Balagokulam is a unique initiative to impart value education to children in fun-filled environment with the goal of imparting pride for nation and culture in the young sharp minds who form the fundamental pillar for our and world’s future. A typical Balagokulam session is about 1.5 hours conducted once a week with activities including Yoga, Surya Namaskar, Games, Patriotic Songs, Stories, Art work and so on.
Currently there are 60 centers across the Hyderabad, mostly concentrated on gated communities. About 1500 children attend such sessions in these centers on weekly basis. You may be very pleased to know that all the Balagokulam sessions are conducted absolutely free of charge by dedicated volunteers coming from varied backgrounds including IT professionals, teachers, doctors, journalists and so on.
Balagokulams are running in gated communities across Hyderabad and Secunderabad including areas like Gacchibowli, Madhapur, Kondapur, Miyapur, Bachupally, Kukatpally, Dilsukhnagar, Adiktmet, Narayanguda, Lingampalli, Manikonda, Khairtabad, Sri Nagar Colony, Kompally, Suchitra and more.
The focused journey for Balagokulams in Hyderabad started in 2011. Earlier we have couple of centers running as isolated efforts. However, as the gated communities were springing up in Hyderabad, few of the karyakartas felt that it was important to ensure that children across these newer communities and colonies should get good exposure to our core value system and culture at an early age. And there began the story of Balagokulams in Hyderabad under the banner of “Balagokulam Bharat”.
There were 4 Balagokulams near Miyapur / Hitech City area in 2011. At the end of 2012, we had 10 Balagokulams in the city and towards end of 2013 we were around 19. As the movement kept growing, the need was felt to get all these various Balagokulams on a common platform at least once a year. And they started the discussions and churning of thoughts on what would be the best occasion considering various parameters including – picking an occasion that was in context of Balagokulam, the period that wouldn’t clash with major examinations, season where the uncertainty of weather would be somewhat limited and more over can we find an occasion which is super important but is largely ignored by the majority of the people. And thus got picked, Gita Jayanthi, as the occasion which was best fit from all the criteria we had to Balagokulam Annual Day. And, of course, what could be better that giving the exposure of Bhagavad Gita, one of the most revered and profound scriptures which has impressed the world from many centuries, to children at very tender age.
In 2013, 400 children participated in our 1st ever Annual Day. Children chanted Bhagavad Gita and participated in bunch of other activities including games, cultural events and so on. In 2014, 1100 children participated from 33 Balagokulams chanted Gita chapter 15. Subsequently, in 2015, 1400 children across 43 Balagokulams participated in Varshikotsav events with chanting of Gita Chapter 2 (Sthithapragnya part) conducted at 4 different locations.
When we started Balagokulams in Hyderabad, certain fundamentals we decided were –
- We will have decentralized model so that each community drives its own activity.
- All the weekly activities will be free of charge.
- Though completely voluntary, we will try our best to execute it as professionally as possible.
- We will keep our expenses close to zero throughout the year & whatever little expenses are to be made will be taken care by volunteers themselves.
Some of the key events/celebrations conducted by Balagokulams last year include –
- Summer Camps in 14 locations with total participation of 450+ children.
- Grand International Yoga Day celebrations across more than 20 locations in the city. 1000 children and 400 adults participated in the same. The highlight of the day was Flash Yoga performance by 50 Balagokulam children in InOrbit Mall near Hitech City.
- Balagokulam children celebrated Kargil Vijay Diwas paying tributes to the great Kargil heroes through a breath taking performance in InOrbit Mall near Hitech city charging up the atmosphere full of patriotism.
- Hundreds of Balagokulam Children and Shikshaks celebrated RakshaBandhan by tying Rakhis across various flats/houses in the community taking the message of “I protect you, you protect me, together we protect our Nation and our Dharma”. The highlight of the events was the outreach and tying of rakshas to Security Guards, Watchmen, Maids and Association Staff by Balagokulam children and Shikshaks.
- Krishna Janmastami was celebrated with lots of enthusiasm across various Balagokulams in Hyderabad. More than 1800 children and 1200 adults participated in Balagokulam conducted Janmastami events across various communities.
- Clay Ganesha Workshops were conducted in 50+ Gated communities this year. More than 3000 children participated in these workshops.
- For Diwali, some Balagokulam children sent their Diwali wishes to Soldiers under #Sandesh2Soldiers initiative, some BG families invited university students from Northeast for lunch at their home, some distributed sweets, clothes & crackers to the less fortunate children around while many others did Diya painting and went around the community seeking blessings from elders.
This year Balagokulam Varshikotsavs are happening at 9 different locations across the city.
|Cluster||Varshikotsav Date||Event Venue|
|Nallagandla||27-Nov-16||Epistemo Global schoool|
|Bachupally||27-Nov-16||Silver Oaks School|
|Chandanagar||4-Dec-16||Vidya Bharati School, BHEL|
|Hitech city & Srinagar Colony||4-Dec-16||Sree Venkateshwara College of Architechture|
|Dilsukhnagar||11-Dec-16||G Pullareddy School|
|Miyapur||11-Dec-16||Vikas The Concept School|
|Suchitra||18-Dec-16||Pearson School Kompally|
|Kondapur||18-Dec-16||Maharshi Vidya Mandir|
In these Varshikotsavs, 1600+ children and 2200+ parents are estimated to attend events this year.
The focus for this year Varshikotsavs are as below –
- Gita Chanting (Chapter 4, 21 Shlokas)
- Surya Namaskar, Yogasanas&Vyayam Yoga Demonstrations
- Cultural Events (on themes like Rama Leela, Krishna Leela, ChatrapatiShivaji, Golden Chapters of Indian History etc)
To summarize – Balagokulam is all about instilling the pride for our culture and our nation in the young blossoming minds. We just create a platform for various good positive minded people across communities and inspire them to spend 1 and ½ – 2 hours every week for impart all round value education to the children. And today, we feel very proud to say that we have more than 200 volunteers, whom we call Shikshaks, devoting their time & efforts week after week absolutely selflessly, in the service of the nation, imparting value education to 1500+ children attending these classes on weekly basis, without expecting absolutely anything in return. The efforts of Shikshaks are bringing great results due to the tremendous support provided by the parents of children attending Balagokulams.
Finally, the soul of Balagokulam is the amazing, ever energetic & pure hearted children. They are the future of our nation. And we sincerely hope that all the great learning mixed with lots of fun that children are having on the Balagokulam platform, they are going to leverage it to the fullest possible extent. We are sure that at least some of the Balagokulam children are going to grow into becoming such great citizens of Bharat Mata that the whole nation will be proud of them some day.
Few Snaps from Varshikotsav 2016 Event –