Grama Vikas Kendra

Nalpathimala Experiment

Nalpathimala is a village that lies in the immediate neighbourhood of Mahatma Gandhi University’s head quarters in Kottayam. This place has a Dalit Colony and two re-settlement colonies.

The Vice Chancellor was Prof. U R Anantha Moorthy and I was Programme Co-ordinator of NSS.

This was a good combination.

I wrote a proposal to the University to put up a Grama Vikas Kendra in the south-east corner of the University’s 110 acre main campus.

The Kendra was designed as a meeting point between the campus and the community. It was to be an extension centre of the University which will also serve to sensitise NSS volunteers about social realities as well as possibilities of working with people.

The Vice Chancellor sanctioned the proposal and allotted two acres of land for Grama Vikas Kendra.

In the sanctioning order he wrote: “This is a beautiful idea. This must be implemented. Registrar, please take immediate action. I am sure this Grama Vikas Kendra will add a Chetna dimension to the Chinthna pre-occupations of our University”.  (Chetna means heart, and Chinthna means head.)

The Kendra was inaugurated on 31st March 1990. This day happened to be an Easter Sunday.

The Vice Chancellor stated, “Let this Kendra lead to the resurrection of Nalpathimala”.

In fact this happened.

For 17 years Nalapathimala became a bee-hive of social and educational activities which proved to be an inspiration for thousands of students and the local public.