Education, consciousness, spirituality: what India teaches to us

In a recent interview with Sir Rahul Karad at MIT WPU Pune, we took the chance to manage a long journey to discover how India is launching its own challenge to the future

di Emanuele G. pubblicato il 19 agosto 2018

If we ask ourselves why India has reached a so prominent place in present world we can figure out a scale of various reasons. This country, since countless decades, represents a model for whom wishing to plan a road map for progress and development.

India has launched an impressive series of tools to reach such brillant status. Among them education. It seeems education is becoming a real strategic area, but in a different way as regards western countries.

As matter of fact, education is considered by Indian people as a field where tradition and future unite in order to create an amazing common area to settle the best qualities of India. So we have also consciousness and spirituality to back up this educational model. That mixing gets so unique the Indian experience.

Sir Rahul Karad founder of MIT WPU in Pune (state of Maharashtra) accompanied us to manage a long journey to discover how India is launching its own challenge to the future. A future solid herein of a glorious past.

I noticed reading your biography that you attach great importance to consciousness, nationalism and spirituality. Can you explain the relations among these three concepts?

"MIT WPU believes that an education should not be limited to books and it should go beyond creating human beings who are educated, socially sensitive and spiritually elevated. We strongly espouse the thoughts of Sri Swami Vivekananda who had said that Science and Spirituality alone can bring peace to the mankind."

Your entire life is dedicated to education. Why do you consider so strategic this topic?

"Vision of an institution is a strong thematic foundation and limit that it envisages to reach while mission preludes means or roadmap to final destination. MIT psychology, being deeply rooted to Indian cultural heritage, strongly embarks upon the teachings of what the 13th century Philosopher Sant Shri Dnyaneshwara stated "The whole universe is a manifestation of pure intelligence and consciousness." The MAEER trust further identifies itself with Albert Einstein’s assertion "I believe in God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of the universe, & I believe that intelligence is manifested throughout nature." Indeed, the great saints, sagas, seers, the learned and the scientists have always a common goal that of the Welfare of Humanity.MIT Pune strongly believes in Indian Culture, Saints and Sages, hence vision is derived on their teachings and is being practiced at MIT Group of Institutions."

I think education can play an essential role in a process of authentic change in our society. What is your opinion concerning that?

"Holistic education is the need of the hour and we at MIT WPU have already imbibed it in our way of imparting education. Our students are testimony to the fact that MIT WPU not only provides world class education but also lays stress on creating all round individuals."

Would you sum up the most relevant activities you achieved in the last years?

"We are evolving and over the past decade or so we have launched landmark initiatives which have become annual affairs for the society. I take pride to say that we at MIT WPU are the first institution in Asia to start a school of government to create educated politicians. We run a two-year full time Master’s program in Politics and Government which itself a unique innovation. Scores of our students are today placed with several political parties in different capacities thus getting exposed to the nitty gritty of politics and governance."

I think the wonderful cultural and spiritual heritage of your father is a great source of inspiration for your life and activity…

"Indeed it is. He is a visionary who sensed the need for more number of engineering colleges in the state of Maharashtra way back in 1983. Today the MIT Group boasts of over 65 institutions across India and at any point of time over 65000 students are pursuing their studies across various disciplines. It was sheer kind cooperation of many that they saw Dr Karad’s struggle and dedication and came forward to help out in the formative days, some by sharing classrooms and some by giving office space. Today, MIT is synonymous with value-based education and is one of the most respected higher educational institutions in the country. Over several years Dr Karad remained devoted an institution of high calibre yet not digressing from the characteristic spirit of holistic education thus creating a legacy."

You’re one of the founder of NTC. Why did you decide to project and get operative this honorable initiative?

"While the connect with spirited youth happened through the Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad (Indian Student Parliament), I decided to take the cause further and started thinking about something that would reach out to those who influence the youth largely. I believed that great teachers help create great minds. Teachers have always played crucial role in motivating students to contribute to shaping the ideals of the nation and to contribute to its development. It is the innate nature of our country to churn out one success story after other of the Guru ShishyaParampara from all walks and streams of life. Thus, after rumination, I came up with this novel concept of The National Teachers Congress (NTC) in 2016."

The leading word at NTC seems to be education. The reasons of this choice and how to implement it in a real project?

"NTC is aimed at igniting the spirit of thousands of teachers every year so that they continue to look beyond the commercial temptations of the jobs they do and createa deeper and wider impact on the society through this noble profession. I firmly believe that as we are fast moving towards the Knowledge Era, the NTC will benefit all the important stakeholders of the Education Process including Students, Teachers, Parents, Industry, Law Makers and Society at large."

Would you like to talk about the first edition of NTC and what’s about its feedback in Indian society?

"The first NTC held in 2016 was a resounding success with over 9000 spirited, socially sensitive and active College Teachers participated at the program to understand various national issues, the challenges faced and solutions on those challenges in order to imbibe the various inputs among the students and educate the society to create a knowledge driven holistic nation. The second edition of the NTC which concluded recently was a huge success with participation not just from within the country but also from several foreign countries."

The second edition is just over. Which thoughts and consideration can you sort out on that topic?

"There is great awareness among teachers but there is a void in their quality of teaching with respect to the students’ capacity to learn. At NTC, through numerous thought provoking sessions in which education veterans participated, we ensured that the most gripping issues were addressed and probable solutions to it were deliberated upon. The response to these sessions was very encouraging. Another important part of NTC is the Teacher to Teacher Connect. This program is aimed at bringing together teachers from various geographies and from various vocations to sit together and discuss one on one every topic in detail to cull out a viable outcome."

I guess it’s great to gather leading personalities and allow them to discuss about relevant issues for our present and future.

"Personalities from the Education sector always have a great perspective to offer to all. It is this intrinsic quality of theirs which helps teachers to look at situations from different perspectives and improve teaching quality. We at NTC invite noted scholars, academicians, scientists, regulatory stalwarts etc to address and engage in a dialogue with teachers."

I would know more about Indian educational community. I noticed that education has a fundamental role in modern India.

"India has been home to noted educationists like Arya Chanakya, Swami Vivekananda, SavitribaiPhule among others who have transformed education in their own way. The Indian diaspora has the valuable learnings from these very educationists and apply them in their lives. Education in India, since time immemorial, has been a mix of curriculum education and life learnings. The basic essence of this is evident at our MIT-WPU which has a legacy of transforming lives through its Value Based Education Framework which effectively blends Science, Technology and Spirituality."

Can you give us some data about Indian educational community?

"With approximately 28.1 per cent of India’s population in the age group of 0-14 years, as of 2015, educational industry in India provides great growth opportunity. The country has more than 1.5 million schools with over 260 million students enrolled. In 2015, with 34.2 million students enrolled in approximately 48,116 colleges & institutions for pursuing higher education. India’s higher education segment is the largest in the world. Government target of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 30 per cent for higher education by 2020 to drive investments. The education industry in India is estimated to reach US$ 144 billion by 2020."

In which ways does the Indian Government support the education in your country?

"The Indian government takes various proactive initiatives to have an inclusive education sector through populous schemes targeted at each and every segment of education."

Can we consider education as a strategic tool for India in a world whose leading word is globalization?

"Yes. Education plays a vital role in shaping the future of any country. While India is looked upon as a frontrunner in globalisation, one is testimony to the fact that several Indian students have reached all corners of the world in various sectors and are asset value to the organisations they are associated with. Same is the case with the start-up ecosystem which has seen a surge in the number of entrepreneurs who have created disruptive business models to address the pain points of the society at large. This is possible only through quality education and access to research."

Another strategic tool is MIT School of Government. I ask you to talk about its history and the initiatives achieved along these years.

"India is the world’s largest democracy which means the reins of power vest in the hands of the people. In such a system which is still mainstayed on the principles that the erstwhile British regime left behind, there is a need to infuse fresh ideas and thoughts to ensure better governance and thus create a happy and peaceful India. With this thought, I came up with the idea of starting a School of Government which can holistically teach students to prepare themselves to enter public life. I firmly believe that the younger generation is the future of any country and thus the SOG is a strategic venture. Over the years it has gained immense credibility among the students who wish to enter public life and serve the people of our country. More than 400 students have successfully passed out of SOG and are today in various capacities in different political parties. Interestingly few have even assumed public titles and have become their village heads to ensure that each stakeholder is given his due."

Is there collaboration between MIT and NTC? If so in which terms?

"NTC is an initiative founded by me to bring on one single platform the teaching fraternity not just from India but also globally. The platform has seen more than 30000 higher education teachers converging at our MIT Kothrud, Pune campus to dwell on and discuss issues pertaining to the sector and churning out solutions which can make teaching and the process of learning a healthy experience. It is an initiative under the MIT WPU."

What is the core legacy of MIT?

"MIT, as a group, was founded by the visionary Prof Dr VIshwanath D Karad, my father, way back in 1983. The institution was formed after Dr Karad realised that many students who wanted to pursue engineering could not get seats and thus there was a void in their growth. Back then there were only government run institutions where one could go to pursue higher education. One article he wrote in a leading regional publication ignited the thought in the mind of the then chief minister who invited Dr Karad to meet him and discuss solutions. In this interaction the chief minister took a bold step to allow private institutions to come up and address the pain points of student higher education. Today, the MIT Group stands tall with 65 plus institutions across streams and at any given point of time we have about 80000 students across our campuses."

I know there’s a special initiative called Dr.VishwanathKarad MIT World Peace University. Would you introduce us it?

"MIT firmly believes in the glorious thought of the great son of India, Swami Vivekananda who once said that only science and spirituality would bring about peace in the world. Our visionary founder Dr Karad, who revers Swami Vivekananda, decided to take the thought further and create students who are physically strong, mentally sharp and spiritually elevated. This led to germination of the first ever university for Life transformation – the MIT World Peace University. The biggest differentiator of the WPU is that it has, in its curriculum across streams / courses, included Peace as a subject. Our experienced faculty ensures that every student is taught the importance of peace in life."

How to balance peace and nationalism in a post-ideological world?

"World Peace is of paramount importance to MIT WPU and to propagate it, the group has taken various steps like introducing Peace as a compulsory subject in the curriculum across management and engineering courses. It is a known fact that India has been the apostle of peace and its nationalism reflects in the manner in which it deals with the other countries in the world. India lives, breathes and enriches the world with her message of love, peace and her depth of knowledge. The name India is synonymous with intellect, and Indians are proud to exhibit their Indianness more than ever before."

In your book do we have to owe a positive attitude or negative one as regards the future of humanity?

"My book talks about the different facets about India, which until date, have not reached every citizen. It is a positive rendition of the valor that was displayed by great leaders and the message of love and peace which was spread by our great saints and philosophers. We at MIT WPU firmly believe in the thought of our great son of the soil Swami Vivekananda who had said that it is only science and spirituality that can bring about peace in mankind. These great words are a mission statement for us and we believe that India is on the forefront of propagating peace in the world."

Summing up the real revolution and change is something dealing with our inner self. Do you agree?

"Yes. Every human being is a vital constituent in attaining world peace. This reminds of the words of our Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi who once said, “Be the change you wish to see.” It is thus clear that India will play a very important role in attaining world peace. Though it is not an overnight process, the rich heritage and culture of India will drive people the world over to bring about peace in them and around them."

- About Sir Rahul Karad:

Please, read attached file named "Rahul Sir Profile Jan 2018 AW"

- About National Teachers Congress (click link below):

National Teachers Congress

- Photo credits:

The cover photo and the attached photos are of National Teachers Congress

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