By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Vidya Bharti -- a name that doesnt evoke familiarity, yet has deep rooted imprint in Indias education milieu. The full name is Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan, a lesser known RSS affiliate which wields influence.
Founded in 1977, this is one of the largest NGOs -- if one can call it that -- in India and runs a school chain across the country. Its goal is very simple -- to provide education to those who don't have the means to it, but education that installs Indian values. According to them, they wish to produce "…a generation of young men and women that is committed to Hindutva and infused with patriotic fervour".
It is an umbrella body to manage the Saraswati Sishu Mandirs and various other schools. Typical of any RSS affiliate, its logo is of an undivided India coloured in saffron and images of students studying.
Schools in states, that follow its curriculum, are managed by different state bodies which are known by different names in different state. Vidya Bharti coordinates or acts as the supreme body among the state bodies.
In Delhi and Haryana, they are known as Hindu Shiksha Samiti, in Andhra Pradesh, they are known as Sri Saraswati Vidya Peetham, in Tamil Nadu as Vivekananda Kendra, among others.
A rough estimate suggests, there are more than 12,000 schools across India that are running under the banner.
At one of the conclaves which he addressed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "We should focus on how the schools of Vidya Bharati can reach the top. We succeeded in expanding the number of schools but what about quality? Let's make one Vidya Bharati in every state and make it the top school in that state."
One of its alumni, Flight lieutenant Mansi Geda was selected to assist Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an "Independence Day ceremony". Geda studied at Saraswati Shishu Mandir Higher Secondary School, Katni in Madhya Pradesh.
Navdeep Saini - who went to Gita Vidya Mandir in Taraori (Karnal), Haryana -- had made his debut for India against West Indies in 20-20 Cricket. Ramavatar, better known as Sonu, was selected as a Scientist in ISRO, claims Vidya Bharti. He too was part of Vidya Bharti family.
It is a RSS affiliate very few know of but has unimaginable penetration deep inside India and an effective machinery to create a generation aligned with Sangh's value system.