Isaac F. Arackaparambil sdb
MAHARASHTRA, JANUARY 4, 2010: I was invited by Fr. Varghese Allengaden to give an orientation programme for an event called KNIT INDIA which is convened by his movement called the UNIVERSAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT (USM) of VALUE EDUCATION for PEACE from December 28, 2010 – January 1, 2011. Knit India 2010 was held at a place called Somnath Prakalp which is a centre established by late Baba Amte, some sixty five kilometres from Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
It was a truly edifying experience to see two hundred and fifty youngsters from eighteen schools across the country, from various religious, cultural and linguistic loyalties participating with such great enthusiasm, and will to embark on a journey of personal transformation, with the aim of creating a better India and a better world. Many of them shared their personal testimonies of transformation because of adopting the five path spirituality of the USM.
What is the five path spirituality?
1. Pray daily for Peace according to one's religious tradition, to be an agent of peace and reconciliation;.
2. Skip a meal a week to express solidarity with the hungry and contribute the savings to the poor and the needy.
3. Do a good deed a day without any selfish motive to develop loving concern for the nation.
4. Honour parents, teachers and all human beings.
5. Respect the earth and save its resources.
I have grown as a better person because of my association and involvement with this movement over the last four years. The spirituality and vision of the movement is endearing to me because it so beautifully crystallizes and articulates what are already my own convictions for life, and it is very practical in its preaching and action for personal transformation and commitment to nation building. The dedication of the National Team of the USM is something all people of good will must witness firsthand. I have been witness to it for a second consequitive time and I can sincerely say that the quality of the programme thanks to the splendid team work of the members keeps getting better.
If you are an educator and are concerned about the so called 'rebellion and misguided passions of the young', think again. Youngsters are looking for role models, and are willing to participate in purposeful initiatives, provided they are guided by people who are sincere, committed and persons of integrity. KNIT INDIA 2010 was a tribute to this purposefulness and choice for selflessness, and integrity. The youngsters who participated were from std VII to XII, but their insights into life and the capacity to make self-transforming resolutions with such visible conviction was truly edifying and uplifting. Their personal testimonies of transformation have rekindled my hopes in them and in the young in general. The entire event has challenged my own inauthenticities so that I be motivated to raise the bar of my own level of personal transformation and credibility.
If you are looking for a model of youth ministry that is wholesome and nourishing because of its execution which is guided by a lasting vision and a grounded spirituality, USM has what makes for a meaningful, relevent and purposeful offer in the pluri-complex reality of India today.
My humble request that you visit their website www.universalsolidarity.org, and if you want to get in touch with them and invite them to your schools their e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 0731-2566018/ 4072057.
On an introspective and critical note, how many of our Salesian Youth Programmes end up with a sincere resolution for personal transformation and a lasting and practical vision for Nation Building? How many of our schools communicate a spirituality for transformation – personal and social, in a planned and purposeful way? Are we serious about structuralising followup mechanisms after any event organised in our institutions? Or are we satisfied merely ending up doing activity?