Volunteering for Itihaas has been one of my best decisions taken in life and till date I have had no regrets or disappointments and do not expect in future either.
From the time I stepped in for an assignment with students under Ithihaas to visit an “akhada”, my interest was spiked by the kind of work this organization does. Teaching History is easy but combining it with socio -cultural hues is something to be applauded. Thus, I went to an akhada and learnt what comprises the mud, the strenuous exercises they do, as well as the tough life style of the people there. The students had a hands-on experience of mixing the various components for a perfect akhada “mitti “ and learnt the importance of the values of perseverance and patience. The trip to the Yamuna was an eye-opener and I had the shock of my life when I saw the filthy condition of this river that flows through the heart of Delhi. The children had expected “a blue river” and had even drawn it but were aghast at the real condition.
My out station trip to Laporia, in Rajasthan was a real treat. The pioneer of water canals, the person who had brought greenery to this parched area, hosted us. The students who travelled with us did a lot of Shram daan , doing for a couple of hours the back breaking work the average villager does every day.! They went around interviewing the villagers and were taken aback by the poverty and unemployment as well as their grit. If there was one learning the students took home, it was that life is not easy in these villages; yet the people seemed content with their lot.
I had various interactions with Ithihaas after that first time. I went with them on the walks to Qutb Minar, Feroze Shah Kotla , Purana Quila, to the Darga at Nizamuddin ; with enthusiastic interns to the National Gandhi Museum( a place I knew existed but regrettable had never been to ), the National Museum and so on. Each walk or visit was a learning in itself opening up a plethora of activities, a group of dedicated people, working in tune with the respective organization and making the lives of people and events come alive - through brilliant age appropriate activities, discussions, question and answer sessions, reference work, interacting with important people connected with the organization, learning how things work- through the students’ own effort and gently guided by the organizers. Above all, every activity had a value to put forward, an important lesson, whether it is of self-reliance, honesty, perseverance, compassion or understanding human nature.
It is thus that I hope that I will have the pleasure of working with Ithihaas, facilitate more interesting programmes and enjoy watching the awakening of the young mind, teach the young adults a new perspective and appreciation of the beautiful country they live in.