Atmiyata, as propounded by His Divine Holiness Hariprasad Swamiji, is living in harmony with all; this is the core to sustainable development.
While we have entered the seventh year after the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is heartening to note that institutions, organisations and Governments are making committed efforts towards the realisation of SDG priorities. India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is making significant progress towards the wellbeing of all its citizens with the motto of’SabkaSaath, Sabka Vikas’.
SDGs provide a clear roadmap for the systematic development of a peaceful and prosperous planet. The integrated nature of the different development goals offers a framework for need-based and customised development efforts in different sectors, institutions and regions. In addition to the collective institutional efforts, the commitment of individuals is key to achieving the desired goals. Continuous development communication, aiming at synergizing the individual behaviour with larger systemic actions, will be instrumental in effective development.
Academic institutions, of all types and at all levels, have an active role in the sustainable development of the world. In addition to teaching, training, research and outreach activities, the focus should also be on shaping the individual behaviour through the right attitude and value-sets. Currently, in India, the implementation of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has started. NEP offers an opportunity for academic institutions to transform the process of teaching and learning through a focus on the relevance of education as well as the development of universal human values. The value-focused education can contribute to sustainable development in the true sense.
Atmiyata, which is to live in harmony with all, is core to achieving development. Today, we need experts, professionals and leaders with empathy, ethics and integrity. Modern scientific advancements and economic growth can only contribute to development when it touches the last person in society in a positive manner. To take the benefits of development to the deprived and poor sections of society, the individuals with Atmiyata will act as both carriers as well as means. Therefore, the time is to align our education with the development needs of the world through high-quality affordable education that also shapes the global citizens of tomorrow.
Realising the need to link universal human values to the ‘sustainability desired behaviour’ of our educated youths, at Atmiya University as well as other group institutions, significant efforts have been made in terms of different teaching, research and outreach initiatives. During nearly the last 7-8 years, a focused effort has also been initiated through the integration of the JeevanVidya (which we translate as ‘wisdom for living in harmony’) programme for not only our students but also the staff and faculty.
Based on the Maddhyastha Darshan of Shri A. Nagraj Ji, this unique programme has produced wonderful results in transforming people on the path of progress with prosperity, peace of mind as well as seva-bhav (service orientation). Our experience shows that teaching courses on ethics and human values are important in our institutions, but these are not enough. There must be systematic and research-based initiatives to mainstream the universal human values through different activities across the entire teaching-learning process.
The Atmiya philosophy of education is to develop ‘sanyuktamanavsevabhav: i.e., collective service-orientation for common good. Developing such a type of value system requires collective action and creativity in the way we impart our education.
India has had a rich tradition of value-focused education since time immemorial. Today, particularly given NEP 2020, the academic institutions should join hands in tackling the serious social, economic and environmental challenges through the implementation of a value-focused curriculum based on the rich Indian treasure of wisdom.
I am confident that with the wisdom of esteemed board members and editorial team, Blitz India will become a catalyst in accelerating the pace of development in India and beyond. I wish the publication huge success. Jai Swaminarayan!