Darsana - The Saga of Togetherness

Dinesh R [1991-95 ME]

Drasana was formed in 2007. The idea to start such an organization got incubated in the batch meeting of 1991 passed out students.Late Comrade Biju Cheriyan was their batch mate. The thought of starting an endowment in memory of Comrade Biju Cheriyan, for the students of NSS College of Engineering Palakkad, our almamater, led to the idea of bring together all the progressive thinking students of all batches form 1960s to the millennium batches.

 The first such meeting to think about floating an organization of likeminded students of all batches was held at Hotel Kapilavasthu on 1st May 2007. A coordination committee with Comrade Shiju Paul as Convenor was formed to complete the formalities. The coordination committee did a commendable work, got the association registered, finalised its byelaw and started the membership drive. Darsana got inaugurated by Comrade M A Baby in August 2007 in the College Auditorium. Comrade V M Sunil from the 1977 – 82 batch was our first President and I was selected as the Secretary. (91 – 95 ME). An Executive Committee of 21 members was formulated to manage the affairs of the organization. Biju Cheriyan Endowment Talk Series was inaugurated by Prof R V G Menon. Every year we conduct Talks on an important topic and that helps all of us keep updated.

The initial years were so active. Comrades from various batches who had never met each other, could all come together under one umbrella and the organization grew very fast. The combined energy of the comrades was so high that we dared to undertake so many initiatives many of which were the first such attempts in entire Kerala.

 The high point of Darsana I still believe was the Job Fair we conducted at Government Victoria College, Palakkad. It was a 2 days event and most of the Darsana Comrades reached Palakkad few days in advance. We got ample support from the Progressive Students movement in the College under the leadership of Comrades Shanu and Sameer.

Darsana - Inauguration -2

Had such an organization was never formed, maybe in the entire life I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet many such great minds and build such strong rapport with all of them. This is an organization of great strength. And the strength lies in that invisible thread that connects all of us,  irrespective of which branch or batch we belong to. 

The progressive ideology in each one of us that was polished through the years of real tough experiences in the campus has strengthened this bondage.Now we need to keep the flame alive. We need to keep ourselves sharp and updated and be ready to face the challenges posed by the new threats to democracy and freedom. Hope darsana will grow as a platform that supports this journey.

Our seminar on Engineering examination system of University of Calicut was well appreciated and acted as a catalyst in bringing about some major changes. The way we have been supporting the needy students of our college through the Biju Cheriyan Endowment Programme is today a case study for all similar initiatives in the state. Ex students of many other colleges have been trying to establish a similar organization, but many could not succeed the way we could take our organization forward. Our Skill development training programmes helped many students of NSSCE appear for interviews more confidently and many landed up in good jobs.

More than anything darsana is a coming together of the comrades who were very actively involved in progressive students movements of NSSCE during their student days. It is this movement that shaped the thought processes and world view of most of us. The comradierie that existed among the comrades of any batch is the biggest asset we all still carry with us. It is this strong thread of ideology that connects all of us from the various batches from early 70s to the latest 2018 batch that makes it such a special and unique organization. Almost 50 batches. At least 100 progressive thinkers in each batch. Darsana should grow as an organization bringing together all these 5000 plus socially responsible individuals. These are the best brains in Kerala in their own rights. That too with a very high social inclination. This is an organization, if proprely placed, can make worthy contributions to the growth and development of Kerala as well as the whole nation.

The engineering expertise that this organization can boast of, is unparalleled. People from all possible fields, industry leaders with years of rich and varied experience across the globe, are part of this mighty organization. We need to take this group to where it belong. Tomorrow, Kerala should look at darsana as a growth engine for the entire society that can provide the right guidelines and support. In this age when the basic fabric of the Indian constitution itself is under severe threat, when the right wing fanatics are doing everything possible to divide the country on communal lines, when even science gets misinterpreted, an organization like darsana has the responsibility to lead the resistance movement. At least be an integral part of it. The way in which the new batch comrades are flowing into darsana and the wide acceptance of darsana among the millenials, is a very positive development and shows that the future is really bright for this unique organization. Let darsana be a platform for wonderful ideas to get incubated and let it be a support system for the weaker segments of the society. Let us work together to make darsana a much stronger organisation. A lot of ideas which were all discussed thread bare in many meetings still remain as work in progress. Saving our world from plastic waste by collecting the pet bottles and crushing them into pellets to reuse them for manufacture of fishing nets etc is one such idea. Another idea was to collect African algae from our water bodies and make fibre out of it like coir fibre, thereby saving our environment. One more idea was to use the packing wood that is used in the containers that arrive at Cochin and Vallarpadam to manufacture furniture. Our office had such furniture.

‘Predict’ is an educational initiative of Com. MB Rajesh, MP Palakkad for +1 & +2 students of his Constituency who are brilliant in studies and financially backward, in association with reputed organizations in Palakad working in the diverse realms of social welfare and Research. Including the role of Convenor, Darsana is playing a vital role conducting this programme. Darsana is involved in the selection of right candidates by doing the survey in all the areas of the constituency and also Darsana members are sponsoring 10-15 students every year part of this programme. Several more ideas based on the vast expertise of our members can still emerge. One recent thought process was to manufacture sanitary napkins from banana fibre.

Let us truly become a world renowned socially relevant body of professionals.  There is enough space in today’s society for such an organisation to make a huge impact.  We need to fill that vacuum. Let us truly become a socio political movement of technical experts. 

More than anything darsana is a feel. A feel of oneness. A platform to meet our comrades,  discuss and sharpen our thoughts and arrive at workable ideas that can be implemented to help the needy. Let this bonding get stronger and smarter and let our society get benefited out of it…