Creating Rural Leaders in WestBengal through The Art of Living initiative ‘Ujjwal Bangla’


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Art of Living Heroes
Ujjwal Bangla is The Art of Living’s endeavor towards providing holistic solutions to empower rural West Bengal towards independence and self sustenance. There are a number of The Art of Living volunteers who are pioneers  in this remarkable journey of transformation through development of a bevy of youth rural leaders and change makers in central and south WestBengal.
Amit Chatterjee
Amit Chatterjee who is an Art of Living faculty is playing  a prominent  role as he spearheads this effort. He is the faculty for various AOL programs including  happiness program, Yes+, master trainer YLTP,   Utkarsha yoga, medha yoga1, know your child  and know your teens.
His life changed drastically after  his first encounter with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living. He was deeply inspired by Gurudev. Hence, he decided to  dedicate his life  to become a Volunteer for Better India, under the AOL flagship. He then undertook the Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP).  After  a  few years, he  became  Art of Living Faculty in 2010. Then,  he  started working towards establishment  of AOL school Sri Sri Gyan Mandir at Budbud village in Bardhaman district, where he resides.  he school started with 15 students. Gradually,  the number increased and it   has  200+ students now . He is instrumental  in establishing many Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (VVMVP) schools in different  parts of rural West Bengal. He traveled to different  parts of the state  to motivate  youth  in rural areas. Along with  Ramdas Bhattacharajee and Kunal Roy, he trained hundreds of youth by conducting   youth leadership training programs to  instill the spirit of  leadership  in southern parts of the state. In the past two years, the entire team is bringing  a  revolution by conducting  YLTPs  in WB  Ashram. Furthermore, YLTPs are  also being started  in   Howrah and Medinapur  districts by  Moli Sarkar.
In 2011, Amit worked in the red zone areas of West Bengal with Ujjwal Mahato. He also worked tirelessly with the YLTP team of Purulia to arrange  its first ever visit by Gurudev. As a master trainer, he also conducts several YLTPs  through which  youth  experience  great transformation  and resolve  to serve   society. Many are inspired to serve and spread the AOL spirit and message by organising  Nav Chetna Shibirs, Bal Chetna Shibirs and  Yog Chetna Shibirs .  Additionally, he conducts several awareness camps for many communities including farmers, people with addictions and armed personnels as well. He is also engaged  actively in  creating model villages in the state. Sangachwatam is the mantra  of his success.
Today, Amit ji is a true inspiration for thousands of youth as he continues his passion of life to  spread the spirit of patriotism and spirituality amongst  them.
He reminisces one of Sri Sri quotes fondly, ‘For a society to be healthy, for an individual to be happy, for nations to be strong, we need to see that the grass root level human rights are honoured, human values and responsibilities are enforced. ‘
Youth Leaders:
Rajat from Amarpur village of Burdwan district is a committed leader and is an inspiration for his village. After completion of his youth leadership  training program, he tried to organise Nav Chetna Shibir and  Bal Chetna Shibir in  his village.  Unfortunately, all his attempts were in vain as  nobody was  interested to participate in Shibirs. After a few days, there was incessant  rain in his village. Due to the deluge,  the roads in the village were damaged which hindered the daily commute of villagers.  On witnessing this problem, Rajat decided to repair the road  himself, as  he had great desire to serve all.  He worked  single handedly with spade and tools. Initially, villagers were shocked  and amazed to see his initiative and enthusiasm. Later,  youth of the village  also joined him . Soon, the village road of about 2km was constructed. Rajat, the leader was born and is now a popular name in his village. Later, the  villagers gathered to ask him the source of his  motivation. As they  started to realise  the significance of Shibirs,  they requested him to conduct shibirs  in their village. Rajat then organised Nav Chetna Shibir and Bal Chetna Shibir in the village. Many youth participated in YLTP as well.  Rajat is an example of committed leadership,   a beacon of hope for his village as he  leads his village towards growth and  prosperity. By his sheer hardwork and positive intent to serve others, he  is now a source of inspiration for many.
Yuvacharya team of Barhra 
The Yuvacharya team of Barhra organised Durga puja for four days at Arjunsuli village,  a remote village of Khayarasol block in Birbhum district.  This is a very special occasion  for the village since it  is happening for the first time in 200 years of the history of this village. The Yuvacharya team led by Pritam, Devnath and Pradipta made it possible by solving the sociopolitical situation of the village. The volunteers did their best   to educate villagers  about the importance of this celebration. Today,  the village is very grateful to the Yuvacharya team. The village was introduced to the powerful chants of Chandi Patha for the very first time. During  evenings each day , villagers enjoyed the various cultural programs. After this grand success,   the Yuvacharyas decided  to continue Durga puja celebrations every year in  this village.
Muslia, is another tribal and  underprivileged village in Birbhum, where people fight with poverty everyday. The Art Of Living team of Barhra took an initiative of one day service by serving 45 families in the village. They distributed essential supplies including rice, wheat, pulses, biscuits, sweets, clothes  etc to the villagers. The villagers had never  received  such help in the past. Full of gratitude, a  villager said, “We’re really blessed by having such people, they are full of kindness.”  One of the Yuvacharyas said, “We’re very happy  to be a part of this work, the smiling faces of the villagers are really priceless. We are going to take part in the improvement of their socio-economic condition.”
The Art of Living is single handedly making youth rural leaders and change makers in central and South Bengal
– Jayashree Pattnaik

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