Studying Society the Sangati Way

What do children study in social studies?   Sangati is a program that encourages children to study society, starting with themselves.  Avehi-Abacus has trained teachers in more than 900 schools of the Bombay Municipal Corporation to implement this program.  I had the opportunity to visit some of the classes during their Sangati session.

The Sangati curriculum is designed with the aim of helping students make sense of their personal experiences at home and in their neighborhoods in a broader social, political and historical context.  The students I met had learned about Savitri bai Phule who worked for the cause of education for women and girls, and read stories raising caste issues such as Premchand’s Thakur ka Kuan (Thakur’s well) and Eklavya.

In the course of the discussion, the teacher asked them questions such as,

“What have been the conventional roles expected of men and women?”

“How has society changed?”

“How does education play a role?”

“Was Dronacharya a great teacher?”  (क्या द्रोणाचार्य महान गुरु थे?).

“If your teacher asked you for such a guru-dakshina what would you do?”


In their discussion we could see that while the material they discussed challenged social conventions and power structures, their ideas of how to challenge these in their own lives were yet forming and would take many more such discussions for them to articulate.

The politics of the classroom and the politics of their present reality layered upon one another, complicating the questions that the teacher asked based on the lesson.   It poignantly revealed how far the students were willing to go in challenging issues of caste and gender which we like to think are settled.

I read some of the textbooks and teacher’s guides, including descriptions of their classroom exercises designed to facilitate introspection on questions of caste and gender.  It would be interesting to try out these exercises ourselves in chapters.  There is so much that we in AID can learn from this program, as travelers along the same journey towards a just society. 



February 2014 / Aravinda Pillalamarri 

AID supports Avehi Abacus in training teachers to implement the Sangati program in the schools of the Bombay Municipal Corporation.


Improving Maternal and Child health in the Agariya community

LivelyhoodLocation: Little Rann of Kutch(LRK), Gujarat

The NGO: Janpath

Supporting AID Chapters & Amount funded:

AID Los Angeles- Orange County: $7600

AID Philadelphia: $3800 

Agariyas, i.e. the traditional salt makers, have access to abysmal services when migrating for 8 months to desert region of LRK, Gujarat, to make salt in harshest condition. Studies show 82 % Agariya community fall within “deprivation limit” when measured in indicators like nutrition, education, child and maternal healthcare. We support Janpath, our grassroot NGO partners, to advocate for sustainable maternal and child health and nutrition services for Agariyas.

Revisiting JSS After 8 years
When Dwarka picked me up at Bilaspur station and drove me to the JSS campus at Ganiyari on a rainy Friday evening (July 10),  I thought about the last three visits to JSS and how it had been a long time this time (8 years) since the last time.
I had heard about the changes and developments and could not wait to see for myself! The first of many changes was that I would be staying overnight at Ganiyari itself (instead of Bilaspur as had been the case on previous visits) – where there were quarters for various staff and also visitors now.
current day context of AMbedkar and dalit/progressive issues


Return to Ambedkar home page

Ambedkar's contributions

Here we need a brief write up on Ambedkars contributions (maybe restrict to freedom struggle and that period) we want to highlight, that may also connect with the theme of our website.  Also provide links for further reading and viewing.



-- Annihilation of caste

--  Documentary on AMbedkar's life .

-- Bhimayana:  Comic book on Ambedkar for children.



Return to AMbedkar Home Page.

 "Tun in any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path"

An idea -- Maybe every page of the website can end with an Ambdedkar quote?

(any volunteers for shortlisting quotes?)


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