“Meri maa ka shikshan nahin huan. Mere ghar mein koi nahin sikha hai. Meri badi behen aur mera bhai, unko bhi meri ma ne kaam ke liye bheja. Toh unki ichcha thi ki main aisa kaam nahin karun. Mujhe seekhna chaihiye. Isliye meri maa ne idhar mujhe seekhne ke liye bheja hai. Toh mujhe seekhe ke liye bahut ichcha thi.” (I mother was not educated. Infact, no one in my family is educated. Even my elder brother and sister were sent to work. But my mother wanted me to study, not work. That’s why she has sent me to school. I really want to study. )
Vidhayak Sansad has its roots in Dahisar, a small village in Thane district approximately 70 kilometers north of Mumbai. It was here that Vivek’s, one of Vidhayak Sansad’s founders’ maternal uncle lived. When here, they learned that the local school was closing because so many children were dropping out. They decided to move there and take up welfare activities for the poor. The couple started pre-school classes, set up a medical center, and tried to spur economic activity by rearing pigs and goats. Everyone in the village, from the lowest to the highest castes, supported their work.
But when they organized sports tournaments for young people in the village they noticed that some of the tribal youth didn’t always come to the practices. When the Pandits asked them why, they discovered that these tribals had lived for years in forced servitude to repay small loans to local landlords. The practice was illegal, but the poor lived in ignorance of the law. Outraged by what they encountered, the Pandits began speaking against the illegal practice of bonded labor. But the laborers were too scared and suspicious to approach them. The couple also faced violent opposition from landlords. Then one night in February 1982, a band of landowners led by Vivek’s uncle beat the couple before the village. The tribals took them in that night and put their faith in them.
Volunteers who are ready to come down their campus and teach the children English every weekend (or after school hours during the week) are most welcome. Please get in touch with Vidhayak Sansad by filling out this form, to take this forward.
The founders, Vidyullata and Vivek Pandit, received the Anti-Slavery International Award from the United Kingdom in 1999.
The British Parliament passed a special resolution praising their work undertaken and the organizations they founded.