Vision and Mission
Please watch this video
which shows women of Simalia village in Ranchi Jharkhand digging a large pond for irrigation. A large pond was dug up without any government help. This happened when they were inspired to help themselves and not wait for the govenment.
Holistic or total development of the villages is one of the prime objectives of governments, stated or unstated. Most non-governmental organisations, on the other hand, work in specific sectors like health, education, skilling, agriculture, environment etc.
Holistic development has two main components: human development and material advancement. Governments focus mainly on the latter part like roads, buildings, canals, electricity, industry and agriculture, to name a few. Even though their focus is less on human development, it is nonetheless one of the targets generally pursued by all governments through formal education in schools.
It is understood that human development can bring about a lot of material advancement too. Take, for example, corruption and bribery, which frustrates all efforts at poverty alleviation. There is very little corruption prompted by dire need, even though basic need also sometimes plays a part in making people accept bribes and indulge in other forms of financial crime. But we have found that despite the government substantially enhancing its officials’ salaries in the past, corruption has not come down in the slightest measure. On the contrary, it has been growing. Most of the corruption, therefore, is not because of need but greed. If greed were somehow eliminated from the human mind, or at least reduced, corruption would also go down significantly. Take another example of poverty. It is also partly linked to a certain mindset and beliefs. For example, the Hindus’ expensive rites and rituals starting from the child’s birth to death drain all the savings, precluding capital-formation and frustrating efforts at establishing a business for self-employment. Poverty is also linked to the poor work culture of the Indians. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on human development because today's education, by neglecting ethics and values and many other essential things, does not provide for a human person’s holistic growth, . Besides, this aspect needs greater attention also because the government focuses mainly on material advancement.
Bharatiya Chetna Kendra, unlike most other NGOs, wants to take up villages for their total development. However, at the first stage, it takes up human development. Then, at the second stage, it goes for material development like poverty alleviation.
The Founder of Bharatiya Chetna Kendra had once spent 6 hours on two consecutive days in a village called Simalia in the Ranchi district of Jharkhand to convince and inspire people to take up self-development work without waiting for the government to help in all matters. This mind-engineering resulted in the village teaming up to dig a huge pond for irrigation in the following three months. One may watch the video on the left margin of this page to believe that it can happen so quickly through a minor transformation of the human mind. While the actual digging by the villagers took over three months, the convincing and inspiring process took only two days,
Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz, who spent over five years in India as the Mexican Ambassador, in his book ‘In light of India’ observed that religion is fundamental to India, and it affects every dimension of an Indian’s life. Therefore, it would be wise to use religious books to motivate the people for their self-development. But this can be a hazardous proposition if not done wisely. For example, suppose the Hindu scriptures are taught to Hindu villagers. In that case, this may worsen the caste divide, and maltreatment of the Shudras (lower castes) may increase further. It may also reinforce many superstitions. Therefore, we found that the only book that we could use for reshaping the villagers’ minds was the Bhagavad-Gita, which tries to reverse many of the undesirable trends of popular Hinduism. It does not talk of the caste system at all, and it does not support the Varna system of four social-occupational classes which is based on birth. On the other hand, It speaks of viewing equally the Brahmins and Shudras. It teaches again and again non-violence, but at the same time asks people to be ready to fight in case of grave injustice when persuasion fails. Therefore, we found that it was the most suitable book to use for human development.
The Gita is the most practical book for human transformation not only in India but anywhere in the world. A Christian Catholic private University called Seton Hall University deliberated on which book to select for human transformation at the university. According to the Netnews reports, it considered the Vedas, the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita. But it selected the Bhagavad-Gita finally for all streams of students as a part of their core curriculum for positive human transformation. Scientists, philosophers and other intellectuals worldwide respect the Bhagavad-Gita. Some of them have called it the Bible of humanity. It teaches friendship and love towards everyone and explicitly mentions that one should not hate a fellow human being or any creature. It also teaches religious tolerance. Therefore, we found it appropriate to make use of this Holy Book to facilitate human transformation in a manner that would finally lead to material development too, including poverty alleviation.
We reviewed eminent NGOs’ works and found that some of them had done a remarkable job in specific areas of their interest, but that did not change the village’s larger picture. The quantum of happiness did not significantly increase, and life’s quality did not show pronounced improvement. It was also impossible to replicate their experiment because they had pumped vast amounts of money taken from the World Bank and other donor agencies in a particular village or a group of adjacent villages. We can not put so much money in every village in the country, which are over 6 lacs. Therefore, we have to look for methods that are not money-intensive and enhance the quality of life of the people involved in a pronounced manner by refashioning their attitudes and through the removal of poverty.
Having evaluated some of these experiments, Bharatiya Chetna Kendra decided to go for human transformation using the Bhagavad Gita as the primary, though not the only, tool. Today most poverty alleviation and self-employment programmes fail because there is no work culture among the people concerned. People have virtually developed the beggar-mindset. They want immediate gains without making any efforts. They also want everything for free. There is a remedy for all these mental ills in the Bhagavad-Gita. It may be borne in mind that running of a total development centre in the ordinary course, for example by the government, would take crores of rupees. On the other hand, a voluntary force of dedicated workers can operate such a community development centre at no or a very low cost, providing free services. IT MAY ALSO BE BORNE IN MIND, IT IS DIFFICULT TO RAISE SUCH A VOLUNTARY FORCE EXCEPT THROUGH THE INSPIRATION PROVIDED BY A BOOK LIKE THE GITA WHICH WANTS EVERYONE TO WORK FOR GOD AND TREAT EVERY HUMAN BEING AS A MANIFESTATION OF HOD HIMSELF.
The Bharatiya Chetna Kendra bases its mission on the above-explained vision. The mission is stated as under:
To achieve holistic development of communities, especially village communities, by refashioning their consciousness with Indian cultural and philosophical heritage as enshrined in the Bhagavad-Gita. This, in the end, must finally catalyse the material advancement of the target groups, significantly enhancing their overall quality of life and the quantum of happiness.