Dear Neev Community,
I am thrilled to have a partner in Aloha and our many team members to share the labor of love called Neev. This gives me the opportunity to spend more time with kids, structure the school for sustainable excellence and take steps towards our long-term vision of reimagining education for a changing India by developing Neev as a community around Ideas, Physical Fitness, Culture & Creative Arts, and, Reading.
Early this month, I tagged along on the North-east trip with our Grade 11 cohort. I will forever cherish this trip; not just because of what we experienced together in this distant and interesting part of India but also because of being with the intellectual and physical power-houses that only 16/17 year olds can be! We dove deep into this multi-ethnic, multi-linguist, multi-race and varied-landscapes region, while taking on challenging treks, reading, writing, interacting with local people, observing keenly and questioning continuously. We experienced the many layers of identity – ethnicity, community, nationality, and the conflicts between – social structures and norms. Sacred groves, water management, indigenous medicines and laws, music and much much more. One
student said of the Angamis – they are so happy being themselves, maybe that’s why they don’t really care about being a part of India. Others countered, that’s no reason to not be part of India, and they do need economic growth. But realizing that the delivery of
government has been a disappointment, led to many debates about government, self-sustaining society, how develop happens and what it means to be a minority community in a larger national narrative amidst treks, campfires, root-bridges, hornbill festival, late night
reading, long drives and many bars of Dairy milk 🙂 Only these older teens, almost on the verge of stepping out into the world, almost college ready, could have handled the complex concepts and region. We came away, understanding the region more, and our own
identities even more as a result.
Sarvajeet Diwas right after that was an energizing community event. The Grandparents race, with Mrs. Sangyogita Manon determinedly walking (nay, bouncing energetically) to the finish, last but definitely not the least, is an image of grit that we have to model for kids that will stay with me. When Parents and Grandparents jump in, it shows kids that they are also risk-takers, open minded, curious, confident… the IB learner profile 🙂 and that we value what our kids work so hard for. As we go forward SJD will change further to create more participation, more events, and bringing in homes and school into a quest for fitness together. Many parents saw the field for the first time and asked me – Now that everything is done and the school is on its way what will you do? It is when the school buildings are done, that the harder work of building schools truly begins.
Learn to read – read to learn, is a mantra at Neev. Books have long shadows and the size of my thoughts changed when I recently read Ramachandra Guha’s, Gandhi: the years that changed the world 1914-1948. Gandhiji has been an inspiration for most of my life. Yet
there is so much about him I didn’t know. First, Gandhiji was at war not only with British; he was at war also with Indians on womens rights, untouchability, and religious tolerance. Second, he had firm convictions as a leader and yet had the capacity to change his mind –
he made himself a magnet for debate with an open mind on different perspectives and there was a “consistency in his inconsistency”. Third, he built a solid organization that collaborated towards challenging goals – Gandhiji turned followers into leaders. Besides Nehru, Patel, Rajaji, Sarojini Naidu –described as his heart, mind, hands and feet – Gandhiji inspired and drafted hundreds of others to his cause. Last, it was his hope and optimism that drew people most – like hope that Gandhiji brought to a 105 year old woman who put Tilak on his forehead in the Dandi March, telling him to not return without independence. What a visionary…what a book!
As I think about the resilience of Neev over decades, I am mindful that we need to strengthen governance. Look out for the new members of our Governing board early next year. Wishing you a fantastic break inspiring our Gen Z and all round with love, laughter and learning!
Kavita Gupta Sabharwal
Founder & Trustee
GLIMPSES FROM THE NORTH-EAST