Published: 02nd June 2020
How Subhash Ghai's Vidyadaan is grooming youngsters to be better human beings through the Guru-Shishya Parampara
We spoke to Indian film director Subhash Ghai about his educational initiative Vidyadaan, how it offers more to students than just academic education and more about the entertainment industry
Vidyadaan, an education initiative by renowned Indian film director Subhash Ghai will be conducting a webinar on June 3, where he will speak about changing crises into new opportunities. "We know that India is the fastest-growing county in the globe, yet, during this COVID situation, a lot of crisis has happened. Through this webinar, we aim to share knowledge and wisdom and shed some light on how new opportunities are coming and how we must grab them," says the Indian film director.
Vidyadaan (knowledge sharing) follows the age-old Gurukul system of imparting knowledge where academies, institutions, schools, colleges and universities can register as a Gurukul. They can add their students as Shishyas and the institute can offer a section or the entire institution as Vidyadaan centre for a minimum of two hours a week. Gurus may visit and conduct the sessions or Shishyas may attend the webinar sessions, workshops by experts. The sessions at a Gurukul can be of academic knowledge, health improvement skills, behavioural classes, sessions for mental or physical health and more. They also follow the Guru-Shishya Parampara — the teacher-disciple tradition in Indian religion and culture. From Sanskrit, shisya means 'student of a guru'.
We spoke to the director to know more about the webinar, what Vidyadaan offers and take a look back at his life in the media and entertainment industry. Excerpts:
Vidyadaan has been promoting the Guru-Shishya beyond formal education for a long time. What was the original idea?
Vidyadaan is a social movement which was initiated by the Media and Entertainment Skills Council under my guidance to recreate the Guru Shishya culture in the Indian society and increase compassion. We all have a responsibility to uplift and nurture society with whatever we have to contribute. The idea is not just academic education but sharing life-changing experiences, consultation, stress-relieving sessions, sessions on mental or physical health, sessions on grooming and personality development for anyone in need at no cost. It’s time to give back to the community and groom the younger generation to be better human beings. With the help of the Vidyadaan platform, students get to learn from the experiences of experts and industry leaders. As we all know, knowledge is the only thing that increases by sharing and not by saving. Hence, with this approach, Vidyadaan tries to educate students worldwide so that they learn beyond the ordinary.
How important is it to share such life-changing experiences with young students?
Presently, education is not just restricted to the notebooks and home works. Now, we have internet, gadgets and smart classes. Along with teaching, we have new methods of learning as well and with these new methods, new challenges crop up. Because of so much competition, students are under extreme pressure of being the best and the most successful. There are times when they try their best but still can't make it. Which is why it is very crucial for them to know what life is all about and this becomes more comforting when they learn all these things from the leaders of the industry.
Why have sessions on mental health?
Sessions on mental health are quite important to help all those students who are diligently working for their goals and don’t get to witness the desired results. Vidyadaan is a platform bridges the gap between students and the industry experts. Experts share their experiences be it their life journey, career advice or life tips which untangle all the knots inside the minds of the students.
In these testing times, stress-relieving sessions are becoming more and more essential. How are you helping?
Due to the nationwide lockdown, students have stopped going to schools, institutes and coaching centres. In order to help them with their education, Vidyadaan kept conducting online sessions with the industry experts so that students won’t stop learning. It has conducted webinars on all the topics of Media and entertainment industry such as Acting, Music, Dance, Graphics, Animation, Makeup, Gaming, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Sound and Audio Mixing, Anchoring and Communication etc. During the lockdown period, Vidyadaan conducted more than 25 webinars which were attended by thousands of students from all over the country. Meanwhile, Vidyadaan has run the Creative Warriors online courses, by the Media and Entertainment Council, on its platform and we have received an incredible response from the participants.
With the arrival of Creative Warriors online courses, various workshops are being conducted to make students learn a skill for life and opportunity to go live with the mentor, how does it help children?
Creative Warriors is a programme started by the Media and Entertainment Skills Council. Because of the lockdown, neither students nor the teachers were able to step outside of their houses. So Creative Warriors, powered by Vidyadaan, came up with the online courses where Music, Makeup and Hair, Acting, Digital Marketing, Smartphone film making, Gaming and Animation are being taught. Students attending these courses will be provided with a certificate after completion.
Being known as the Showman of Indian Cinema, you know how to polish a person and get the gem out of him. What do you say a person needs to do to get the best out themselves?
I can give people five tips to be the best version of themselves in any field, be it media, entertainment, education or any other sector. First, is hard work — as we say there is no substitute for hard work. One needs to work hard to reach one's goals. Next comes passion, which is equally important. Add to that, learning spirit, optimism and the spirit of never giving up, and you are good to go.
Similarly, in the field of cinema and theatre, how important is it to be an all-rounder and not just know the basics of the trade?
Today, basics are not enough for any field, be it corporate or film industry. Especially in the media and entertainment industry you where you never know what will happen in the next moment. For example, if there is an audition for a Telugu Movie, only actors who can speak Telugu will be able to do the character easily as compared to the ones who don’t know Telugu. However, if there is an actor who knows Hindi and Telugu as well, he or she will find it easier to get the dialogues and script. So more the skills, higher the opportunities on your plate.