Rajan Venkatesh

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Rajan Venkatesh, formerly a journalist with the Times of India and teacher of journalism in Mumbai and New Delhi, is an educator. Deeply interested in the functioning of traditional Indian society and its livelihoods, he ran Bodhshala, a rural mountain village school in Uttarakhand, that was part of the Society for the Development of the Himalayas (SIDH). At Bodhshala, Venkatesh set about restoring the connections that had been destroyed by the colonial system of education. Colonial education disconnected children and their communities, as well as delinked learning from India’s intellectual and cultural traditions. The products of such education have no notion of sustainable and responsible living, encouraging the belief that the modern education system sees our children as blank slates, and moulds their minds and souls to serfdom in the modern economy.
Venkatesh is deeply inspired by Gandhiji’s Buniyadi Shiksa, and so Bodhshala School was an experiment in production-integrated school education. His principle was: what is good for the community, what strengthens it, what makes families prosperous – this has to be the curriculum, the matters to be learned or studied. Venkatesh’s present place of learning, natural farming, and exploration of Indian philosophy, culture and traditional knowledge systems, has a new location – Sawantwadi, in Maharashtra state, India.

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