, akin to losing a guiding light that has illuminated the path for countless souls, including myself. His warmth, affection and blessings were not just gestures of goodwill but profound transmissions of spiritual energy, empowering and inspiring all those fortunate enough to have come in contact with him.

Pujya Acharya Ji will always be remembered as a Triveni of wisdom, compassion and service. He was a true Tapasvi, whose life epitomised the ideals of Bhagwan Mahavir. His life exemplified the core principles of Jainism, embodying its ideals through his own actions and teachings. His care towards all living beings mirrored Jainism's profound respect for life. He lived a life of truthfulness, reflecting Jainism's emphasis on honesty in thought, word, and deed. He also led a very simple lifestyle. It is due to stalwarts like him that the world continues to be inspired by Jainism and the life of Bhagwan Mahavir. He stood tall among the Jain community but his impact and influence were not limited to only one community. People across faiths, regions and cultures came to him and he worked tirelessly towards spiritual awakening, particularly among the youth.

Education was an area very close to his heart. His journey from Vidhyadhar (his childhood name) to Vidhyasagar was one of deep commitment to acquiring and imparting knowledge. It was his firm belief that education is the cornerstone of a just and enlightened society. He championed the cause of knowledge as a means to empower individuals, enabling them to lead lives of purpose and contribution. His teachings emphasised the importance of self-study and self-awareness as the pathways to true wisdom, urging his followers to engage in lifelong learning and spiritual growth.

At the same time, Sant Shiromani Acharya Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji wanted our youngsters to get an education that is also rooted in our cultural ethos. He often said that it was because we drifted away from the learnings of the past that we were not able to find solutions to key challenges like water scarcity. He also believed that a holistic education is one that focusses on skilling and innovating. He took immense pride in India’s linguistic diversity and encouraged youngsters to learn Indian languages.

Pujya Acharya Ji himself wrote extensively in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Hindi. The heights he reached as a saint, and how grounded he was on the earth, is seen clearly in his iconic work Mookmati. Through his works, he gave a voice to the downtrodden.

In the domain of healthcare too, Pujya Acharya Ji’s contributions were transformative. He was associated with several efforts, especially in underserved areas. His approach to healthcare was holistic, integrating physical well-being with spiritual wellness, thereby addressing the needs of the person as a whole.

I would especially urge the coming generations to study extensively about Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji’s commitment to nation building. He would always urge people to rise above any partisan considerations and instead focus on national interest. He was one of the strongest votaries of voting because he saw it as an expression of participation in democratic processes. He advocated healthy as well as clean politics, even saying that policy making has to be about people’s welfare, not self interest (Lokneeti is about Loksangrah not Lobhsangrah).

He believed that a strong nation is built on the foundation of its citizens' commitment to their duties—towards themselves, their families, society, and the country. He encouraged individuals to cultivate virtues such as honesty, integrity and self-reliance, which he saw as essential for the creation of a just, compassionate, and thriving society. This emphasis on duties is of great importance as we work towards building a Viksit Bharat.

In an era where environmental degradation is rampant world over, Pujya Acharya Ji called for a way of life which would minimise the harm being inflicted on nature. Likewise, he saw a paramount role for agriculture in our economy, also stressing on making agriculture modern as well as sustainable. His work towards reforming jail inmates was also noteworthy.

The beauty of our land is that for thousands of years, our soil has produced greats who have shown light to others and made our society better. Pujya Acharya Ji stands as a towering figure in this illustrious lineage of saints and social reformers. Whatever he did, he did not just for the present but also the future. In November last year, I had the opportunity to visit the Chandragiri Jain Mandir in Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh. Little did I know that this visit would be my last meeting with Pujya Acharya Ji. Those moments were very special. He spoke to me for a long time, blessing me for my efforts in serving the nation. He expressed joy on the direction our nation is taking and the respect India is getting on the world stage. He was filled with enthusiasm while talking about the work he was doing. Then and always, his gentle gaze and serene smile were enough to instill a sense of peace and purpose. His blessings felt like a soothing balm on the soul, a reminder of the divine presence within and around us.

Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji’s void is deeply felt by all who knew him and were touched by his teachings and his life. However, he lives on in the hearts and minds of those he inspired. In honouring his memory, we commit to embodying the values he espoused. In this way, we not only pay tribute to a great soul but also take forward his mission for our country and people.