Creative Assembly in “Girirajpura School”

Morning Assembly at Girirajpura School:

We all remember during our school days and how we used to start our day with an assembly. There used to me a prayer song, followed by some news bulletin, current affairs and some exercises. It was quite amazing to see and visit Girirajpura School, which is almost 40 kms  away from the main SawaiMadhopur city where, each child shared his or her input and then co create an assembly session. They sing, dance, talk and discuss about issues related to their school,community and classroom, cleanliness and hygiene related matters and so on. All this becomes a part of the Assembly and this platform, is something which is an important part of the school’s every day rituals.



Children sharing their folklores during the assembly time.


Completely in the musical mode, singing as well as playing the instrument with full delightment.  v=ARv7ScxQTTM&nohtml5=False

Exquisite local Art and its future: A Question to reflect….!!

Art work done by ANKUSH.

Art work done by ANKUSH.

As a person I was not a big time “Art- lover” though I appreciated Art, culture and crafts alot. During my childhood, I travelled to enormous places within India and visited to places that are the masterpiece of some really old arts,crafts and culture. India is a nation where you will see limitless traditional art and crafts whether you go from north to South or from East to west. Rajasthan is famous for its royal heritage and craft work, Gujarat for its textile production and handicrafts, Assam for its beautiful silk work, textile work and Manjaa ( woven mat) and South India for its temples- Dravidian style influence and crafts and textile industry.

When I think about Art its not only limited to a small paining or a hand made piece of craft. For me its spread over is limitless and endless. There is so much more that we can add in it through our creativity and aesthetic ability. Even when we speak, read,write,dance,sing or play or do other things, there is a natural element of art within all this. When I was small I used to spend my time looking at the potterer making clay pots. The beauty in their hands was something I used to envy but then I used to think when I will grow up then only I can do it. (Though it never happened..!!)

The reason what made me write this blog for myself and others,comes from my own need to connect with art and culture more. From last few months I had been thinking about it, reading articles about the same and was talking to some of my friends. What moved me more was that India has one of the best art forms available globally, but then how can we really make sure that every artist and craftsmen in our nation is earning sufficiently. And if they were earning well, then we would not had seen some of the basic art forms vanishing from our very culture.

The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) includes education of traditional crafts in their course curriculum to maintain this culture. Despite these efforts, the roots of these crafts, which are the rural craftsmen, are in decline. Rising costs of materials and supplies have placed many of these craft communities in financial struggle. A recent article in the Times of India predicts the price of steel to rise between Rs 600 and 1000 per tonne.On the other hand, statistics from the All India Handicrafts Board show that craft export has risen from 23 crores to over 9000 crores since the past 50 years.With rising economic and political issues in India, the craft sector is struggling to uphold. Although an interest to retain the culture of crafts is seen in designers and institutions. There are many non-for profits that are coming up to help them, but there are handful in numbers.

I recently made a short trip through the Wildlife Conservation Trust to Ramtek (Nagpur)  where I got the chance to visit some schools in the buffer zone of the Pench Tiger Reserve. The sarpanch of the Lodha school was quite an active man,whom I met there. He shared with me about the government school and last years’s floods and the disaster it did to that village and also some of the neighboring villages.

There I was surprised to see the art work done by students in minutes with the help of the leaves (Type of Bamboo)  that are of no use and are found in that particular idea surrounding that territory.

Here is the actual story and the person who inspired me to write this: Ankush Madavi is now an alumnus of Lodha Upper Primary school, studying this year onwards in Nagsen high school, Nagpur. However, 3 year a ago his life was on a different path altogether. Ankush lived in Sitapar village that falls under the Bhandara zilla. Both his parents had died when he was eight but he continued living with his relatives in Sitapar. He quit his studies and used to spend his time loitering about in the village and doing small chores for his relatives. Ankush once decided to live with his sister in Lodha for a few days. It was then that Anil Rathod spotted Ankush sauntering about aimlessly. Rathod is the Head Teacher of Lodha Upper Primary school and lives in the village itself. He believes in community development and always helps the villagers in their time of need. He visits the homes of the students studying in his school regularly and has put many efforts in strengthening the School Management Committee in his school. Rathod asked Ankush to join his school instead of wasting his time. Ankush reluctantly agreed to attend school after Mr. Rathod asked him a few times. Rathod noticed that it was difficult for Ankush to stay in school as he was the least interested in the curriculum that was being taught. Rathod then started to encourage him to pursue extra-curricular activities like sports and began using his skills. Ankush then started taking an interest in school and this new found interest reflected in his grades. He became a regular student and got a lot of attention and appreciation for his skills in sports and handicrafts. He studied under the watchful eye of Rathod for three years in Lodha before moving to Nagsen to continue his education. He still visits Rathod and helps with the school if required as his way of giving back.

Rathod’s belief in Ankush and other students make it possible for him to retain them in the school and succeed. His generous efforts and his confidence in the potential of the students have helped him instill in his students a certitude in their own ability and skill. The manner in which the students are empowered at Lodha to manage cultural events, library records, assembly as well as academics is unparalled in the neighbouring areas and almost all of the credit for this accomplishment has to go to Anil Rathod.

Interaction with Ankush on how he start this.

Interaction with Ankush on how he start this.

P.S. Its a SINCERE REQUEST to all of you who so ever reads it,if you think that you would like to be a part of the change and help Ankush, please connect with me. We all can help him with education and livelihood options.

“Enticing and dazzling Pench and its periphery….”

I got up at 4a.m. in the morning. Did my yoga and then was quietly waiting for the vehicle to come and pick us up. Finally the vehicle came up at 5.45a.m. when we were having a morning walk. This was my first time going to a Tiger reserve in the core. The idea of SAFARIS really make people happy but for me it was more to understand what are the issues in this tiger reserve and how we can resolve some of them through EDUCATION as the tool?

Lush Green Pench Forest.  Its the first monsoon of the year 2014.

Lush Green Pench Forest. Its the first monsoon of the year 2014.

The Pench Tiger Reserve is a 292.85 km² Project Tiger tiger reserve located in the Seoni District and Chhindwara District of southern Madhya Pradesh. This reserve is lush green, full of ]Teak  forest stretching from one part of Maharashtra to other part of M.P. The river Pench flows through it and divides the reserve into 2 different parts. Almost 3/4th of this forest falls under the Madhya Pradesh state and 1/4th falls under Maharashtra.Interestingly,  this Tiger Reserve is divided into 3 forst range: Karmajhiri, Gumtara, and Kurai. During my  4 hours in this dense forest, I could sight some Gaurs, sambhars, Spotted Deers in huge no’s (around 80-100 in a group),peacocks, monkeys,wild pigs, wild cocks, kingfisher,hornbills and a wide range of butterfly species. I could not sight any tiger since the rainy season has already started. It was an enriching experience for me to explore this forest during monsoons.

he Gaur, also called as Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine and is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.The gaur is the tallest species of wild cattle.

he Gaur, also called as Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine and is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.The gaur is the tallest species of wild cattle.

he Gaur, also called as Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine and is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.The gaur is the tallest species of wild cattle.

he Gaur, also called as Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine and is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.The gaur is the tallest species of wild cattle.

                    Then I had some interesting discussions with the people from the communities who were staying near this   forest,   in  the buffer areas. I personally visited villages  which were a part of the buffer zones,  like Pipariya, Amazari, lodha,Pindkapar,Sitapur,Dahoda,Mansar, Salai and Devlapar and Pawni of Maharashtra and villages like Turia, Ambazari,Jeerewada,Awargani,Kurai and Khoka of Madhya Pradesh. It was indeed a very enriching and inspiring expeirence for me to understand conservation from a 360 degree approach. While I  interacted with so many villagers and students of the school,everyone said only one thing that they want development.


School Chale hum..!! Enjoying the monsoons and this doesn't stop the students from coming to schools. Excellent Attendance.

School Chale hum..!! Enjoying the monsoons and this doesn’t stop the students from coming to schools. Excellent Attendance.

Bumps in Thumbs Out..:)

Bumps in Thumbs Out..:)


Today these people are dependent on forests because there is no other means of livelihood and their survival is at stake.  Since their kids grow up attaining poor government education and hence can’t really go out in search of jobs outside. People in these forest still poach and hunt tigers, and carry the illegal affairs world wide and eat wild pigs by hunting.

Forests causes rains and water is required by all of us not only by the people who stay around the forests. So its our responsibility to make sure that these forests are well protected. For this we need to education the students and schools and communities how can we conserve our forests and why its important to preserve them? We also need to support the youths by providing them different jobs or by imparting skills  that will help them earn good money for their families. We need to make sure that the forest guards and officers are motivated enough and have the right equipment in place because if they are not safe,how will they keep the forests secure? We need to make sure that health facilities are available to people since many times man-animal conflicts results in serious injuries.


Core of the Pench Tiger Reserve

Core of the Pench Tiger Reserve

When I speak about “WE”,its everyone of us.Each citizen of this country. lets see how each one of us,can contribute in our own ways ( concrete ways) to preserve and conserve our “FORESTS AND WILDLIFE.


Anish Andheria