SERVE 4students

Early Days

All over the world kids do exams. Why do our kids resort to suicide so much more than kids elsewhere? We researched this. Discovery: we’re Indians. We respond to stimuli in our unique way. Every country does – the Americans are loud, the British ‘proper’, the Chinese determined, etc. For us, our izzat (click here to know more), ie, our prestige and status, determines our responses. We have accepted a British education structure, it suits them, it doesn’t suit us. When we fail, it attacks our izzat full-on. SERVE designed a system to sidestep this, Where the child is without fear, which worked beautifully in Delhi for six years till politicians buried it. (See The Field.).image 1

Members of SERVE with Janaki Rajan of SCERT in Delhi

It was applied for years in Delhi under the SCERT-leadership of Dr Janaki Rajan who invited SERVE up to the capital to train her colleagues and teachers, and it was hugely successful in more than 50 schools there. Alas, with her departure from office the system was discontinued by an indifferent successor. (But Delhi is still on our map!) .

Tantia High School Kolkata took on the system in the early days, and again the kids did far better than expected. But the enlightened Principal RS Upadhyaya passed away suddenly, and here again his successor abandoned the initiative. Still, the word spread that SERVE were onto something important, and we were invited to help schools in many alleviative ways even if they found it impossible to adopt the SERVE system holus-bolus. Newspapers welcomed us for some years as we perpetually prodded and poked government policies that failed to respond to an ever-increasing crop of young people committing suicide. In 2002 we were invited to contribute full-length monthly articles to, The Telegraph about education, which for some years we did. They mostly exposed the shortcomings in the system as prescribed and practised, and SERVE intended to trigger increasing dissatisfaction with things, so that parents and other interested personnel would demand change. When this effort looked like succeeding we were told that no further pieces would be welcomed. We didn’t need an astrologer to identify why. .

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Tantia High School former principal RS Upadhyay , who first believed in SERVE

However , the most inspiring and motivating experience of our early years was the suicide of our iconic little 11 year old Sahana Pal ( click here )