Shiksha Samvad- A conversation for change
Bihar, a state with a rich history, a state that has made some major contributions to the Indian culture. The state is the birthplace of Buddhism while holding a great significance to other religions like Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism alike. It is home to the first university and many visionaries and intellectuals in the world. This is the glory of Bihar. But are these the facts that come to our mind when we hear about the state? Unfortunately, the answer is “No”. The mention of the state reminds us of corruption and poverty. The stories of conflict, illiteracy and cheap labor are abundant to cloud the achievements of the state. Somehow in the midst of all these stories, we seem to overlook the rays of transformation happening in the state.
A lot of people over the last decade have dedicated their lives to change the narrative of Bihar. In their small pockets, we find organizations like “Mahila Samakhya” working towards empowering women to transform society. We find a Zubin Sharma empowering the rural communities through his “Project Potential”. We find a Ravi, Shravan, Bikash and Prakash, working day in and out to ensure that the children and youth get an opportunity to explore their potential through their organizations. This is the story of Bihar that rarely gets the limelight. These hidden efforts of transformation hold the possibility of reviving the old glory of Bihar. The first step to this is letting the world know about them. Hence, in order to bring forth these stories of change, our partner organizations I-Saksham, Karunodaya Vidyalay along with Mantra4Change decided to host an event, “Shiksha Samvaad” on 7th February 2020 in Gaya. As the name suggests, the focus of this event was to bring people from varied backgrounds under the same roof and have a discussion about the possibilities of change that exist in the state. It was to show that while the entire world is busy believing that Bihar has no scope of transformation, there still exists a beacon of hope.
The evening focused on reaffirming the belief in the power of a collective of individuals working towards a common goal. The event brought forth change leaders from different backgrounds ranging from school principals, government officials to civil society organizations of the state. These interactions were enriched further by the insights from our mentors. The evening also witnessed a discussion with our mentors Mr. Sanjay Purohit, Mr. K.L Mukesh, Ms. Daya Kori, Ms. Purna Mukesh and Mr. Pradeep Nair about how ecosystem transformation is a result of perseverance, deep understanding and collaboration.
It also saw an engaging and stimulating conversation among people who would have otherwise barely gotten a chance to speak at the same platform. We heard stories about innovations inside classrooms despite lack of resources, about women taking lead to ensure their children go to school despite societal challenges, about children fighting social evils to educate themselves. We heard stories of courage and hope. The aim of the evening was to facilitate meaningful conversations among the members of the society and it achieved it beautifully.
The evening sparked hope among its attendees and inspired them to continue these interactions further. Mr. Sumant Kumar , Secretary, Gala Jila Sahitya Sammelan, summarized it beautifully. “People come to Gaya (Bihar) to “get” enlightened, now is the time to give back to the state that has enlightened the world since ages. It’s time to collaborate for transformation.”
This is the first of many powerful stories to come from the state. We are positive that with these passionate and driven group of change leaders, Bihar indeed will be able to revive its glory.
-Written by Poonam Shukla, Team EduMentum