Pictures that speak 1000 words

Its been almost two weeks now since I flew back to London with my Grandma and I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Samvedana and the various things I’ve seen. In this post, I want to summarise my thoughts and experiences outside of the project itself in the form of pictures that I’ve taken throughout my 6 week internship.

One concept that is very prevalant in India and is almost never seen in the UK is the idea of Desh Bhakti (which translates to worship of the country). When Indians refer to their country, they will often refer to it as Bharat Mata (Mother India) and their country is often spoken about with the same reverence that they would use when speaking about God. In the Western countries, concepts of patriotism do exist but there is nothing quite like the Desh Bhakti of Indians. I have found, in my experience, that there are many people in India who have sacrificed huge amounts of time in their lives to better their society. When asked why, I have found that the answer is usually rooted in Desh Bhakti.

I spent a few days with a man called Shankar Jadhav, who had spent 7 years of his life working with indigenous people and helping them develop their access to basic food, water, and healthcare. With him, I travelled from Latur to Osmanabad visiting 12 different families on the way. He now runs a small Bharat Mata Mandir (temple) in Lohara. This is me and his son, holding the Bhagwa Dhwaj.
One day, on my travels with Shankar Jadhav, we were far away from any town and it was getting quite late in the afternoon. We still handn’t eaten lunch so we pulled into this farm. We met this wonderful farmer who let us wander round his fields and pick anything we wanted. Lunch for me that day was about a half-dozen fresh pomegranates. What astounded me most was that this farmer didn’t charge us anything to eat from his fields. The generosity of the poor is something I’ve seen so much of in India and it’s something that I can never forget.
In the village of Killari, I met a man called Chandrashekhar. He was a civil servant who really wanted to learn English. In the few days that I was at Killari, I talked to him many times and taught him quite a lot of English. I went to his house for dinner and he showed me his extensive coin collection which included coins from the Mughal Empire. Before I left, I made sure to gave him a british two poind coin to add to his collection. This photo was taken by his friend who is a professional photographer. When we think of villagers, we usually have a narrow-minded view of what they do in their daily lives. It is easy to forget that they also have hobbies like coin-collection and photography.
Back at Samvedana, I spent much of the final week teaching year 5 kids English. Sitting here with my tea in one hand, waiting for the students to finish an exercise I had set them and thinking about when I’d get my lunch break, I felt like a true teacher.
Next door, at Janakalyan, the boarding school for (non-disabled) kids, one of the boys showed me this book he was reading. I was amazed to see that these boys went through the same experience of reading Harry Potter as I did when I was their age.
On most days, I would spend the afternoons at Janakalya. I got to play loads of sports including Football, Cricket, Kho-Kho, and Kabaddi.

Of course, I have wayyyy too many pictures to put in one blog post so I’ll be sure to make at least one more picture-based posts in the coming weeks.

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