86, East Delhi: A
Revolution Begins

A vision translated into action, the action soaked with dynamism, and the result; a Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP), the first in the history of Delhi. Seema, a YLTP teacher of The Art of Living gives us a deeper understanding and takes us through the ground work and reality of this unique program. 

“We are working towards Guruji’s vision, of creating an ideal place by implementing the 5H (Health, Hygiene, Homes, Human Values and Harmony) in an urban setup. We have already worked in the 35,000 villages in India that The Art of Living has adopted, but we don’t have anything of this kind in the cities. We needed a geographic area that we could work in, and where we could see results. We started with East Delhi, and we divided the region into 10 zones, and planned its phase-wise development. First, we had to mobilize the youth. We indentified and selected youth who are dynamic and can make things happen, and we gave them training for nine days (from the 28th of Jan to the 5th of Feb 2012). There were 86 youths who participated in the first YLTP in the history of Delhi, and a unique one too,” shares Seema.

Why is it unique and different from other YLTPs?  Seema tells us exactly why. “The approach of the YLTP which is focused in the villages is entirely different. The background and the issues are different. The skill and the exposure level of the youths are different. In a capital city like Delhi, even the slums and the lower middle class are quite aware and modern. The program had to be re-designed with an urban perspective,” smiles Seema.

Explaining the demographics of the group, Seema shares, “The training batch had a mix of youth from the slums, middle lower class, middle class, and some also from well to do families. The training that focused on the mindset and the personal issues of the urban youth bridged the gap which was there in the society. The distance between the different strata which the society created beautifully melted during this course.” 

Guruji’s vision is to give the nation a transparent, equanimous and truthful leadership which is devoid of crime, corruption and violence. This vision translated into the dynamic action plan which Mahesh Giriji, senior Art of Living teacher, and his team took forward in Delhi. He sent his team of teachers and volunteers to identify youth from the colonies of East Delhi. And what they saw was stark. 

“The youngsters living in the city of so much glitz and glamour, though they belong to very ordinary families have very high dreams. And what they want is a shortcut, to get rich overnight, making them disillusioned about life and the future, which further attracts them  a to all negativities possible. Many of them get involved into some or the other kind of crime. What is seen is that the energy is being diverted into wrong doings. Because their aspirations are high, there is a great amount of frustration in them. It is more of a psychological rather than a physiological issue, that we identified,” explains Seema. “The nine day training by Mahesh ji, the way he channelized the energy of the youth was just amazing. On the second last day, the venue was echoing with chants of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’. 

The energy of these 86 youth took a new dimension.

After the nine day YLTP, the participants have to organize a big public event, motivating the people from their respective areas to join in, so that their skills are further enhanced.

The experiences are very positive. Many of the men shared that earlier they didn’t respect women, but now they have started respecting them. Savita Dama, who comes from a very conservative community of the Gurjars, was interested in politics. But her community doesn’t allow much freedom to the women. Coming from such a conservative community and family she didn’t even think she could enroll for the YLTP even though she wanted to. And on the 9th day, she shared that she can see so many people like a family, standing rock solid with her. The training, especially ‘Padma Sadhana’(a sequence of 14 yog asanas) has internally made her strong, and she can feel her will power has increased. Savita, on the 15th of April is preparing to stand for the city elections. The confidence that she can make a difference in the society has been a revelation. Puneet, a lawyer shares that he had an opportunity to interact with people from other communities, and the team work has been different. The essence of the YLTP is so practical; everything can be applied in daily life. It is a meaningful program, one which is necessary for all youth. Ritika, a management faculty, says that her smile doesn’t seem to stop, and she has found a purpose in life. Pallavi, a hospitality professional, shares that her public speaking and communication skills have been enhanced.  There is a sense of belonging towards everyone that has arisen naturally. YLTP has brought about a sweetness in relationships. It is a wonder.

“The vision that we are working towards has just begun. Empowered with yoga, meditation and the ‘Sudarshan Kriya, what we witnessed is not just a training program, it is nation building, and it has already started through The Art of Living.”

Please write to us at webteam.india@artofliving.org with your comments and ideas.

Writer: Eben Felix