“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
National Service Scheme, a social service program sponsored by the Indian Government, sprang from the belief of the Mahatma that the difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would solve most of the problems and was founded on his Centenary. In 1969, it started with 40,000 students from 37 universities. Now it has over 3 million volunteers from nearly 300 higher educational institutions.
It is always the personality of the man that counts in forging him to be a great leader, and NSS aims to develop it through community service. All over the world high importance is being given to the engagement of students and educational institutions in community service. Public service will not only sensitize the students to the problems faced by the community, but it will also teach them valuable practical skills and life skills. We are killing two birds with one stone: teaching students the skills they need to survive in the real world and also allowing them to give back to the society. Talk about a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship!
The volunteers of this organisation have the motto “Not me, but thou”. This is the showcase for the belief in selflessness and is reflected in their work to ensure everyone one in need gets help making true the words that we rise by uplifting others. They utilise their knowledge in finding practical solutions to civic and social problems. The symbol of NSS was inspired by the Rath wheel in the Konark Sun Temple and symbolises a continuous effort towards social reform.
Inculcating a sense of social responsibility in the students and integrating the institutes into social service plans is an endeavor that requires a vast amount of coordination and organisation. At the national level, it is done by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. And at the grassroots level, it is done by the various educational institutions.
IIT Hyderabad is proud to say that has its unit of NSS and has it since 2008, the founding year of the institute. The activities taken up by the volunteers from IITH include Vidyadaan, Cloth Donation, Blood donation camps and orphanage visits.
Students from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya visited IIT Hyderabad on 3rd and 4th of January, 2018. This visit was organized by NSS IITH with a view to encourage the students to pursure STEM subjects Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the future.
Starting off with a small presentation on IITH and some rules to be followed by the students on the campus, it turned out to be a fun and informative event for everyone involved.This was Followed by the demonstration of some really interesting aspects of chemistry in the form of simple school experiments and a lively interactive session with a Professor, Dr. Tarun.K.Panda.
The students then visited several labs spanning across a multitude of disciplines including Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Engineering Design. Faculty from departments including Biomedical Engg., Civil Engg.and Liberal Arts interacted with the students and shared their knowledge not only about different aspects of Engineering, but also about the day-to-day activities at IITH.
Dr. Digvijay S. Pawar explained the various road safety rules, their importance and motivated the students to adopt safe driving practices. The SciTech clubs of IITH exhibited their projects to not only to expose the students to cutting edge technology but also to try and ignite the spark of innovation in them. As a part of the closing ceremony, JNV alumni, now studing at IITH, talked about their their journey to becoming an IITian.
Being at IIT-Hyderabad during the weekend means waking up at 11 AM or later; that is the earliest the day starts. Today, on the other hand, I was up by 6 and quite excited for it would be my first session with NSS under Vidyadaan. For those who do not know what that is, it means that we go to schools near our campus, try to teach the students there and learn from them.
The Vidyadaan programme was started with firm belief that the society had given a lot to us and what better way to give it back than teaching the citizens of tomorrow? To this end regular visits are organized to the nearby schools.
We took the college bus to Sangareddy ZPHS and reached there by 10 AM. As we got down we were greeted by radiant faces; I’d never imagined the students there would be so interested to meet us. We’d decided beforehand that today we would try and teach them about MS Office and so after some light-hearted interaction, the lesson started. Having distributed the grades 6th through 10th among ourselves, I found myself with the 7th graders. After the quick talk on how a word processor is a useful tool, we started a hands-on session. Despite an initial inhibition to use the laptops, they took to it like fishes to water, and I am proud to say that they learned far faster than I ever did.
This day – my first Vidyadaan session – is one I am not going to forget anytime soon.