PROMOTING VALUE CONSCIOUSNESS THROUGH YOGA
2.Objectives of the Practice
The growth and development of a nation depends on knowledged, competent, committed and value-driven youth. The education system that is responsible for nurturing vibrant youth needs to focus not only on imparting external knowledge and skills but also on awakening their inner strength and spiritual dimension/consciousness. The curriculum and syllabi offered by the educational institutions are mostly focusing on external knowledge and sufficient provision has not been created for value orientation. Everyone can see that the present generation of students is missing the very purpose of education. As Swami Vivekananda said, “The purpose of education is the manifestation of the perfection that is already in man”. Also he stated that the purpose of education is “the concentration of the mind, not simply the collection of facts”. It is high time that the students need to be guided to realize their inner self/strength. Yoga, the ancient practice of the Indian culture, is well known for its potential strength to develop perfect personalities. Hence the College Management has taken an initiative to include ‘yoga’ in the College curriculum.
The College has started a Yoga and Health Centre in the campus in 2003. A senior faculty member, trained in yoga, has been appointed as the Coordinator. The Yoga Centre offers a short duration, 15 days Certificate Course in ‘Yoga’. The course is offered in the evening from 4 to 5 PM. A maximum of 30 students are admitted in each batch. Throughout the year, barring examination period, the course is offered. Students are admitted for a nominal fee of Rs. 50/-.
The Coordinator offers training in physical fitness exercises, suryanamaskaaras, yoga aasanas, pranayama and meditation. In the first 30 minutes, moral principles and astaanga yoga are taught. Students are made to realize their innate strengths through this blend of theory and practice. An examination is conducted to the participants, at the end of the Course, and certificates are issued to them. It is ensured by the Principal and the Yoga Coordinator that a majority of the students are exposed to yoga training during their study period. In addition to this, Spiritual Masters from different places are invited to deliver discourses and conduct workshops to the students every year.
The Yoga Centre works in close association with the Ramakrishna Seva Samithi of Narsapur. This has facilitated the mutual exchange programmes between the College and the Mutt. Students of the College participate in the competitions and workshops conducted by the Ramakrishna Mutt outside the campus. In turn Swamiji’s from the Mutt visit the College to enlighten the students through their discourses.
The College has a UGC sponsored Gandhian Studies Centre which promotes Gandhian philosophy by offering a Certificate Course. Eminent personalities and Gandhians are invited to the College, to preach Gandhian philosophy.
5.Evidence of Success
The practice has yielded very good results. There has been a tremendous response from the students. The fact that the Course has been running year after year without any break since its inception, is the evidence of its success.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the students of the College are hale and healthy, disciplined and more immune to diseases, which can be attributed to the Yoga and Health Centre of the College.
The success of the practice has also been evident by the increasing percent of student attendance, zero percent ragging and enthusiastic participation of students in all the community service activities.
6.Problems Encountered and Resources Required:
Initially there was resistance from the students owing to lack of awareness in the benefits of the practice, and the wrong notions that it is a religious practice, and those of mendicants and sadhus, hence an unnecessary physical strain and waste of their valuable time. But once a few batches got trained in the course, it gained popularity.
The College allocates sufficient funds to the Centre through UGC CPE grants. Beyond that the Centre has not encountered any problems so far.
NURTURING GREEN CAMPUS-AN ECO FRIENDLY INITIATIVE
2.Objectives of the Practice
Although the College is right on the banks of the river Vasista, the general climate is sultry and hot since it is in the Coastal area of Andhra Pradesh. Hence trees like banyan, peepal and neem were planted in the avenue of the campus, by the visionary founders of the College decades ago, for the benefit of the future generations. Now these trees have grown to a giant size giving shade, reducing carbon dioxide and minimizing the temperature.
The College has a spacious campus with an imposing 300 year old Dutch Building (the heritage building of the College), facing the main gate of the College. There are a number of blocks for different courses and libraries. There is a lot of vacant space around each block, which has required greening, to maintain Carbon neutrality as well as enhancing the beauty of the Campus.
In the wake of the side effects of the allopathic medicines, the Management has mooted the idea of growing some medicinal plants in the botanical garden, to create awareness among the students and the public of the town about the use of herbs in curing common ailments like diabetes, blood pressure, hair fall, jaundice, insect bites, kidney stones, cough and cold, skin problems and even cancer. The idea has borne fruit, and the College now has a significant number of medicinal plants.
As the department of Botany has had the reputation of having an excellent laboratory and herbariums preserved since the 1950’s, it has taken the challenge of growing mangrove plants in the garden to sustain its uniqueness.
Since funds are required for the upkeep of the entire green campus, it has become necessary to generate income through Coconut, mango, papaya and sapota trees.
The College thus ensures that the lush green campus in all the seasons gives a pleasant feeling to its students and staff and all the visitors to the campus.
As the College grew in size adding new blocks for new courses, it has constantly been adding to the number of plants in the campus. Every block is surrounded by trees; every path leading to the different blocks has trees on either side. These include teak, rose wood, flame of the forest, neem, pongamia pinnata, jamoon, mango coconut etc. About sixty coconut trees are grown all along the border of the campus.
The Campus is maintained lush green in all the seasons. There are large shady trees all over the Campus and ornamental plants that enhance the beauty of the campus. The unique feature of the Campus is its rich botanical garden with a variety of species of plants— xerophytes, hydrophytes, mangrove plants and medicinal plants. Around 130 species of medicinal plants have been procured from different sources like the nurseries of Kadiyapu Lanka of East Godavari Dist., Rajahmundry Forest Department, Swaminathan Foundation, Machilipatnam, Antharvedi and Chinamynavani Lanka. The collection ranges from common plants to rare ones, which include species like Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellarica, popularly called triphala for common ailments like gastritis, constipation and blood impurities; ocimumsativa,andocimum sanctum for cold and flu, Ocimumbasilicumas a coolant, Centella asiatica for rejunivating the nerves and increasing memory power; pergulariadaemiaand Tridax procumbens for sepsis; Aloe vera for revitalizing the skin and for a number of ailments, Tinospora cordifolia and Andrographis paniculatafor diabetes; Pavetta indica for jaundice, Aristolochiabracteatafor cobra bite– all equally important and curative. The leaf extracts of (ocimum, neem and citrus) have shown larvicidal activity against dengue mosquito, and hence considered as bio insecticides.
One of the biggest achievements and also challenges has been the chance discovery of a rare and endangered species of medicinal value, Crotolariapaniculata, during a field visit by the students along the river bank. Another rare and endangered species which grows as a weed in a nearby village, LB Cherla, called Gloriosa superba, a wonderful drug for cancer, has been procured and nurtured carefully in the garden. The challenge however, is to safe guard these plants.
The College has introduced a Certificate Course on Medicinal Plants, to create awareness among the students about their uses. The College has also introduced the best practice of making the local public aware of the advantages of these plants, and to use them as home remedies. The department of Botany encourages the public to grow them in their gardens, by giving them saplings and grafts of these useful species. A board displayed at the entrance of the botanical garden, lists the various species of medicinal plants grown in the garden, and their uses.
The coconut, mango, papaya and sapota trees generate good income to the College that is used for the maintenance of the green campus.
There has been a significant reduction in the temperature of the campus. This in turn has made the atmosphere more congenial for the teachers and the students for pursuing their academic endeavors.
Students love to spend more time in the lawns both for academic discussions and non academic discussions.
Students sit in the lawns and prepare for the exams in their preparation holidays. Student- teacher counseling sessions are conducted in a pleasant atmosphere in the lawns.
The grass in the lawns is donated to the ‘goshaalas’.
Most of the College functions are organized in the open air theatres in the green campus.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the green and beautiful campus of the College has contributed to the enhancing of the positive image of the College and sustaining good relations with the public of all walks of life.
The large number of trees and greenery in the garden have attracted a number of varieties of birds into the garden thereby enhancing its beauty.
Not a single visitor of the College has left the campus without being thrilled at the beautiful ambience of the campus.
However, the green campus of the College suffers from certain problems like the theft of some of the most useful plants, in spite of the security around the campus.
Secondly, procuring the plants has been quite easier than nurturing them which has been very difficult. Some of them were too delicate to withstand the heat, while the others could not take in too much of water; at least thirty species out of the 130 could not be saved. Efforts are on to restore them.
Another challenge has been the protecting of the large green campus from pests, diseases and weeds. This has been taken care of by the gardener, and the student volunteers of the NSS units of the College.