1 Dec 2023

College on Wheels: Academic odyssey for J&K girl students culminates; students explored diverse regions, cultures, and landmarks

Over 700 female students from various universities in the Himalayan state of Jammu & Kashmir have completed a groundbreaking educational trip, breaking free from the traditional classroom setting. The two-week journey, known as the 'Gyanodaya Express – College on Wheels,' transported them to centers of excellence and prominent cities like Delhi, Goa, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. For many, this was not only their first train ride but also their initial venture beyond the state borders.

The transformative journey concluded on Thursday with a profound visit to Sewagram at Paunar in Wardha—the final destination of the initiative led by Manoj Sinha, the Lieutenant Governor of J&K UT and Chancellor of the University of Jammu.

Guided by Prof. Dinesh Singh, Vice Chairman of the Higher Education Council, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, the purpose of this visit was to acquaint students with the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

Students delved into Gandhiji's philosophy during their visit to Sewagram

Officials at Sewagram Ashram provided the students with insights into its history, enriching their understanding of this significant institution. 

During their visit to Sewagram, the students delved into Gandhiji's philosophy of non-violence, simplicity, and communal harmony. 

"Exploring the historical significance of Sewagram, a pivotal site in India's freedom struggle, provided us with a deeper understanding of the Father of the Nation's vision, ideals, and principles," said one of the participating students.

A key highlight of the educational sojourn was the contingent's visit to the workshop at Sewagram. 

"We witnessed the meticulous process of crafting Khadi clothes. This hands-on experience allowed us to appreciate the artistry and dedication involved in producing Khadi. Khadi is a fabric deeply intertwined with India's cultural heritage," said Sumaira Zubeen, a postgraduate student of Islamic Studies at Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University in Rajouri, after returning fro the trip.

Students also visited New Talim premises adjacent to Sewagram

The students also visited the New Talim premises adjacent to Sewagram Ashram, where officials provided them with a deeper understanding of educational practices inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. This visit complemented their overall experience, fostering a holistic appreciation for Gandhian principles and their application in various facets of life.

The College on Wheels initiative aimed to broaden students' horizons through immersive experiences beyond the classroom. The Sewagram visit emphasized the program's commitment to fostering cultural understanding, social responsibility, and a holistic approach to education.

Students carry a profound understanding of principles espoused by Gandhi

As the contingent returns to Jammu and Kashmir, they carry not only memories of a meaningful journey but also a profound understanding of the principles espoused by Mahatma Gandhi. The College on Wheels initiative remains dedicated to shaping future leaders embodying values of inclusivity, peace, and sustainable progress.

In his message, Prof. Umesh Rai, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu, the nodal varsity of the journey, expressed hope that the students had an enriching experience during their journey, which will go a long way in enhancing their knowledge and wisdom. 

Later in the day, the students participated in the second phase of the preliminary Charkha Competition, with the final competition among the two best students of all institutions scheduled for December 01, 2023.

Initiative united students from various universities and colleges

The College on Wheels initiative united students from various universities and colleges of J&K for an educational journey that transcended traditional boundaries. 

Envisioned by Lieutenant Governor Mr. Manoj Sinha, the College on Wheels, a special train exclusively earmarked for the two-week trip of girl students from Jammu and Kashmir to premier institutions and places of the country, was flagged off from Mata Vaishno Devi University Railway Station Katra on November 19. 

Students ventured into various regions, cultures, and landmarks firsthand

For the participating students, this journey was a dream come true, offering the opportunity to explore diverse regions, cultures, and landmarks firsthand. They express excitement about visiting iconic places such as the Indian Space Research Organization, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, Sabarmati Ashram, and other historic sites across the country.

The students were in the national capital Delhi on November 20 where they visited Delhi’s iconic government buildings and other landmarks and their visit extended to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India.

Visit to  Sabarmati Ashram was a profound journey into history

The students visited the famous Sabarmati Ashram, among other places, on November 21. Many students said visiting the Ashram was a profound journey into history. Walking the same grounds where Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked was inspiring. The simplicity of the ashram and the serenity of the Sabarmati River left a lasting impression.

The contingent comprises 780 students along with their mentors and the administrative staff from the University of Jammu, University of Kashmir, Cluster University of Jammu, Cluster University of Kashmir, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Katra, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University Rajouri, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Kashmir, affiliated colleges of JU and KU, and Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC), New Delhi.

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