Pankhudi Newsletter - Foundation Day Special
President Speaks
Dear Parivaar,

Happy Pankhudi Birthday!

It’s very overwhelming for me to see the meaningful progress Pankhudi has done over 4 years. When I look back (way back in April 2005) and remember my informal discussions with my friends during last semester in IIT to work on diverse social issues, I find that Pankhudi has traversed ahead a significant distance since then.

What was dreamt to solely venture into adoption-promotion of orphan children of our society; Pankhudi has, over these four years, done some good work in several other areas and brought smiles on the faces of many children.

I am thankful to the every individual who has ever contributed slightest of their time to Pankhudi’s cause and to Pankhudi.

Pankhudi’s environment has been developed such that it promotes and motivates individuals to take leadership positions. Many Pankhudians are even doing some very good work outside Pankhudi’s domain in the field of social work & entrepreneurship. In a recently concluded Leadership- Development series within Pankhudi, It has identified future leaders of Pankhudi following some rigorous steps. It, thus, can be proudly stated that Pankhudi is creating leaders for our society. I hope that these leaders will create more leaders and do many good things for society.

Moreover, the fellowship and bonding that develops among the young volunteer-force of Pankhudi is very pleasant to observe.

Significant progress has been achieved by all Pankhudi Cells in the directions of consolidating field work and functional parameters. A highly able administration and planning at various levels have ensured a multi-dimensional growth of the entire system. Adequate amount of attention has risen in Pankhudi on awareness of relevant laws and modalities.

Insight from captured-data in Pankhudi and finding the important information from it has gained some importance. Pankhudi’s children content is being organized and Pankhudi is working rapidly on the ethos of co-create and co-share.

A Pankhudi birthday gift for the children is on the way- A very sweet personification of Pankhudi is being planned in form of “Pankhudi Pari” (Pankhudi Fairy). She is going to tell good moral stories to then children and teach them nice things while also entertaining them.
There is much more to read in this birthday-special newsletter which has been nicely collated and organized (courtesy: hard workers of News Desk/Design cell). I thank all the guests who have graciously agreed to send their views on the request of Pankhudi’s News Desk.

Going forward, hope to see more needy children catered and uplifted through collective care and concern of responsible members of society.

Mr. Shahzad Wakeel
Founder, President
Pankhudi Foundation
Strategy Cell: Mr. Krunal Desai
Heartiest greetings to Parivaar on Pankhudi’s 4th Birthday! :)

We started with the keen desire to do something good for the less privileged branch of the society. We all devoted our sincere efforts to make their lives better in some way, by teaching poor kids, by making them learn computers, by playing with them or by spending quality time with them. With the time and experience we have understood the needs of the society and our responsibilities towards the same in little depth. And better we understand better our efforts should become.

In last four years our goal, aim and efforts have matured from doing something good for our feel good factor to making significant impact in the lives of the less privileged ones in the most effective manner.
Our efforts started with visiting orphanages during our free time and spending quality time with children, and the efforts have matured with our understanding of the real life problems. Every year we refine our goals and raise our expectation bar so that we can serve society in much better ways. Last year we enrolled many new kids, including the dropout, we recruited teachers to make the activity self sustainable in long run, we established computer labs at SRMAB, we conducted nationwide collection drive for flood victims, conducted useful workshops for kids, we organized health camps and distributed medicines, we conducted awareness drives, and we are just 4 years old. We have decades to go, to serve many more needy people.

Now, we have learned little but enough to streamline our projects, to focus our activities and to define and achieve goals.

While we enter the 5th year of service to society, we determine that all our activities and efforts will be strategized to generate optimal output for all our attempts.

We shall make our efforts more meaningful, constructive and most importantly more sustainable.

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”
- Fitzhugh Dodson

In this line of thinking, at Pankhudi, We will be adopting following working model / practices:
  • Each Chapter Team (Team) will conduct brainstorming sessions to define long term goal(s) for their existing projects.
  • The long term goal(s) will be achieved by realising short term goals. And the Team will have short term goal(s)/target(s) for each quarter.
  • Activities for a particular project shall be planned by keeping the goal(s) / target(s) in mind.
  • Syllabus, Learning/Teaching Material/Aids, Trainings/Workshops for volunteers shall be planned / prepared / arranged with the help of content cell / other organizations.
  • Team shall conduct a review meeting at the end of each quarter to track the progress of the chapter.
  • Guidelines for starting a new projects / chapter, progress tracking, student tracking, volunteers, etc. will be discussed and shared with the entire Parivaar.

At last, on behalf of strategy cell I wish all the Pankhudians a very committed and gratifying year ahead.
Content Head:  Ms. Namita Dalmia
Wishing all Pankhudians and children a happy and eventful Pankhudi Birthday!

Content Cell came into existence during 1st  ‘All Cell Meet’ of ~Pankhudi in IIT Mumbai (May 2006). The idea emerged out when ~Pankhudi Chapters realised that they all needed a common teaching resource for the children. On one hand, Chapter were mere duplicating efforts in creating the content, while on other hand, lack of resources within individual Chapters was not resulting into the desired outcome.

With an urgent need to create a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise across Chapters, we created the Content Cell aimed at knowledge build-up. The initial focus of the Content Cell has been to develop the education related content for the children.

The Content Cell was created with members from each Chapter (Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Bangalore). We laid down the basic framework for our operations which included setting our objectives and taking the ownership of the task at hand. One of the decisions that we took was to release our first Content Package concurring with beginning of a new session in school. Another important point was to focus on developing modules on English, Interpersonal Skills and Computer-aided learning for differently-abled kids. With English, we wished to change the pedagogy and making it more activity based rather than the current rote learning based.  Life skills are an essential part of education, which gets ignored under the heavy curriculum in schools and hence we also decided to take it up. 

With dedicated team members who were always connected with each other, the Content Cell released its first package in the month of July’08. Since, then Content Cell has been focused on developing an online content sharing platform which could be leveraged by both ~Pankhudians as well as people outside Pankhudi. This effort has been Gyan Kosh (read more about Gyan Kosh in subsequent article in this newsletter).

So far, it has been intellectually intriguing journey for all the members of the Cell; however all of us realise that there are miles to go before we sleep!
Finance Head: Ms. Aditi Kulkarni
At onset, I wish each and every one of you a very happy “Pankhudi Day” and wish you yet another fulfilling year ahead!

I am going to tell you all a story. This is a story of a seed. This seed was living in the minds of many like-minded people more or less 5 years back!  It started incubating in the mind one college lad, who realised that something needs to be done. And then the time came, when the seed felt that there is enough warmth outside, there is enough moisture in the soil and it decided to grow. It was a day when it actually took a shape of a community on a social networking site. This was no ordinary seed; it had a spark of its own thoughts and DNA to evoke spirits in the youths! The seed started growing and getting into a shape - sapling, a bush and after four years it’s on its way to become large tree under which many smiling faces are enjoying. They are enjoying being cared for, they are enjoying the gift of education and knowledge, and they are enjoying the feeling when you give something who are in need!

This seed was later named as “Pankhudi Foundation” and attained its fame being driven by values and serving nation! And all those smiling and faces include of people like you and me along with hundreds of kids and their parents! :)

Although today we are celebrating 4th birthday of our dear Pankhudi and reinforcing our commitment towards the not so-privileged ones; the finance cell, which I am representing came rather later in the picture.  As an organisation we always believed that the individuals and materialistic things such as funds or money complement each other and hence so far the fund related activities in Pankhudi have remained quite conservative in its approach.

Last financial year was marked by few creative yet innovative initiatives by the Finance cell which include “Click for the cause” (In association with, “Run for the Cause- Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon” (in association with ICICI Bank). Pankhudi Foundation was tied-up with these organisations to garner support for the Pankhudi’s cause of educating underprivileged children and generating awareness in general.  We received an overwhelming response from our well-wishers as well as from the foodiebay team and Business Intelligence Unit (BIU) of ICICI Bank.  Finance cell sincerely acknowledge their support the Cause. If one goes by definition, the field of finance refers to the concepts of time, money and risks and how they are interrelated; then handling and managing NGO finance becomes even more critical and responsible activity. Finance cell, therefore is already in the process of making various methodologies and protocols and their successful implementation and establishment.  In the present fiscal year, finance is planning for “Project based” fund raising campaigns.
With an assurance of legitimate, effective and transparent fund management, I conclude here by once again wishing you a very happy “Pankhudi Day”
PR & Resource Head: Mr. Surya Adavi
A very happy ~Pankhudi birthday to all children and all ~Pankhudians!

If Strategy Cell of ~Pankhudi is its brain, Content Cell its heart and Finance Cell its alimentary, then Public Relations & Resource Cell is the bloodline and face of ~Pankhudi.  Just like people know each other with their faces, inspired individuals who work for better tomorrow by associating with ~Pankhudi, interact with ~Pankhudi PR & Resource Cell.

Just like what we do is important, it is also important that how we involve society in what we do. It is also important to make society aware of why we do, what we do and include society in the activities. 
While we improved our field activities on one side, we also improved our interaction with the society and our internal processes. We improved the ‘joining process’ to make sure that every single person approaching ~Pankhudi with the keen desire to do something good for society gets the right response (in time) and the platform to fulfill his/her desire thus ensuring that his/her energy and motivation is well utilized for the cause.

We streamlined our PR processes to make sure that we express our gratitude to each and every stakeholder who helped us and/or the society in one or the other way. It is our duty to appreciate and thank all the deserving stakeholders, be it our own volunteers, other NGOs, our supporters, or any human being who helped us even in a very small way.  All contributors of ~Pankhudi Foundation were gratefully recognized with the ‘Letter-Of-Appreciation’.  All volunteers of ~Pankhudi were adequately supported in the acknowledgement of their service to the children and internal efforts in ~Pankhudi. We are proud to say that ~Pankhudi volunteers have selected in prestigious institutions like Cambridge, LSE, NUS, TISS to name a few. 

We made successful attempts on external visibility front as we tied up with Foodibay and we conducted some effective e-volunteer drives.

We did extraordinarily well by channelizing the efforts of volunteers with intense desire to work for the social cause but facing the distance and availability issues, in various PR activities like web-work, design-work, newsletter, etc. Such involvement not only helped volunteers to have a gratifying feelings but also helped them in keeping themselves attached with social issues and related activities.  

We acknowledge the continuous efforts of all PR Reps (chapter and central) in making all PR & resource initiatives a big success. 

In the year, we plan to consolidate and improve existing processes and institutionalize best practices within ~Pankhudi Foundation.
Pankhudi Chapter Representatives for 2009-2010
We are proud to announce the new chapter leaders in all active cities of Pankhudi.

Sr. No.

Pankhudi Chapter

Chapter Representative

Finance Representative

Children Content Representative

PR & Resource Representative




Mr. Vaibhav Choudhary

Mr. Deeptangan Pant

Mr. Pravesh Katyal

Ms. Lipika Sonowal



Ms. Vidha Jain

Ms. Samanta Bahl

Ms. Reema Govil

Mr. Vaibhav Khandelwal



Ms. Smriti Dey

Ms. Samiksha Joshi

Mr. Aditya Karandikar

Mr. Abhishek Jha



Ms. Priti Dargad

Mr. Murthy Penugonda

Ms. Amruta Bhave

Ms Jyoti Sarda

Pankhudi Projects Reports
A glimpse into Pankhudi Foundation’s projects and campaigns being run in different parts of the country:

~Protsahan a Hindi word that means Encouragement
“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.”

Protsahan focuses on:
  • Imparting primary education to the under privileged children, using innovative methods
  • Helping the kids in their studies and developing them in all dimensions.
  • Creating education awareness among parents of such children
Currently Protsahan classes are running in four Chapters – Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.




Frequency of classes







Std 5-7


9.00am – 10.30 am






6 yrs – 12 yrs

Mon –Sat (Paid Teacher)

Sun (Volunteers)

3 pm – 5 pm


10am – 12 noon











6 yrs – 14 yrs




6.30pm -8.30pm

4 pm– 8.30pm

4 pm– 8.30pm







Std 5-8


4.30pm – 6.30 pm

2.00 pm – 4.00pm





School Dropouts


6.00 pm – 8.00 pm




~DivyaDrishti a Hindi word that means Divine-Sight
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart".
– Hellen Kellar

Divya Drishti, program teaches over 50 students basic of computers and English of  Sri Ramana Maharishi Academy of Blind (SRMAB), J.P.Nagar, Bangalore.

The computer classes focus at imparting basic computer training to visually impaired kids at SRMAB.  Bangalore team has got 25 computers from CGI to teach computers for SRMAB kids. Team also started English classes for 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th class standard kids. Primary focus is on improving their communication skills.




Frequency of classes





Std. 6-9


10am – 4.10 pm




Std. 5-9


5.00 pm – 6.00 pm


~Aashayein a Hindi word that means Hope
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. …..Always keep the Hope!

Under Aashayein, Rays of Hope, Pankhudi team works for the HIV affected children of the society. The main focus areas are:
  • HIV/AIDS Awareness
  • Social Acceptance of the affected kids
  • Providing moral support by building bonds with them
Two series of HIV/AIDS Awareness campaigns were conducted by Pankhudi Pune in collaboration with NGOs working for the HIV affected kids.

Pune team visits kids at these NGOs on weekends to help them in their studies, extracurricular activities thus bringing some quality time for these children.

~Sanjeevani a Hindi word that means Panacea
He, who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.

Only a healthy body can nurture healthy thoughts. On the direction of this belief Pankhudi Foundation has conducted health check up camps for the needy kids. Hyderabad and Pune teams have conducted such health check up camps for the kids in the relatively unhygienic localities. This programme of Pankhudi is being formalized and it is planned to conduct Sanjeevani camps for more frequently.

~Sahayog a Hindi word that means Cooperation
The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
-Bertrand Russell

Sahayog, supporting each other, aims at providing support to the NGOs, institutes, persons working for the social good.
Pankhudi Pune is associated with Nachiket Balgram, home for several needy kids, situated in Akurdi. The team helps NB kids in their regular studies and extra curricular activities. In addition, Hyderabad team is involved in helping children in Orphanages whereas Pankhudi Bangalore is
Pankhudi Foundation-Campaigns (Abhiyaan):

~Sahayata a Hindi word that means Help

A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better
-Jim Rohn

Collection drives to help NGOs, government schools, refugee camps and needy people.
A nation-wide collection drive was conducted during 27th September 2008(Saturday) - 4th October 2008(Saturday) for Bihar Flood victims who were in need of help and support from everyone in the country. Pankhudi successfully collected large number of cloths and home utensils and handed over to Goonj ( for distribution.
Pankhudi Bangalore conducts regular drives to help Srilankan refugee camps and other organizations.

Netrutva-Vikas (a Hindi word that means Leadership development):
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership-Harvey S. Firestone

Pankhudi was conceptualized on the belief of collaborative work to achieve difficult tasks and overcome toughest of challenges while enjoying every bit of being together. Pankhudi Leaders gives immense importance on team work and promote and adequately supports leadership potential of all Pankhudi volunteers. Pankhudi encourages new individuals to come forward and take more responsibilities for in- house projects and take initiatives on other social causes.  Going forward, Pankhudi  plans do such leadership development for individuals of society.

~Aanchal a Hindi word that means Mothers’ haven

Adoption is not about finding children for families, it's about finding families for children-Joyce Maguire

We strongly feel that the presence of a family in any child's life does not have any other replacement and that the most basic behavioural and psychological growth of a child can take place only in a family setup. Therefore, ~Pankhudi Foundation aims to create awareness in the society over issues of adoptions of orphan/uncared-for children. We are in the process of finding out ways/procedures to achieve this. Currently we are making database of Orphanages/Children homes across India and getting-their-statistics.
Pankhudi Pari Mascot
We are introducing to you someone who’s very close to all of the Pankhudians! You will then ask, where was she so far? Well….she was there in our minds in our actions ever since Pankhudi came into existence!!  So, let’s welcome her! Presenting you the very own of ours “Pankhudi Pari”!

As the name so is her fame!!

She is a Fairy… she knows magic…magic for smiles!! J She wears gown as red as pomegranate and had wings which are as bright as Sun rays!  Her heart is filled with love for everyone and children are her best friends. She gets sad if any kid is sad and she does all possible things to make everyone happy.

And yes…. because she is a Pari She’s been hiding so far yet blessing every children!!! 

She is knowledgeable, she tell stories of wisdom, she teaches children, she tells nice poems/rhymes, teaches songs and she dances too!!

She has come from the land where every child is healthy & given education and so, she wants that to spread it here too! She belongs to all… She knows the key of every lock and she helps kids!!

Pankhudi Foundation is very happy to have finalized on her appearance working on it for last 3 years. Pankhudi intends to make variety of use of ‘Pankhudi Pari’ mascot – in all children content, Teaching methods, stories, animation films & videos ..the list has no end.

Loads of appreciation to all members of Design Cell, Pankhudi Foundation: Ms. Rashmi Borole, Mr Madhukar, Mr. Amrit Vatsa, Mr. Yatin Sethi, Ms. Kavita, Mr. Preetam Emani,

Special Thanks to Mr. Shahzad Wakeel, Ms. Aditi Kulkarni and Mr. Surya Adavi for continuously improving it over the years.
Gyan Kosh – Knowledge Storehouse
“Gyan Kosh”, which means storehouse of knowledge, is a platform for co-creating, collating and co-sharing of all the knowledge related to education with a focus on the teaching and learning content. We at ~Pankhudi Foundation recognise that while a large number of institutions are engaged in developing the education related content across and outside the country, there does not exist one single platform where one can find this vast amount of knowledge.

With this in mind, ~Pankhudi envisages fostering ties with a number of organisations that are already involved in creating the education related content material.  In this way, it aims to bring together people for the development of Gyan Kosh for co-sharing of the material as well as the practices.

The knowledge bank on the Gyan Kosh will consist of the both “what to teach/learn” and “how to teach/learn”. There will be an equal focus on the methods of evaluation of learning outcomes, as the right evaluation leads to the right progress. All this will prove valuable if the users (i.e. teachers and students) not only make use of the available knowledge on Gyan Kosh, but also provide their feedback to make continuous improvement. In this way, Gyan Kosh will continuously evolve. An important feature of Gyankosh is the Teachers forum, where teachers can interact with each other to discuss their problems and share their best practises on a regular basis.

Gyan Kosh has been developed on Drupal, an open source Content Management System. With its focus on education of children, ~Pankhudi is looking at first developing the repository of knowledge related to School Education that will include content on life skills.

In a nutshell, it is a collaborative effort towards opening the world of knowledge to the whole world. For becoming a part of this effort, please write to
Pankhudi Social Sector Intelligence (SSI)
Pankhudi Foundation’s Social Sector Intelligence (SSI) is an initiative to address the interpretation of information and data which exist in social sector entities (within organizations, social networks, geographies) in the form of various projects and their outcomes, human/time/other-resource utilization.  The presentment and righteous interpretation of information, inherent within such systems, could lead to optimal decision-making and enhance the effectiveness of projects/tasks while improving the overall performance and insight.

For any analysis to be done, appropriately clean data sources should be in place with all possible degree of segmentations. Since, Time dimension has a crucial importance for almost analysis and decisioning; all data should be captured along with the time-stamps (time of data capture).

In a nutshell, prerequisites for SSI analytics within organizations are:
  1. Adequate sources of reliable data capturing and security/authorization of data
  2. Mechanism of Storage and Integration of data from various data sources
As a small demonstration of analysis and data-representations that could be carried out within social-sector organizations, Pankhudi’s PR & Resource Office, brings to you certain examples of commonly possible interpretations of data*(see reference):

New volunteer Joining Trend (in 2009):

New volunteers joining trend in 2009 has been quite interesting. Significant rise has been observed in abroad volunteers while metro cities continue almost equally to total new volunteers in Pankhudi Foundation.

Channels of Approach (new volunteers):

Word of mouth (Peer and friends) remains the most contributing means of awareness about Pankhudi. Web media contributes to almost 30% of new volunteers and has a significant potential to be explored.

Demographics Distributions:

1. Age:

Highest population (~70%) of Pankhudi’s volunteers come from the age group of 23-27 followed by 27-31 (19%). Appreciable rise in higher age group.

2. Occupation:

Higher population of Pankhudi’s volunteers are employed in different professions (see below).
~12% of volunteers are students (>18 years of age)

2.1 Occupation Splits:

This plots shows the occupation trend of self-volunteers. Majority of the volunteers are coming from IT sector background.. Students and people with analytics professions are next highest in volunteering.

Volunteering Hours Trend:

1. Hours Contribution (Month)

The plot in the left depicts the average hour-contribution of self-volunteers on a month’s timeline. Around 82% of self-volunteers contributes 1-4 hours in a month. Whereas 5-8 hours contributors are 10% of toatal and rest contributes to last 10%. 2-3% of volunteers spend more than 20+ volunteering hours in a month.

1.1 Hours contribution Vs. Months-Since-Joining (MSJ):

This interesting plot above shows the volunteering-hours trend of all volunteers who have matured to a certain MSJ (Months since joined). For example, MSJ=1 means all volunteers who have completed one month in volunteering into Pankhudi Projects. It shows that total number hours contributed in volunteering are highest for first 4 months and which gradually drops to least at MSJ=19. From here it starts picking up again. For a fixed control group of volunteers at any MSJ, the total number of hours available can roughly be predicted by:

y = 0.002x3 - 0.069x2 - 1.758x + 55.57      {x: MSJ }

*On aggregate, Pankhudi volunteers with MSJ <10 contributes ~500 hours a month whereas MSJ>=10 puts in 340 hours in a month.  
*Data Reference: This interpretations presented here and the data used are internal to Pankhudi Foundation©
*Disclaimer: The representations and trends shown are for Pankhudi Foundation, this may or may not be hold consistent for other entities/organizations.

Guest Speaks: Prof. Richa Agrawal
Assistant Professor
Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) Ahmedabad
To all those who have invited me to write for ~Pankhudi, let me first extend my Heartiest Congratulations on the completion of four significant years since conception.

~Pankhudi that was more like an incomplete thought, an unspoken wish, an un-ventured journey, more of a desire and dream has slowly passed into reality. Started as an individual dream ~Pankhudi has drawn strength from the dreams of fellow dreamers and continued to grow as more and more dreamers joined in. It is this gang of dreamers that I wish to congratulate as ~Pankhudi becomes a reality.

While the completion of four eventful years’ marks the completion of many a dreams, the beginning of the fifth year will see these dreamers pipe up new dreams and explore the impossible. With dreamers being the way they are I am sure they have dreamt of much bigger things for ~Pankhudi and that as always these dreams area as always - full of energy, positivism, and creative vitality, raring to change the world around them. This I believe is the strength of ~Pankhudi. This ability to conjure dreams, this ability to believe that dreams can and will become reality is what initiates and subsequently drives action. A world without dreams would be a world without emotions, without passion and excitement; a world with no glitter, no jazz, and no rainbow; a dull and boring world that is caught in eternal gloom. The ability to dream to my mind is therefore of significant importance especially in an organization that is a harbinger of change.  With Pankhudi poised to make changes in the lives of underprivileged children it becomes imperative therefore that they dream, dream collectively and individually, dream freely, with complete abandon, with no restrain, BUT with the conviction that each dream CAN and WILL become reality. 

Nothing is ever more gratifying than to realize one’s dreams or to see it take shape as it becomes a reality. Thus, my only request to the torch bearers of ~Pankhudi as I wish them Good Luck for the future is to nurture their ability to dream, dream fresh and dream BIG for without the leap of imagination, and dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.

Happy Dreaming!! Happy Realization!!

Sincere wishes that each of your dreams become a Reality,
Guest Speaks: Ms. Iqbal Fatima
High Court Patna
(Lions Club, Patliputra)
Pankhudi Foundation has completed 4th year of service to the humanity in different geographies in India. I am sure it’s a very proud moment for all volunteers of this organization and I congratulate all of them for their untiring efforts to uplift the underprivileged children of our society through the means of Education and health.

Since Pankhudi is still in its formation stages, it requires an in-house capability buildup on legal knowledge for issues relevant to its target areas and of functional relevance as per the regulations of our country: Must-know areas for Pankhudi are: child laws, financial regulations, Income tax regulations (audits, 80G, FCRA certifications), trust & society regulations, employment laws (labour laws) to count a few.

Pankhudi foundation is doing immense service to the society through various sustained projects/activities that it has undertaken over these years.  Since Education is Pankhudi’s primary work area currently, I would like to tell you all some insightful regulation on compulsory education law (courtesy: The Administrator, Vol: XLI, July-September 1996, pp.17-29)

Compulsory Education Law

The issue of compulsory education has always been talked about. At the theoretical level, very few find fault with the concept that all children should receive education, at least up to the primary stage or with the fact that children should not work. In fact, the State has committed itself not only to universalization of primary education but also to the abolition of child labour through various pronouncements, no least of all the directive principles of State Policy, enshrined in the Constitution of India. This has been further strengthened by the fact that the Convention on the Rights of the Child based on the UN General Assembly resolution provides for a variety of rights to the child including the right to compulsory and free primary education. Ins spite of all this, the general attitude of the policy planners has been that the country cannot afford the distraction of a compulsory education norm. A number of reasons are given for this, but two major objections are worth noting. The first questions the role of the State in deterring the manner in which the children are to be educated. The second stresses the non-implementability or such legislation which would remain only on paper.

As far as the first objection is concerned, in a society where the State has always been playing a very large role in shaping the social behavior o the citizens through legislative means, it would be difficult to question the desirability of the state's intervention through legislation in this matter alone. When we talk about the Indian society today, we talk of a society which has seen legislation on issues ranging from a minimum age of marriage to protection of civil rights and abolition of untouchability. For the State to legislate on an issue concerning a child's right to development, therefore, would not be something out of the ordinary.

The second objection, however, merits a more detailed examination. It has been observed that in this country a large number of laws governing social issues have been passed which have never really been implemented. Although the legislation set out to achieve laudable social goals, the State has not been able to put them into effect. Any number of examples ranging from the SITA to BLSA are cited to illustrate this. A legislation to provide compulsory education, therefore, is most likely to meet  a similar fate. Further, it is argued, as previous experience with legislation governing compulsory education has shown, there is a greater likelihood of the act turning into an instrument of harassment of parents.

These arguments view the issue from one perspective only, viz. that of the State apparatus. A State apparatus whose understanding of the problem is flawed by its own limitations and to whom compulsory legislation not only implies a large enforcement machinery helplessly pursuing reluctant parents to ensure attendance in schools but also creation of, at heavy cost, infrastructural facilities which at today's levels of demands cannot be utilized. The facto of the matter, however is that, notwithstanding the claims of the government that more than 97% of the children have been provided access to schools, the established infrastructure cannot cater to the full requirement of even the demand that exists. This is because development of infrastructure has been a function of budgetary allocation rather than of demand. Once the logic of the harsh reality of child labour is accepted, low allocation to the primary education sector especially in the rural areas can always be rationalized as being a response to the low projected demand for schools.  Similarly, it is only when once accepts the absence of demand for education, legislation are an instrument for forcing unwilling parents to send their children to school. Thus, any assessment which assumes the reality of child labour, harsh or otherwise is bound to lead not only to low per capita investment in the sector but also to the view that compulsory education laws are unimplementable.

Legislation of this nature has for long played the role of compelling the State to take action. The Bonded Labour System Abolition Act, 1976 (BLSA), for instance, has proved to be an extremely powerful weapon for institutions such as non-government organization to deal with the problem of child bonded labour, in situation where the State has not been prepared to take action. Thus, even though existence of a legislation does not automatically imply that is objectives would be achieved, it creates an enabling provision whereby the State can be compelled to take action. At the very least such legislation are assertions of the desire of the state to promote an ideal and a progressive value system. More important, these legislation provide others working in the field with a legitimacy which otherwise would not exist. The importance of this aspect would be fully appreciated when on considers the number of occasions the state has been compelled to act through the use of the BLSA to release bonded children. Thus, while administrators and academicians may lament on their non-implementability the fact remains that legislations of this nature have the power to compel the State to act. A legislation to provide for compulsory education, therefore, would be of immense significance in situations where the State does respond to the requirements of the people. It has already been seen that the government response to the problem of illiteracy and child labor has been quite equivocal. On the other hand, experience in the field has shown that there exists an enormous unrecognized demand for formal education and that parents are willing to make sacrifices to utilize educational opportunities. As long as the existing infrastructure can meet the demand, there is no crisis but the fact is that more often than not the infrastructure is inadequate. Under the present circumstance, there is a absolutely no way by which the State can be compelled to provide these facilities. A situation thus exists where the same parents and children who have been written off as victims of the 'harsh reality' of socio-economic circumstances, are demanding educational facilities and the Sate is either unable or unwilling to respond. A legislation binding the State to provide compulsory education therefore is absolutely essential.

With these words, I wish all of you a pleasant and satisfying association with Pankhudi and all success in your goals as you enter 5th year of your service to society.
Guest Speaks: Prof. Sai Thakur

Assistant Professor
Center for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy
Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS)
Why does the Indian state waver from making education a fundamental right?

The dismal state of affairs in the field of education in India has forced many concerned citizens to contribute towards resolving this crisis. Of late, a number of initiatives have proliferated in the field of education. ~Pankhudi is one such initiative that is determined to work with the underprivileged children. I extend my hearty congratulations on its successful completion of 4 year and wish them all the very best for their future endeavours to serve the cause.

The importance of working at the grassroots level, with the young minds, can never be overemphasized.

Yet, it is necessary to take a break, move one step out of the grove and take a look at the larger picture. We cannot afford to miss the woods for the trees. There are a number of issues at hand. It would not be possible to address all of them for lack of space. There is one urgent concern though to which I would like to draw the attention of the readers.

For more than fifty years after independence, education was not a fundamental right in India. The constitution was amended in 2002 to include right to education among the fundamental rights. The corresponding Bill (Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill) took seven more years to even appear on the table for a discussion. Sustained opposition to the Bill by the Planning Commission and other players in the pretext of financial constraints smacks of the elitist bias in bringing in the inexplicable delay. There were reports that the private schools’ lobby had pushed the bill to the backburner.  The bill had a provision of reserving fifty percent seats in all schools for the children from poor and marginalized families. This did not go well with the private schools. However, The Bill was finally introduced in the Rajya Sabha of Parliament in Nov’08 and yet to be introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The bill is important also for other provisions. It makes free and compulsory education for all children between age of 6 and 14, a responsibility of the state. There is a provision for school in every neighbourhood and makes a monitoring committee from the community mandatory. It also addresses the issue of child labour. It states- ‘no person shall employ or engage a child in a manner that renders her a working child.’

In India the key notion in child labour policy has been that of amelioration and not abolition. The key notion in education was based on providing incentives and not compulsion. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986, the first act concerning child labour of Independent India, did not prohibit child labour. It only regulated the involvement of children in labour. Significantly, this Act of 1986 hardly differed from the colonial law of 1938 concerning the child labour.i

Many scholars have argued that a ban on child labour is essential for the realization of the goal of universal primary education.  However, the Indian elite have favoured neither a complete ban on child labour nor a compulsory and free primary education.  Education, they feel, does not train the children of poor to work.  It is also argued that children’s work is essential for the survival of the poor. However, Myron Weiner, a renowned scholar in the field of education policy, argues that these explanations do not hold against the historical and comparative evidence. Governments of all developed and many developing countries removed children from the labour force and required that they attend school. In many of these countries education became compulsory much before industrial revolution and when incidence of poverty was still very high.

To put in his words ‘the Indian position rests on deeply held beliefs that there is a division between people who work with their minds and rule, and people who work with their hands and are ruled.’ The present policy of/on education reinforces rather than break down this division.ii He also mentions that these views are not readily discernible in the official statements of the government. But a close scrutiny of the official documents and interactions with concerned authorities makes these views visible.  The lack of political will to make primary education free and compulsory can be explained in the context of this social reality which is unique to India.
i Burra, Neeta. 2006. Born to work: child labour in India. In Born unfree: child labour, education and the state in India. OUP.
ii Weiner, Myron. 1991. The child and the state in India: child labour and education policy in comparative perspective. Delhi: OUP. pp. 5-6.
Guest Speaks: Mr. Kanti Jain
President, Lions Club,
Chembur (West)
We at Lions Club have known ~Pankhudi as an NGO since last 2-3 years.  The goal of ~Pankhudi is a very noble one.  They are helping slum children to make them better citizens of tomorrow.

Lions Club have been conducting classes for slum children in Balwadi Center near Suman Nagar. Besides, we also have been treating patients at Medical Centre near Suman Nagar, Mumbai.

Three years back ~Pankhudi approached us to use our premises as they wanted to spread awareness amongst slum children and we allowed them to use our premises.

Through our interactions in last three years, I have personally known Shahzad, Aditi and Smriti. They are doing a very good work for upliftment of slum children. 

On behalf of Lions Club of Chembur (West), I wish the entire ~Pankhudi family good luck in their noble cause and wish them on successfully completing 4 years if their service to humanity.