As Delhi’s December gang-rape prompts global media to cast Indian society as being uncivil, primitive and exploitative towards women, one man in Karnataka has embarked on a potentially stereotype-busting project.
Agriculture scientist-turned-spiritual entrepreneur KK Subramani has made it his life’s mission to empower some of tomorrow’s women today with Vedic knowledge right after finishing high school.
It is a first-of-its-kind project in the country, he said. This, he said, will help some of tomorrow’s women to bloom into well-rounded individuals - “patriotic, service-oriented and devoted towards society” as only “the ideal woman can help shape the ideal society of the future”.
Under the aegis of the Tattva Vidya Teertha Trust, Subramani’s Cauvery Sannidhi for Indian Culture (CSIC), situated in picturesque and tranquil environs near Srirangapatna, on the outskirts of Mysore, will launch the inaugural five-year residential educational programme for girls in June this year. Called ‘Kanya Gurukulam’, the project will enroll 10-15 students every year for the all-expenses-paid programme.
Why only girls? “Girls more than boys are capable of intense focus. Boys are given to distractions,” said Subramani. “A course like this requires rigorous application of oneself. Moreover, in ancient times, women were very much part of the Vedic learning system. It’s only in the medieval times that they got excluded. A woman, in the form of mother, is man’s first teacher, guru. Learning and teaching come naturally to a woman. Hence, it’s only appropriate that all our Vedic knowledge should again be in the hands of women so that they can safely pass it on to future generations.”
The post-high school course exposes students to a variety of tasks (including yoga, prayer, work in cowshed, gardening and farming) and a range of knowledge and subjects, not just rote learning of Vedic scriptures. Facilities to study literature, music, other fine arts and games will be provided as well.
Students will be encouraged to leverage their study for graduation / post-graduation in Vedanta to appear for Karnataka Sanskrit University’s mainstream examinations under the distance learning programme as well, so that a formal degree could lead to higher education and job prospects in future.
“After finishing the course, students can aspire for a range of opportunities like Sanskrit teachers / lecturers to cultural ambassadors of the country,” says Subramani. “There is a huge shortage of Sanskrit teachers in the country.”
Students for the course will be selected after a rigorous process of written examinations, panel interviews, group discussions, so on. No discrimination will be made on the basis of caste, community, religion or sect. “All Karnataka girls who have successfully completed the high school are welcome to apply,” said Subramani.
He will sponsor the course initially, but expects well-meaning individuals and institutions to sustain the project in the long term. “Going by the response so far, many people feel the time has come for this kind of project. Many are willing to contribute in future.”
Introductory sessions across the state have already received enthusiastic response, said Subramani. “Hundreds of parents are keen. So are their girls.”
The CSIC may consider expansion at national and international level in future, depending on the experience in Karnataka, he said.