In January 2015, the fourth conclave of Bharat Vikas Sangam was scheduled at the Siddhgiri Math of Kolhapur, Maharashtra. I went there one month before the event because I was planning to write a book about this ancient Math. Although formally I was not responsible for the event, knowingly or unknowingly I got involved with various aspects of it in such a way that I did not know when Swami Kadasideshwarji, the head of Siddhgiri Math, gave me the informal charge of the preparations for the whole event. The volume and scale of this event was mind-boggling. In 8 days, it recorded the footfall of around 18 lakh people. It was really a lifetime experience. It honed my skills and gave me the necessary confidence to plan and organize any such event in the future.
Whether it is social work or personal life, formal events play a big role in both spheres. But if there is no proper ‘activity’ before and after the event, then the whole exercise of organizing the event becomes a burden. In such a case no long-term benefit ensues from the event. Events and Activities are complementary to each other but their nature is quite different. Events are formal and happen occasionally, but activities are informal and they are done with high frequency in a routine way. Just as a bird flies with two wings, social life moves only with the right coordination between events and activities.
In January 2021, we were doing many things in Tirhutipur as activities, but we had not yet organized any big event. After due contemplation, we chose 14th and 26th January for this purpose. The first is celebrated as Makar Sankranti and the second as Republic Day all over the country with its varied shades. In Tirhutipur and all the surrounding villages, both these dates are associated with children. On 14th January, children are allowed to play without any restriction. They do not get scolded for playing on this day. Similarly, 26th January is associated with flag hoisting in front of the children in schools and then the distribution of sweets. Since our priority were children, both these events were ideal for us.
In the social sphere, events are held to gain strength on the front of funds, office, and volunteers i.e. Kosh, Karyalaya, and Karyakarta. Along with this, efforts are also made to reach out to a larger audience by inviting VIP guests and ensuring media coverage. In Mission Tirhutipur, we were not interested in any kind of publicity outside the village. We needed the office, but it was a remote possibility. As far as the funds were concerned, I myself had decided that for a year I would not ask for donations from any quarter.
Out of the events of January 14 and 26, we mainly wanted to develop some volunteers for Mission Tirhutipur. Along with this, it was also our endeavor that all the people of the village should become well acquainted with the mission and its team and an atmosphere of positive change should be generated. The events of Tirhutipur were very very small as compared to Kolhapur. But here also, I was using the same technique which I had used in Kolhapur. This technique is called Auftragstaktik in German. In English, this is roughly translated as Mission Command.
The Auftragstaktik technique works at the tactical level. It has many dimensions, but in brief, it can be attributed to the relationship between seniors and juniors. According to this, a senior is expected to explain the intent and strategic objective behind each order. Once the order is explained, it becomes the responsibility of the Junior to execute the order independently without any interference from the senior.
Govindacharya ji never mentioned the Auftragstaktik technique to me but I see him as the embodiment of this very technique. He always asks his junior volunteers to take independent initiative. He never likes the tendency to seek order and direction at each step. In Tirhutipur, I wanted to develop the same work culture, which I have learned from Govindji and which is key to the adoption of Auftragstaktik technique.
In Tirhutipur, I had two junior volunteers with me – one Kamal Nayan and the other Harshvardhan. Regarding the events of January 14 and 26, I explained everything to both of them. After this, I handed over the entire responsibility of preparation and organization of the event to them. My role in the preparation of the event was negligible. During that time I could not go to Tirhutipur even for a day. From 17th January to 24th January I was in Delhi. Despite this, the preparations for the event continued smoothly. All the decisions were being taken in a proper manner at the proper time.
We organized both the events on the same 1.5 acres of land where the residence of Govindacharya Ji and the campus of Mission Tirhutipur is to be developed. We had two objectives in front of us for the 14th January event. First of all, we wanted to divert the attention of village boys from unproductive games like cricket, etc. to productive sports activities like running and kabaddi. Along with this, our effort was to increase the participation of girls in sports. In the first objective, we were partially successful but in the second objective, we got great success. On the day of Makar Sankranti, more than 100 girls enthusiastically participated in competitions like running and kabaddi in front of the whole village. This was a paradigm shift. Not only in Tirhutipur but also in the surrounding villages this was the first of its kind event where girls participated in such a way.
Similarly, the event of 26th January also had its own uniqueness. Till now only schools used to organize republic day programs. For the first time, it was done in the village. On 14th January we focused on sports, but on 26th January our focus was on cultural programs. In the presence of Govindacharya Ji, our event lasted for about 6 hours. A total of 27 types of programs were held on the stage of which 19 were dance programs. In between dances, children also showed their talent through speech, drama, and singing, etc.
These two big events held at an interval of only 12 days made Mission Tirhutipur well established among the villagers. Now the Mission had many more volunteers along with Kamal and Harsh. Because they worked together and shared different stressful moments of the event, they acquired a greater bond and understanding among themselves. For me, both events were huge successes. But some people inside the village were presenting another picture. They were questioning our wisdom behind the promotion of sports and cultural activities among the children.
That’s all in this diary. Goodbye.
Vimal Kumar Singh
Convener, Mission Tirhutipur