When I was studying in Engineering, I met some people who were interested in doing something good for the country. We discussed for few days and then we thought – ‘we will make an organization’. It was called the AIT (Association of Indian Tigers). Initially we fought against copying in internal examinations, and leaking of question papers. It was a good beginning. Of course we were made fun of to a certain degree. However I personally found something worthwhile in this endeavor. It was also easier to get people to our fold under this organization. I remember some seniors and juniors who were all toppers in their respective classes coming forward to join our organization. Me, being the organizor had to address all these people. The last time I topped my class was in my 7th. Thereafter, I never felt a zeal to go for that position. I don’t know if it was right or wrong but that zeal never came to me later. But I must say that I had an advantage over all the members because of my studying of Swami Vivekananda. That force always took me to lead. Later, on the advice of Revered. Swami Jagadatmanandaji of Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Ashram, Ponnampet who made fun of the name AIT comparing with the LTTE, we decided to make it as IRM (Indian Revival Movement).
We started a small library in our Hostel. One of the members was made the librarian. The amount required was raised through subscription. Each member paid 30 rupees every month. We set up quite a decent library. We got many books from the nearby Ramakrishna Ashram, bought technical magazines from Mysore, some novels and other books were added likewise. Later we thought of starting a fortnightly college magazine! One of our members was very interested in Literature. He took the responsibility of editing the magazine. I remember that our first copy was handwritten. We called the magazine as “Kranthi.” We published it fortnightly. It was an amazing feeling. We were doing something that nobody thought of in the college. That is the power of organization!.
Later we expanded our activities. We published another magazine dedicated fully towards technology. That was called ‘iWare’. We held group discussions, preparatory exams, daily jogging and meditation, and group reading on a regular basis. In my last year in college, we started an annual event called “IT Sarvabhoum” to recognize the best all round IT talent in the college. After I came out, our activities continued on for another 3-4 years thanks to some of my juniors who took up the work. That was IRM.
After coming out of the college, things didn’t go as well as our group wanted. Somehow we couldn’t bring out the same spirit of unity, mutual respect and understanding outside the college. Of course one of the reasons could be that the priorities and methods were different. Thus IRM slept for couple of years. But all these days I kept on studying Swami Vivekananda, who, at that point of time was my lone support. It went on for sometime till I found myself in the company of two groups – one, socio-political and the other, religious.
In one of the meetings of the socio-political group, we thought of starting a political party. We named it as Indian Political Movement (IPM). I was probably 25 then. We discussed a lot and found that we were unknown and will not be taken seriously. Then we decided to do some service activity to get ourselves closer to people. We forgot all about politics and started to visit a village to teach children. After sometime, the members of socio-political group became busy, some of them migrated to the other cities and others found it impossible to spare their Sundays. By then the religious group with many young faces had become strong. Once the idea of service was discussed with them, most of them were willing to join the work. This religious group was from Swami Vivekananda Youth Forum of Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore. Some of the most dedicated people either in religious life, or towards service I have met here.
Now this village visit was no more a simple service activity. We found more meaning in it and in the light of the clarion call of Swami Vivekananda. We could see that we can make a definite difference in the lives of rural children. In this world, there is nothing like unselfish volunteer work. To be in the company of such people even for a couple of days is a great feeling and this number is always pretty good in Ramakrishna Ashram. Thus we started to work in 4 villages on Sundays. I don’t know how much difference we have made in the lives of any of these villagers but there is that satisfaction of having tried. Certainly we have become better human beings by this effort.
Once this rural activity became stronger, we needed to arrange money. Then we seriously thought of registering our organization. There were doubts as to how much time the trustees can give, considering that most of them were young and were just getting into a profession. But we thought something is better than nothing and decided to go ahead with the Trust Registration. Initially it was IRM and it was Swami Vivekananda’s teaching which injected real life into it. So we decided to name it as Swami Vivekananda Indian Revival Movement (SVIRM). Our Trust was registered on 12th January (the birthday of Swami Vivekananda) 2011.
Our objectives are pretty big but we have kept it simple. Doing our little with the time that we get. Now that we have got two full time dedicated qualified individuals, we have been able to scale up our activities. Whatever good comes of this effort will be dedicated to ‘Mother India’