RAMAKRISHNA MISSION SHILPAVIDYALAYA
A JOURNEY OF NINE DECADES
Amidst the serene and tranquil surrounding of Belur Math, adjacent to the bank of river Ganga stands one of the oldest Institution of Ramakrishna Mission giving shape to Swami Vivekananda’s ideas and ideals by imparting technical vision education for seven Decades.
Of the many plans, which Swami Vivekananda had for the upliftment and betterment of his countrymen, one was his message of man making education. He visioned that education, by which character is formed, mental strength is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand upon his own feet. Special emphasis was laid by him on technical education, as one of the means for making our youths self-reliant, mainly and resourceful. Swamiji said in his speeches and writings:
“The ideal therefore, is that we must have the education of our country, spiritual and secular in our own hands and it must be on national lines through national methods as far as practicable.”
The first and foremost task in India is the propagation of education and spirituality among the masses. It is impossible for hungry men to become spiritual unless food is provided for them. Hence our permanent duty lies in showing them new ways of food supply. Swami Vivekananda says :
“We need technical education and all else which may develop the industries so that men instead of seeking for service may earn enough to provide for them and save something against rainy day.”
To give shape to these ideas of Swamiji a modest beginning was made by most Revered Srimat Swami Brahmanandji Maharaj, President Ramakrishna Math & Mission and Srimat Swami Shivanandji Maharaj, by opening a technical school in the year 1921. Initially the school was started in a house near the Belur Math but due to some inconvenience there it was shifted to the Math premises. The technical / vocational training imparted in this Institute is a training with a difference. The objective is Swami Vivekananda’s concept of making a full-fledged man –
“Heart to feel, brain to conceive and hand to work.”
Until 1930 the school was under the direct supervision of the Ramakrishna Mission Headquarters but in this year it was brought under the control of a separate managing committee & recognized as a branch centre of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Most Revered Swami Shankaranandaji Maharaj was very much interested about this institute. It is said that if he was unable to hear the sound of machines in this institute he used to ask –“What happened? Why there is no Sound?” Mr. Dasarathi Dutta, Direct Disciple of Swami Shivanandaji Maharaj was the Carpentry teacher of Shilpavidyalaya on that time.
Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan visited this institute and written the visitors book- “ I had great pleasure in going round the Industrial School today and was much impressed by the silent work that is going on. In am unobtrusive and self- supporting. An institution that works on the principle that all work is worship deserves much greater encouragement from the generous public of Calcutta than it has till now received”.
In the meantime after Ramakrishna Mission Saradapitha (one of the branch centre of Ramakrishna Mission near Belur Math) was established on 1941, the management of the industrial School was handed over to Saradapitha for administrative reasons.
In the post independent years, keeping with the socio-economic changes, the Industrial School changed to Shilpamandira where in addition to the existing courses some more important courses were also started.
1963 brought further change in the Shilpamandira. It was sub-divided into three departments-
- Shilpamandira (Polytechnic)
- Shilpayatana (Junior Technical School) and
Thus the original Industrial School, renamed as Shilpavidyalaya as we know it today, came into being with the following trades: Fitter, Turner, Auto-Mechanics, Electrician, Carpentry, Weaving and Tailoring.
Shifting of Premise:
On 9th Oct., 1975 Revered Srimat Swami Vireswaranandaji Maharaj,10th President, Ramakrishna Math and Mission shifted Shilpavidyalaya from Math premises to it’s present building. Since then, this day is observed as the foundation Day of the School.
Formation of I.T.I.
With the Government policy of setting up of I.T.I.’s in every districts, a uniform syllabus, session and certificate for the trades came into being. For the benefit of the students, Shilpavidyalaya also restructured its trades as required under I.T.I. norms and in 1989 was granted affiliation by the National Council for Vocational Training, Govt. of India as I.T.I.
After getting affiliated with NCVT (1989) there were two shifts for classes. First shift was from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and second shift was from 1:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
At that time it was running the following N.C.V.T recognized trades:
- Draughtsman (Civil),
- Draughtsman (Mechanical),
- Letter Press Machine Minder,
- Electronics Mechanic.
During the admission, it is found that huge number of candidates are applying but as per the NCVT rule we cannot accommodate all the students. To facilitate the less privilege students who could not get admission, the Institute started short term Certificate courses for one year as follows:
- Plumbing (in the year 1999)
- Book Binding (in the year 1999)
- Electrical Equipment’s- Repair and Maintenance (in the year 2008)
- Electronics Equipment’s- Repair and Maintenance (in the year 2008)
Apart from vocational training the students of these trades receives physical, intellectual and moral training. They are encouraged to practice self-help and service to humanity. The students also take great interest in extra-curricular activities,
- Inter Trade Football championship for Swami Vireswaranandaji Maharaj memorial Cup and
- Inter Trade Volleyball championship for Swami Vimuktanandaji Memorial Cup,
- Technical exhibition and
- Annual excursions to Jairambati Kamarpukur and Antpur etc. are greatly participated in by the students.
- Vishwakarma and Saraswati puja are also celebrated with great enthusiasm by the students in the presence of many Revered Maharaj, Brahmacharies & other Guests.
- Every year the final year students are taken for educational visits to industrial organization to supplement their training and gain practical knowledge.
Blessing of Great Soul
All these activities of the Institute carried on for seven decades would not have been possible without the selfless service and guidance by the Sadhu Maharajas. Right from its inception till date, Shilpavidyalaya is fortunate to get the valuable guidance and active support from respected monks namely-Swami Bhaveswaranandji,Sw. Jajneshanandaji , Sw. Suddhanandaji, Sw. Saswatanandaji, Swami Gangeshanandaji, Sw. Bhavanandaji, Sw. Abhayanandaji, Sw. Jitatmanandaji, Sw. Kailashanandaji. Swami Gambhiranandaji, Swami Vimuktanandaji, Swami Suddhasattwanandaji, Swami Vitashokanandaji, Swami Swanandaji, Swami Smarananandaji, Swami Gautamanandaji, Swami Shivamayanandaji, Swami Ramanandaji, Swami Girishanandaji and presently getting the valuable guidance of Swami Divyanandaji Maharaj.
We at Shilpavidyalaya are greatful to them and try to follow the path shown by them. Swami Veetaraganandaji Maharaj, Swami Paripurnanandaji Maharaj, Sw. Srinivasanandaji Maharaj, Swami Narendranandaji Maharaj offered their services as lncharges of the Institute and the Institute gratefully remembers them for their guidance and involvements. The present incumbent is Swami Yogadhishananda Maharaj who is very ably guiding the Shilpavidyalaya through active involvement and inspiring students and staff.
- Initially the school was started with only a Spinning section.
- Subsequently Carpentry and Tailoring sections were introduced in 1924 and
- In 1925 a Dyeing and Calico Printing unit was also started. All these courses drew good response from the students benefited from the course and excelled in their respective fields in their later life.
- With the other trades or sections the students were trained for making photo frame, manufacturing incense sticks.
- Further in 1932, an agricultural section was started to give the students a facility to be trained and equipped for career in rural areas.
- In 1937 a dairy was started and it provided practical training to the boys in rearing cattles.
- Till 1975 Fitter, Turner, Auto-Mechanics, Electrician, Carpentry, Weaving and Tailoring were running.
- A printing section was started from 1979.
- A production department was also there in this institute after 1989 also. Different types of carpentry job or wooden structures was used to manufacture here. All the furniture of Shilpavidyalaya was made by the students of this institute only. In the printing section also students were used to print the magazines of our institutes and other documents were also printed as per requirement.
In keeping tune with the Utility and requirement of society in general and students in particular some of the trades ware discounted and new trades started in their place.
At present the Institute is running the following courses with the full functionality:
- Draughtsman Civil
- Draughtsman Mechanical
- Electronics Mechanic
In this way, in the line with Swami Vivekananda’s plan of action for the regeneration of India, the first Industrial School of the Ramakrishna Mission, one of the oldest in the country, was started in the year 1921, which was later incorporated into the Ramakrishna Mission Saradapitha, in the name of the Shilpavidyalaya. The technical / vocational training imparted in this Institute is a training with a difference. The objective is Swami Vivekananda’s concept of making a full-fledged man – “Heart to feel, brain to conceive and hand to work.”
Standup, assert yourself , proclaim the God within you .