Teacher’s Undying Effort Brings Transformation in Bastar
Ajay Singh started his career as a teacher in a Government school in Bastar, a small district in Chhattisgarh State that is inhabited mostly by tribal people many of who live deep in the forest region. The area is deeply affected by Naxalism, an activity that is deep-rooted and connected to the tribal cause. The tribals have developed an aggressive, revolutionary, and anti-Government attitude that is expressed in the form of protests and armed attacks. Any attempt by the Government to intervene or introduce schemes for their benefit is met with rejection and contempt.
Ajay, who had always been inclined towards social service, nurtured a desire in his heart to change the unhappy state of affairs but had no idea how to go about it. The challenge seemed too big for him.
In 2002, Ajay enrolled for The Art of Living’s Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP). Gurudev’s vision of building a stress-free and violence free world and bringing the world together as one family or “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” made a deep impact on him and reinforced his desire to dedicate his life to serving others.
Ajay Singh: Inspired by Gurudev’s vision to build a stress free & violence free society, Ajay Singh decided to dedicate his life to serving others
In 2003, Ajay visited the Bangalore Ashram to do his first Advance Meditation Program. Shortly after, Gurudev visited Bastar for the very first time and the foundation of Sri Sri Gyan Mandir was laid (currently running with more than 200 students.) The Art of Living programs gave Ajay the confidence that he could indeed make a difference in Bastar.
The naxalist activities, poverty, lack of health, education and other basic facilities offered not only a huge challenge but also a tremendous opportunity in terms of bringing about a revolutionary change in the region. Deeply inspired by Gurudev and driven by a zeal to serve society, Ajay took on the challenge. He quit his job in 2007 and became a full-time Art of Living teacher.
Ajay has been conducting YLTP in the Naxal affected regions of Dantewada, Sukma, Kanker, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Jagdalpur, and has so far trained over 5000 rural youth. Over 5000 policemen and 3000 teachers have been taught Sudarshan Kriya. Ajay has also conducted programs for IPS and IAS officers and also a few ministers in Chhattisgarh. He has also organized programs for paramilitary forces, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, and others.
Ajay mentions that the Art of Living programs has brought about a significant change in the lives of the people in Bastar. There is more unity among people and greater awareness. Many youths have given up addictions and violent activities. The policemen have been positively impacted as the programs gave them a boost of confidence and greater discipline. Their stress level, which was high due to the working environment, has reduced significantly.
Over 700 prisoners have undergone the Prison SMART program under the guidance of Ajay. He mentions that it has created a positive outlook in the life of prisoners and they want to join mainstream society and lead a normal life. Violence and stress had disappeared from their lives. Ajay was blessed as a Dynamism for Self and Nation (DSN) teacher in 2016. Currently, he is conducting a Happiness Program drive in 60 villages with the help of Chhattisgarh Government. He is also encouraging farmers in the region to adopt natural farming techniques. We need more stalwarts like Ajay Singh.