If one intends to describe Khurshed Batliwala, director of YES Plus (Youth Empowerment and Skills) programme, a Sri Sri Ravi Shankar initiative, in one sentence, then it would be – a combination of sharp intellect and youthfulness.
Khurshed or Bawa, a name that he has retained since his IIT-Bombay days, is a post-graduate in mathematics from the IIT, but he prefers teaching meditation to mathematics. Flashing his trademark smile, he says, “It is better to teach people meditation and make them happy rather than teach them mathematics and make them miserable.” In an exclusive chat with The Hindu, he dived deep into various aspects such as current education system and the power of meditation.
According to him, the current education system is being misused. He points out that some of the colleges in Delhi declaring that the cut-off mark as 100 per cent is ridiculous. “Study should be not for marks but for knowledge. Develop the penchant for gaining knowledge and do not get into the mad rush for marks. Knowledge will stay forever, marks might fade over a period of time,” he says.
According to him, two things in education are important – domain knowledge and soft skills. “Each complements the other,” he points out.
Critical about textbook reading, he says, “One should not get restricted to textbooks. Explore and enjoy, should be the idea, and it will make a huge difference in life.”
Khurshed, who has been propagating the Vedic concepts of ‘Tamas’, ‘Rajas’ and ‘Sattva’, says, the balance between the former two concepts is important for peace and success in life. “Meditative power is unimaginable and it was proved by our ancient seers. And the balance between ‘Tamas and Rajas’ is important to attain the stage of ‘Sattva’ the ultimate purity, and it can be achieved through meditation,” he points out.Workshop
Khurshed is here to organise a three-day workshop on meditation and career guidance, and the sessions are being organised by the local Art of Living chapter at Hotel Budhil Park.
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I got up from my chair, gathered my things, closed the office door behind me. As I reached for my keys to lock up my office, I heard footsteps approaching me. I held my breath as I turned to see Edward standing behind me. He apologized for being late and asked if I would please give him his final exam and grade. I hesitated for a few seconds, then cautiously opened the door and asked him to have a seat.
He looked just terrible. His eyes were sunk with dark black circles under them and the hollows of his cheeks were drawn. His swollen lips were cracked with dried blood in the creases. His skin was pale and his hair matted. He was wearing the same clothes he had worn for the last few weeks.
“Would you like some water?”, I asked him. He replied “No thank you,” as he sat trembling. Then he spoke to me for the first time.
“I know that I am getting a low grade on my final. I realize that I have not been participating in class and that I am an embarrassment to others. I am lazy, selfish, stupid and an ugly no-good-for-anything person. I have no place on this earth and what’s more, no one can ever love a person like me. I am a hopeless case with absolutely no future”.
I could not believe my ears. I wanted to interrupt him, to convince him that he was none of these things. Instead – I let him talk. I listened with my heart and not my head. I fought back my own tears to manifest my strength and professionalism.
When he had finished, I faced him, looked directly into his very sad eyes and said, “Edward, your final grade is an A”. His reaction was one of total and complete surprise. “You are giving me an A? Me? Why would you give me an A when I did such a poor job in class, on my assignments and on my final exam. Why would you do that?”
My answer to Edward was this. “You may appear to be a D student, but you are an A person. I believe in you now and I will always believe in you. I am here for you now and I will always be here for you. Never, ever forget that. Now, go and create the life you dream of. Believe in yourself. I will be watching. And by the way Edward - I love you”
In all my years of teaching, I have never graded a student this way.