Chairman’s Desk

chairman's DeskToday we rejoice at the completion of one hundred Residential Skill Training Program that have helped 17,424 village youths, creating a small space for each in the shining world of technology.

Birth of SRI and its continuation in the service of the most deprived sections of our society is a reality because many organisations in the governments, in industries, in India and outside helped us at every stage. I thank them from the core of my heart on behalf of my 17,424 children.

The compassion and conscious mind of several individuals uplifted our spirits during crisis and strengthened our determination to struggle for our cause. Today I would like to record the contribution of those silent partners. With all humility, I assert that we have not let down their confidence on us. There are gaps in the outputs, but there is no gap in our efforts.

Mrs. Indira Gandhi did not know me. Yet when Mr. Jagannath Mishra presented to her my small note on application of technology-based work opportunity for the most marginalised people, she did not hesitate to provide nearly one crore for industrial rehabilitation of 500 landless Harijans in Haveli Kharagpur of Munger district to act as a model. I had worked out the concept to prevent any repetition of the Bhagalpur blinding episode. Her untimely death prevented me to keep my promise to her that, “the 500th village entrepreneur will invite his Prime Minister at the inauguration of his enterprise.”

Mr. Rajiv Gandhi understood the imperative of our approach for building a youth-centred India. His inspiration created the chain of Regional Resource Centre of Rural Technology, images of SRI, under the able stewardship of Mr. Balakrishnan and Mr. Ashoke Jaitly of Council for Advancement of Rural Technology.

Mr. Narasimha Rao realised that the concept of SRI as service provider of technology for villages must penetrate deep and wide. It was the untiring effort of Dr. Ramamurthy, Dr.C. J. Johnny and Mr. S. Chatterjee of the Department of Science and Technology which has created hundreds of Block-level Rural Technology Parks in India. The first RTP is at Angara Block of Ranchi district built by SRI.

Mr. Arun Pathak and Mr. G. S. Kang of Indian Administrative Service were men of vision. They were determined to ensure that the concept of SRI gets a free domain to work. It was their insistence that registered SRI as a separate entity as a Vision-driven Organisation.

Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam feels that his visit to SRI was ordained. To SRI, he represents a tornado of science, logic, love for humanity and commitment to achieve that sweeps away all doubts. His inspiration urged SRI to find new technologies for women in the remotest areas, to lessen a bit of their burden so that they can lead India’s efforts to eradicate poverty. Dr. Vinita Sharma of the Department of Science and Technology committed herself for empowerment of women all over India with the new tools of science and technology. With untiring zeal, she reached women in National Knowledge centres and also those in the remotest parts of India.

Dr. David Barker of the United Kingdom created SRI, transforming a passion into a reality. He did not want any credit. All that he said was, “ If I take care of your family, can you take care of the poor in villages?” And he said it with all humility. The world can become richer if a few more Davids are born.

Father Marc DeBrouwer is a Jesuit priest and Swami Atmabidhananda belongs to Ramakrishna Mission order. Both are under the vow of poverty and sacrifice. Both are great technologists capable of taking inhuman burdens of work. In spite of their renunciation of family life, they are totally dedicated to the welfare of families of the poor. To us at SRI, they represent what humanity must be meaning to the Creator.

Every stone and brick of SRI campus has the touch of Prof. Indrajit Dey. He was the strength behind everything of SRI, a person who never accepted no for an answer. His deep knowledge on a wide range of subjects and his total dedication towards land and water is a rare combination. I have no hesitation to record that we would not have SRI of today but for his single-handed effort. Similarly every tree that the campus has today, grown out of rock, is the result of the untiring effort of Dr. Sukumar Sarkar. His green fingers had the magic touch that defied the science of botany and turned the piece of bare stone that we started with into a cool forest. Finally, when I look at the buildings and think of the meagre budget we had for construction, I realise that only the unusual combination of art and technology of Prof. R. L. Muni Charavorty and Prof. A. P. Gupta of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur made it possible. Their association has given us the confidence that our whole Nation can be rebuilt providing comfortable living to each family, poor or rich, within a limited budget, and such habitats will be indeed eco-friendly.

I am aware that the list is incomplete. We at SRI are blessed to receive unending kindness from many more.

On this day of joy, I thank all for their humanness.

Our achievement is built up on the sacrifice, dedication and commitment of our staff. Their strength, knowledge and skill had the guidance of wisdom from the Members of the Council. I thank all of them and on behalf of the present members of the Council and staff I record our sincere gratitude to all those who are not actively with SRI now, but are still shining in our hearts.

SRI is blessed to live on and within the compassion of humankind.
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