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Showing posts from 2009

Letter to Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment & Forests on Bt Brinjal

Dear Mr. Ramesh, Understand the the GEAC is considering the commercial release of the controversial Bt Brinjal in the next few days. Kindly request your ministry to take a long term view of this impending disaster to our land and ensure that India doesn't succumb to every technological dump from others. For long we have suffered poisoning of our soil as a necessity in the name of food security, today we know better, our organic cotton and food are consumed by the 'developed' world whose salesmen knock at our doors for yet another poisonous product, and yet again in the pretext of providing us food security. Today, we know better. You have written about the benefits of GM way back when you were not a minister in your columns. But, I am aware that you have since becoming the Ministry in this Department started hearing out the environmental concerns seriously too. You may be aware that the 'solution' of Bt Brinjal is not for any 'problem', but, may cre

News Report, Indian Express: 7th Samanvaya Freedom Lecture, 22nd August 2009

‘70,000 tonnes of garbage cleared' CHENNAI: The Adyar Poonga will be ready in another 15 months, after two years of work in and around Adyar lake, Joss Brooks, director of Pitchandikulam Bio-resource centre said here on Saturday while narrating his experiences in working on the Adyar Poonga. He was speaking at the Seventh Samanvaya Freedom Lecture jointly organised by CIOSA on Gardening for Freedom held at Vidya Sagar (formerly Spastic society of India). Screening images of the Adyar Poonga project, he explained how tedious and interesting the project was to transform desecrated mother nature into a garden. “A year ago, Adyar poonga was dumped with garbage. Even as we started our work, tonnes of rubble were dumped in the place overnight,” he recalled, as he displayed a picture. The team that is working on the poonga eventually removed 70,000 tonnes of garbage and has been restoring it by planting saplings. Joss and his team have also signed an agreement with the government to mai

7th Samanvaya Freedom Lecture CIOSA And Samanvaya Invite you to the Seventh Samanvaya Freedom Lecture ‘Gardening for Freedom’ By Joss Brooks Director, Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre, Auroville Prof. G. Dattatri Former Chief Urban Planner, CMDA will preside and introduce the speaker Venue: Vidya Sagar, Thomas Rajan Auditorium, No 1 Ranjit Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai- 85 Date: 22nd August 2009, Saturday Time: 5:30 – 7:30p.m. -------------------------------------------- About the Speaker Joss Brooks, an Australian, came to India searching for sustainable ways of living in 1968. A dreamer and explorer then, searching for sustainable ways of living in harmony with nature, after 40 years of determination, hard work and actualising those dreams, he still remains a dreamer. One of the earliest settlers of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, he also worked to reforest and regenerate the barren and dying land. Today, Auroville is a place of demonstration and research in

7th Samanvaya Freedom Lecture, 22nd August 2009

"For Earth's Sake" - 'Life Teacher' Learning Series I

(Apologies for cross posting) Samanvaya Knowledge Trust is happy to announce the ' Life Teacher ' Learning programme series for teachers and parents who care , and want to go that extra mile for facilitating true learning and happy learning environments. This programme has come as a result of two factors - one being our interaction with those whom we call Life Teachers, who teach through life, for life, beyond everything else; and the other, our discussions with parents and teachers in several formal and informal groups. Discussions with parents and teachers have brought out a persistent issue and need for a broader macro-level understanding of the changes around us, be it in environment, education, social trends and so on, and how these fit into our everyday actions, especially interactions with children, either through formal educational processes or parenting. Such a need also includes certain skills and tools that would perhaps open creative channels and facilitate an

Samanvaya Knowledge Trust

Samanvaya Knowledge Trust In pursuit of true and natural learning Many of the well-wishers and friends of Samanvaya know of recent developments at Samanvaya through informal conversations and discussions. An official announcement has been pending. The idea of Samanvaya Knowledge Trust has been in the scheme of things for some time now. After a decade of managing both, consulting work as well as our own close-to-heart initiatives under the same banner, we have brought these two domains under independent entities now, Samanvaya Consulting and Samanvaya Knowledge Trust. All the education, learning and knowledge initiatives will be organised as activities of the Trust over a period of time. Please visit the Trust webpage for more details.

Multiversity Conference at Penang, Malaysia

Ram was at Penang, Malaysia between the 10th and 17th of July attending the Multiversity Conference, Trustee meeting ad a series of planning meetings along with the Coorinator of Multiversity, Dr. Claude Alvares of Other India Books Goa. The visit was at the invitation of Mr. Md. Idris, Chairperson, CAP and Third World Network, who also is the Chairperson for the Multiversity. A report on the meetings and plans have been made in the online website / group of Multiversity ( Look out for a few new titles in the Multiversity Library

Swaraj Conference at SIDH, Mussoorie 13-17 May 2009

Ram participated and made a brief presentation at the Swaraj Conference at SIDH, Mussoorie between 13 - 17th May 2009. The conference was presided over by Rev. Samdhong Rimponche, the Prime Minister for the Tibetan Government in Exile and had the benefit of the presence and talk by Sri. Ravindra Sharma of Adilabad. Others who participated in the deliberations includes, Smt. Radha Behn, Chairperson, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Sri. Shiv Dutt Misha, Nai Taleem, Sevagram, Sri. Ransingh Arya, Sri. Udayan Vajpayee.

Recent Events

Here are review-reports of two programmes recently attended by Priya:

Co-Creating Prosperity: CD release on 1st May 2009

In 2006, Samanvaya had facilitated a National Seminar hosted by the Public Relations Department of Stella Maris College, Chennai  . The programme titled, 'Co-Creating Prosperity' highlighted the emerging reality where Corporate houses and Community Based Organizations can work together in a equal basis for co-creating new areas of business. This  event had been the genesis for the later launch of Community Access jointly by Samanvaya, CCD and LEAD India in 2008  .  Apart from jointly conceptualizing and facilitating the sessions, we had also made a presentation on the possible linkages between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs). This presentation has been published as a small booklet along with a CD containing the presentation and our report on the event by the PR Department of Stella Maris College in a simple event on 1st May 2009. This was the last official event for Dr. Sundari Krishnamurthy who as HOD and Dean of Faculty relinqu

Stories we miss: 'Organic Farming Heroes'

Some time last year Samanvaya undertook a short assignment with Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems ( ), Chennai to record the stories of some of the recent organic farming converts in the areas where CIKS has been working for several years now. We learn from their latest monthly newsletter that the same has been published by them, it is a pleasant surprise.  Here is the blurb about the publication from the CIKS website and the cover. I had enjoyed interacting with these farmers and learning about their experiences. I will always cherish the amazing clarity and wisdom of the village community at Kaliyapettai and their leader Mr. Mohan under challenging circumstances.  Organic farming Heroes CIKS has been encouraging and supporting Small and Marginal farmers to convert to organic farming. Through organic farming, CIKS has been trying to enhance the livelihood security of these farmers. In this book, case studies of successful farmers have been presented. Their ex

Samanvaya Knowledge Section Update

The article, "Facilitating Learning" written as an explorative, introductory write-up for further discussion in a seminar on Education in October 2002, has been edited further in March 2009. It briefly looks at what is Education, the aims of education and means of achieving the same. The new version has been uploaded and can be found here - Excerpt : "... Families may also choose to opt out of the current formal system of education. We already know that learning is a constant process, and we learn from what is within and around us. So our children could be "deschooled" or "homeschooled" (to borrow John Holt's term). I use the term 'self schooling' here, rather than 'self learning' since 'schooling' is associated with a certain organisation and structure; and similarly we may follow our own routine of doing things. It should be noted that routine does not mean mechanical or with

Announcing the Harmony Centre for Little Learners!

Conference on Understanding the Economic Crisis from the Hind Swaraj perspective

Samanvaya is happy to partner with SIDH, Mussorie and CEH, IIIT-Hyderabad in organizing a Conference to understand the current global(ized) economic crisis from the perspective of a 100 year old Testament. The event titled, ' Understanding the Modern Economic Crisis from the perspective of Hind Swaraj  and Exploring Alternative Spaces for a Sustainable World Order' will be hosted by SIDH, Mussoorie between the 13th to 17th May 2009 at their beautiful Bodhigram Campus in Kempty. The event will bring together academics, activists, scholars, thinkers and people from various fields who are asking serious questions on the current crisis. Sri. Samdhong Rimpoche, the Prime Minster for the Tibetan Government in exile and Sri. Ravindra Sharma of Kala Ashram, Adilabad will participate apart from many others. Do write if you are interested to participate for more details.

CNN-IBN award for Elango, Panchayat Leader for Kuthambakkam

We have officially stopped working with Elango for more than 4 years now. However, we still keep getting an occasional phone call or email enquiring about his work or informing about his accomplishments.  It is good to see that his efforts are being recognized and he is feted. We do hope all this also fetches him peace and provides him with the strength to move on towards an idea of Swaraj that he had envisioned. 

Sri. Pawan Gupta talking to teachers

Samanvaya along with the State Science & Technology Centre had organized for a talk and interaction between Sri. Pawan Gupta, SIDH, Mussoorie and state government teachers at the Periyar Planetarium on the 24th February 2009.  Pawan Gupta was on a visit to Samanvaya for discussing possible areas of joint work and collaboration.  The following report is thanks to Smt. Chitra Nagesh who has kindly put down her recollection and sent to us. The programme was coordinated by Smt. Subha Bharadwaj: Shri. Pawan Kumar Gupta from SIDH (Society for Integrated Development of the Himalayas), gave a talk on ‘ Ideas and Myths about education ’ as part of Science Week celebrations under the auspices of TN Science and Technology Centre on 24 th , February 2009. This talk was organized by Samanvaya along with  the TNSTC. From the moment he started with a brief glimpse about himself and his work till the end when he gave a call to the teachers present to look at education differently and

25th Feb 09: meeting on native institutions

Some time back Ram had written a note on the management practices of community institutions and the need to study the same across the country. A few friends are interested to take this issue forward and have expressed their interest to gather for a meeting. The same is scheduled for the 25th of Feb 2009 at the Samanvaya office.

FW: mail of appreciation

For those doing thankless jobs, any word of appreciation is an occasion to celebrate. Wanted to share with the group this appreciative mail we received.  Ramasubramanian Director Samanvaya Consulting ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----Original Message----- From: Swami Sarvapriyananda Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 9:06 AM To: Subject:  Dear sir, I am a monk of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, presently stationed at Belur Math. This is to convey my appreciation of the work you are doing. I was just perusing one of your publications "Lets Talk Swaraj", and i was impressed by the seriousness and depth of the discussion. The views expressed therein are in accordance with the noblest visions of India's greatest sons and daughters, firmly rooted in the ground reality and yet open to all that is good and positive in the world. I got the book from another monk, Swami Ashutoshananda

19th Feb 2009: 2 yeras of Dharampal.Net

It is two years since we launched Dharampal.Net  as the on-line repository of all of the works of Sri. Dharampal.  Here is a note on the website that was released yesterday. (photo alongside of Sri. Sunderlal Bahuguna & Sri. Dharampal, shot during their stay in Chennai a few years back. courtesy Smt. Lakshmi, Chennai) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Friend  / Fan of Dharampalji, Greetings. Tomorrow is Dharampalji’s 87 th birthday . As we celebrate the second year of launching this website ( ) , we feel happy and over whelmed by the response. There have been an average of 150 visitors (with over 80% of these new ones) every month for this website since its launch on 19 th Feb 2007.  The website has made available Dharampalji’s works to many for the first time. We have had enthusiastic responses from lecturers in remote rural colleges, young students and researche

22nd - 25th Feb 2009: Sri. Pawan Gupta of SIDH visiting Samanvaya

Sri. Pawan Gupta is the founder of SIDH, Mussoorie  . Pawanji is an old friend of Samanvaya. He will be with us between 22nd and 25th to explore areas of mutual interest and joint work.  He will be addressing a group of teachers in the Science & Technology Centre at the Planetarium on the 23rd. A meeting among a few friends on the 25th will explore research work on community management practices.

Samanvaya Knowledge Trust, 17th Jan 09

Announcing Samanvaya Knowledge Trust and launching of the Harmony Centre for Learning We thank the many friends and well wishers of Samanvaya who have made our journey of 10 years significant. Ten years has been a long journey for consultants in the social sector, particularly in our choice of working close to the people's movements. We are proud of working with many significant initiatives and wonderful people. The learning, insights and knowledge we have acquired through these initiatives have certainly helped us to understand the social sector much better and strengthen our services to this sector. Wherever we have seen a gap long unattended to in this sector, we have responded by launching our own initiative, either independently or with a partner agency.  Some of these initiatives are today seen as important concepts and trendsetters.  We are now consolidating and institutionalizing some of our knowledge initiatives. Though this process has been on for over a ye