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Passing the mantle along…

April 13, 2009

SVYM is now in its 25th year of existence. The journey of the last 25 years has seen us grow from a small one man organization to that of more than 600 people working across the state of Karnataka. Today our more than 60 projects reach out to more than 6 million people of the state. Our Training, Advocacy, Research and Consultancy activities span across India. We are also seen as India’s leading Development Organization and numerous awards and recognitions have come our way. The last 25 years has also been a great journey for many of us individually.

I can still vividly remember how it all began. It was the year 1982 and reading two small books – ‘His call to the Nation’ and ‘To the Youth of India’ written by Swami Vivekananda changed my life forever. Drawing inspiration from his nationalistic writings, i along with a few of my class mates started the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in 1984. For me the last 25 years has been a long and eventful journey. A journey of trials, tribulations, learnings and challenges. It has been a great opportunity for me to look within myself, work with wonderful and highly committed people, manage large projects and interact with extraordinary people. It has also been a great opportunity to actually put Swami Vivekananda’s ideas into action. I have learnt that his vision for India is one that is pragmatic, doable and very relevant. It has also been the time when an extraordinary team has emerged in SVYM. A team which has redefined the concept of staying and working together. It now boasts of more than 600 young men and women who believe that change is possible and that a great Nation can actually be built from its grass roots. They are involved in a silent revolution which is now quietly spreading across the Nation.

It has also been 25 satisfying years. Personally, i find myself and my thoughts that more mature and i am ready to take on more challenging tasks. Today the organization has grown beyond any one individual and that is its strength. It now has an dedicated and highly motivated team to take the organization forward into the next 25 years. We are now building strong management and governance structures which reflect this philosophy of teamwork and togetherness without depending on anyone person in particular. SVYM lives and grows on its ideology of National Service rather than on the charisma of any one person. This has been the most significant part of our journey. Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy of ‘Servant Based Leadership’ (Daasasya Dassah, as he put it) captivates me and i would now like to live and experience it.

With all this in mind, i feel that this is the most appropriate time for the mantle to be passed along. Dr M.R.Seetharam will now be taking over as President and spearhead the Governance initiatives. Dr M.A.Balasubramanya will take over as the Chief Executive Officer and oversee all the management functions. A new and younger team of Governing Body members have taken charge from the 1st of April this year. Over the next few years, the separation between Governance and Management will become more and more clearer.

I will be taking a year off and spending it at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. I will be attending the Edward Mason Fellowship Program and will be doing a Masters in Public Policy and Management there. After i return, i intend continuing my full time association with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and associate myself with the Education and other community driven initiatives of the organization.

I personally would like to thank each one of you for your assistance, encouragement and support that you gave me these last 25 years. I am sure, we can count on all of you for your continued support and guidance in the coming years.

– Balu

Categories: Musings