Ambitious plan to empower underprivileged women through music: The Swami Samarth Program gets ready to rollFriday, October 26th, 2007
In 1929, two women in Mumbai founded Swami Samarth Sangeet Vidyalaya, a truly-unique women’s institution, that has not just imparted high quality music lessons in Hindustani classical music, but has focused on making music a means for building self-confidence, development, and employment of many women.
Today, a young scion of the family, Hemchandra Javeri( “Hemu”), is all set to build on this rich heritage and experience. He visualises The Swami Samarth Program as a potential means of uniting and energizing less fortunate communities.
I have known Hemu well for 22 years since the time we went to IIM/C together. Also having witnessed his meteoric corporate career, I know that Hemu is extremely determined and serious when he says, “Music is the universal language that is an integral part of Indian psyche and culture. Music in India has many sounds and origins, but its overall importance, and its role in energizing and uniting us is unique and substantial. Over the years, women have played a big role in spreading the beauty and enjoyment of music. We believe the guiding principles are relevant even today, and offer great opportunity of value addition to our lives, and the lives of the less fortunate”.
Hemu is in the process of fine-tuning these plans, but the broad contours are clear. Girls and young women will be taught Indian classical and modern music( with emphasis on the former) in key cities and towns across the country, within targeted, underprivileged communities. The primary focus will be on girls and young women, and to create social change through them, in their communities. The curriculum- a combination of theory and practical learning, with regionally-relevant content- will emphasise on creating a group of passionate students and teachers.
The program will ensure full funding for students and teachers, with wider scholarships for the deserving. By offering scholarships that allow students to use this money for their overall development and growth, it will enable many to improve their economic life.
It will also provide a tangible potential career and livelihood option for those who chose to do so.
Knowing Hemu as many of us do, this kind of rigorous planning and vision shouldn’t be a surprise. So, when Hemu concludes our conversation by saying that, “We will evaluate our success by the number of women and communities we are able to change and empower”, we have got to take him seriously.
I, for one, am especially delighted because Hemu has agreed to dovetail his initial program roll-out with my plans for ‘Growth-for’All’. As reality shows like Indian Idol, SaReGaMa, and Voice of India rock the TRP charts with unknown stars from small towns, the timing is just right for The Swami Samarth Program to make an impact.