How do you look at the three decades journey of Ekal?
Ekal has been endeavouring for the last three decades to bring about a massive change in the tribal and rural life. Academically we are working through primary education, economic development through various activities like organic farming, skill development, cultural revolution by regenerating self-respect for local traditions, empowering the local population through making them aware oft their constitutional duties, rights and various welfare schemes by governments and tools like RTI to derive benefits. We have been doing it through a volunteer model to bring about changes. There is no employee. Everybody is sparing his/her time and resources as a service to Bharatmata. Now, in Lucknow, we are taking stock of the situation. During the Parivartan Kumbh held after every five years we look back, evaluate our programmes and their outcome and impact and then accordingly we make our future plans for the next five years. We did the same in Dhanbad in 2015. Now all the volunteers from India and abroad have assembled in Lucknow. There are about 82 delegates from all over the world. Everybody who is operating Ekal Movement is here in Lucknow. We are discussing all the programmes, their impact, weakness, threats to India as a community and nation.
What is the prime focus of Ekal Parivartan Kumbh this year?
We have completed three decades. Now we are stepping up the pitch of the whole movement from mere education and awareness to the people’s movement. Now, we want to involve each and every organ/person in Ekal villages into our movement going beyond the education in Ekal schools, farmers associated with us through various activities, and people who gather for our weekly satsangs. We want to make it a truly people’s movement involving the maximum number of people from rural India. Close to 400 million rural population is focus and target. So, we are transforming from mere education to the people’s movement.
Ekal now has over one lakh schools. Is there any new target to increase the number of schools?
Now, we are planning to consolidate our strength. The reach to one lakh villages is only through primary education or Ekal schools. We have other programmes of health and hygiene, gaupalan, organic farming, cultural education also. We want to spread all these programmes to all these one lakh villages. Hence, for the next five years, we have the programme that all the one lakh villages should have each and every Ekal activity. Instead of spreading numerically only with the schools, now we will go deeper in all the one lakh villages.
Does Vision-2025 have all these programmes?
By 2025, we wish to see India a prosperous nation in all respects pushing the country forward through villages. The cultural message that Bharat had been spreading in the ancient era will now be spread by our villages. We want to empower the villages so much through knowledge and awareness so that Bharat move faster towards becoming a Vishwaguru.
How has been the social support to Ekal during all these three decades?
It is the movement completely dependent on society. We do not get any resource from the government. Every kind of support comes from society. Financial support largely comes from urban people. About one-third of financial support comes from the NRIs. Now we have started self-reliance programme under which the villagers should start owning and supporting all their schools and programmes. We feel by the year 2025, 50 per cent of the schools should be self-sufficient.