Unlike any other ordinary Indian child whose prime aim is to get the best grades in school and bag those Ivy League colleges, IITs and IIMs, the children of International Chandramauli Charitable Trust spend their days living a simple life of a Brahmachari.
On my last visit to Varanasi, the city of lights, I noticed young boys with partially shaved heads dressed in traditional attire of ‘dhoti’ roaming around the Ghats of Varanasi. This instantly grabbed my interest so I had decided to personally document their lives, the next time I visit Varanasi.
The founders of the International Chandramauli Charitable Trust, Mr Devatama Dube and Mrs Lucy Guest, explained that the main aim of this Trust is to not only to revive the Sanskrit language but also to protect and conserve it. Sanskrit which is also known as the “dev-bhasha” or “language of Gods” is listed in the Eighth Schedule of our Constitution of India, which mandates the Indian government to develop this language. Every year, the International Chandramauli Charitable Trust enrolls various students who are sent here by their parents to receive education and live a life of a Brahmachari.
The children are not only taught Sanskrit here but also Vedic literature, English literature, Mathematics, English Grammar, Music and also how to use computers. From simple food to simple dress, these children are taught to lead a simple lifestyle devoid of the unnecessary luxuries of today’s world.
Most of these children are between the age of 10-15 years who have come here to study from various different places including Mathura, Agra and Vrindhavan. They begin their day by taking a bath at 3am in the morning which is followed by Yoga classes from 4am. Their academic classes begin from 7am and after a brief interval from 12noon to 2pm in which they have their lunch, they resume their classes. The lunch which is served is a pure vegetarian lunch which mainly consists of plain rice, chapatti and a simple vegetable curry. Nevertheless, there is no reason to think that they are not allowed to use the internet or watch television; occasionally the teachers of International Chandramauli Charitable Trust allows them to watch movies like Bal Hanuman, Ramayan and Mahabharata which are based on Hindu mythologies.
This International Chandramauli Charitable Trust imparts basic education to these kids which not only encourages them to lead a simple life but also help them to apply for competitive examinations later in life.
It is indeed startling to see these kids grow up in such a simple manner, living a disciplined life of a Brahmachari; amidst such cut throat competition of today’s capitalist world.
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Text by V Sinha