Janapada Seva Trust (JST) is a voluntary organisation established in 1960. Its activities are in and around Melkote, a small town in Mandya District of Karnataka, India. Inspired by the ideals of swaraj (self-rule) envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and his associate economist J C Kumarappa, the Trust has been striving from the day of its inception towards creating a non-violent social order.
Sri. Surendra Koulagi and Smt. Girija Koulagi, a young couple established JST with support of their friends. In last six decades the Trust has seen sweeping changes in society in general and Melkote in particular. However, it has stood in thinking and action to its original objective of creating a non-violent social order. It has emerged as an organisation driven by ideology rather than by projects or activities. Over the decades the Trust has responded to the needs of the community and initiated several activities which have lasted from years to decades. This approach has ensured that even after decades no activity of JST has become stale, ineffective, or rigid in its approach.
To know more about our six decades long journey, please watch a short documentary below
Adoption Placement Centre
The Karunaguha, the ‘home of compassion’ was started in 1963. First four decades it worked with hundreds of rural disabled children particularly polio affected. It provided shelter, food, education, and medical rehabilitation. By the turn of the century the number of polio cases drastically came down, thanks to polio eradication program. From 2009 Karunagruha began to work as an adoption placement centre. Child Welfare Committee of state Govt transfers abandoned children in the age group of 1 day to 5 years to the home. Children are provided care and protection and placed for adoption after fulfilling all legal requirements.
Khadi is hand spun and hand woven fabric. Mahatma Gandhi made it a symbol of self-reliance and Indian freedom movement. Melkote was well known for handloom weaving. Till recently Melkote Dhoti was a unique and much sought after product. With the advent of power looms and mill products the craft has all but vanished. In this context the Trust is striving to revive and popularise a local tradition. Even though the activity is recognised by Khadi and village Industries commission (KVIC) of Govt of India, Trust doesn’t seek financial support from them. It runs the activity in Khadi spirit of self-reliance by building a responsible consumer base.
The Khadi produced at the centre is natural dyed and quality is on par with the best produced in India. Along with yarn dyeing unit it has its own stitching unit to produce attractive fashionable garments. Workers manage all the activities. Many enthusiastic designer friends are involved in the activity to make designs relevant.
Centre for Non-Violent Living Alternatives
Hosa Jeevana Daari a distinct centre was set up by the Trust in 1980. Hosa Jeevavana Daari means ‘a way to new life’ in kannada. The broad concept of the centre is to create a place which is in complete harmony with nature, and inspire people who are in search of non-violent living alternatives. Throughout the year various camps, seminars and workshops are organised on different issues related to environment, development and life style. Low cost eco-friendly housing, rainwater harvesting and organic farming are part of the centre’s initiatives.
Forest of Reminiscence
We in Melkote over the last three decades have seen the forest around us disappear at a dreadful speed. Many native species were lost before we understood our precarious situation. Most of the trees disappeared because of the demand for firewood and for timber. To meet the increasing demand the government began introducing exotic species like Eucalyptus and Acacia to the area. Although the new species helped to meet the demand to some extent, over the last three decades they have taken over the entire area and led to monoculture with little space or scope for native species to survive and reduced ground water level. At this context, trust is striving to convert 15 acres of its land into forest that supports rich local flora and fauna under the name of ‘Nene Bana’ (forest of reminiscence) where each saplings are raised by the support of individuals in the name of their loved ones.
Studio for Human-Scale Technologies
Our civilization is in crisis. On one hand, we are crossing planetary boundary which is the safe operating space for humanity. Keeping our civilization within ecological limits is the most pressing challenge of our times. On the other, social inequality is mounting globally where the richest 1% own more than one fourth of total wealth. Increasing disparity leading to global poverty as well as pushing civilization to cross planetary boundary. All these problems show that, there is an optimum scale for humanity to operate for civilization to thrive. This optimum is called human-scale in which civilization functions within desirable limits where individuals have more control over their lives while being harmonious with their roles in society and the ecosphere. Therefore, future of humanity is contingent on how quickly we as a civilization adopt human-scale as an organizing principle.
It is evident that technology is key driving force behind outsize of our civilization. Hence, it is essential to embrace human-scale technology which encourages sustainable and equitable future. At this context, the studio designs human-scale technologies that empower people and not that enslave. It also provides consultancy services.
Following are the key aspects of such technologies
- Controlled by artisan: With the advent of centralized industrialization, people’s lives are organized to run the machines continuously for increased profit. In other words, machines are controlling human lives and people have become subordinates. In contrast, human-scale technologies empower people by giving control over machines. Thus, people won’t operate as soulless machines.
- Low cost: Investment is a key factor that determines the level of freedom and disparity in society. As investment cost increases, technology can’t own by masses. Thus, loss of freedom in turn inequality. In contrary human-scale technologies are low capital investment and can be owned by masses. Therefore, it enhances people’s freedom and encourages equality.
- Creative space at work: Creative element is crucial for enjoying any work. But modernity based on centralization has kept creative element only for selected few and menial work for rest of the masses. Hence, work is increasingly perceived as burden and drudgery. In contrary, human-scale technologies ensure creative space for artisans and encourages enjoyment at work.
- Local maintenance: Increased shift towards technological automation make people depend on others particularly on manufacturing companies for maintenance and services. In turn artisans lose control over their lives. In contrast, human-scale technologies are designed in such a way that by and large they can be repaired locally.
- Efficiency: Important role of technology is to reduce drudgery. But today in rush of increasing efficiency we have reached an era of autonomation displacing labor and loss of livelihoods. In contrast, human-scale technologies are designed within desirable efficiency that support livelihoods.
- Enhancing freedom of artisan: Freedom is fundamental for human wellbeing. Our civilization based on technologies that are beyond human-scale creating a world of unfreedom. High capital investment, complicated designs and urge for increasing efficiency resulting in centralization in turn loss of freedom for the masses. In contrast, human-scale technologies encourage decentralization that brings freedom for masses.
JST is cruising valiantly solely due to the unstinted support of friends and well wishers. Over the past six decades, this was source of strength and inspiration. The commitment to swaraj values has never been compromised even once and on the contrary the resolve has deepened with each passing day. It has emerged as a reference point to many new initiatives. It has carved a distinct space since it is driven by ideology and not by programs. It has cast away a few programs, embarked on a new set of activities in tune with the changing times, but responding from a strong ideological base. ST has several dreams to realize its goal of helping to usher in an era of sustainable living and ethical practices. Your help and contributions will go a long way in creating a non-violent social order.
Legal Status and Tax Exemption details
Janapada Seva Trust (JST) is an organization registered under Socities Registration Act. It is also recognized under:
- Section 80G of the IT Act 1961 (No.PRO.718/10A/BOL/BI.J20, dated 31 Jan 1976) – where any Indian donor is entitled to claim deduction from their taxable income to an extent of 50% of the donation amount.
- JST also has a permanent registration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi to receive foreign contributions under the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act. (No.: 094580018—Educational and Social, (NO.II/21022/69/ (834)/85-FCRAIII, dated 6 Sept 1985).
You can also support JST’s efforts by letting others like yourself know about its work.
Janapada Seva Trust
Kalyani ST, Melkote – 571431
Pandavapura TQ, Mandya Dist
Phone: + 91 / 08236 299854 / + 91 9900537434
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