Inaugural address for Swashikshan – Indian Association of Homeschoolers, webinar.

Inauguration of the National Body.

Swashikshan – Indian Association of Homeschoolers

Mumbai – 14th July, 2012.


Beloved Swashiksharthis, this is a proud moment for me and all of us who are pioneers of this movement in India. It is more than just homeschooling, unschooling or non formal education. It is a movement away from a system that no longer serves us, taking full responsibility for our own and our children’s learning journeys.

Pioneers move on uncharted territory, there are many unforeseen difficulties and some well considered ones as well. The launch of Swashikshan as a national body brings us all together, and is an important step towards helping us support each other, share information, learning and resources. We each have special gifts that we can share through Swashikshan, so please do not look for leaderhip in others, and let us set an example for our children in taking initiative and responsibility in shaping this community according to our real needs, rather than the perceived needs according to some distant decision makers. Just as we have walked out of the school system to forge our own learning paths, so should we create new kinds of self organizing systems as happen in the natural world.

Whereas this is not a time to separate ourselves with religious, national, state or cultural divisions, it is important to remember that we are Indians, and there are many special things about being Indian that we can bring to the world community:


The most important thing is our immense diversity, and our ability to tolerate and absorb this diversity. Swashikshan or self learning helps us protect, renew and deepen this diversity. As Swashiksharthis we do not have to succumb to rules and regulations, curricula and standardization. We can cook the food our grandmothers cooked because there is no rush to make a dry dabba for school lunch. We can wear clothes that are comfortable and allow free movement as there is no need of a uniform to confine our bodies. We can be barefoot all day, receiving all that is to be received from the earth through our feet. We can stay quiet in one place or roam where our hearts take us to discover all that Learning has to offer. We do not have to listen to what others think is important or good for us and our future. We can discover and experience everything for ourselves first hand. This personal freedom can help us move from merely tolerating and preserving diversity, to celebrating it! Preservation of diversity in our ways of being helps preserve bio diversity as will be clear from my next point.

Deep experience of the earth.

India is also home to many indigenous tribals, communities and sub communities. They have not yet been conditioned by modern education and are still in touch with much traditional knowledge and wisdom. Much of the knowledge and wisdom has to do with their direct experience of nature and their reverence of Mother Earth. Hardly a week passes by without some Swashiksharthi telling me some new story about what they learned from a so-called uneducated person, including about medicinal plants from little children. These little children living in remote places are the original Swashiksharthis. It is their way of learning that we have much to learn from. Recently I was keen on finding out about non invasive dental healing, and within the week I received information of the same both from India and the US, from unschoolers, who I am terming Swashiksharthis or self learners . All the information I need has been coming to me like this, before I even ask. This is because I have been what I am beginning to call a Whole Being Learner. A learner who is using more than just mental faculties for learning. As you open your being to learning, you will find that you have many more faculties than you ever learned about in school. Sri Aurobindo and Rudolf Steiner speak of these, but it is better to not even read them, but rather open yourself to directly experience all the learning that is yours. (This could lead you to reading for further learning, but reading should not necessarily be the starting point.) This leads me to the third important contribution that India can make to world learning.

Our deep spiritual traditions.

All ancient cultures including ours have much to contribute to the world, of the wisdom of ancient seers and sages. There is much wisdom that is in our very DNA. Through our languages and culture we can regain our connection with that which is deep within us. We have been torn away from it for two to four centuries, and it is time for us to go in search of that deep connection again, also through direct experience and practice. (Books provide backup information and knowledge, but should not be given too much weightage.)

Jobs and careers may serve some people. But there is much Work to be done in this world, and it is mostly outside the job market and more a calling than a career.   This Work gives people a chance to understand life better, sustain life better, and is best done alone or in small interdependent groups who share a similar vision. Each of these visionary groups or as in a recent video I saw, solutionary people and groups will be giving themselves and the world so much, that jobs and careers pale by comparison. It is my dream that Swashiksharthis will show the way to educationists in India and worldwide, authentic human beings who are true to themselves and their calling, thus creating a vibrant way of living on Mother eARTh.

You are the courageous people who love your children so much that you have sought to personally care for them against the very strong pressure to send them to school. Let us not waste more time and energy than necessary on formalities, worries for the future and issues with the government. Let us instead be inspired from the very core of our beings to live a life of meaning, and set our children free to do the same.


Urmila Samson.


E mail:

Mobile: 9422330377.



  1. bharatim said

    your passion rings through the words. thank you for sharing.

  2. ashleymistry said

    Thank you, Urmila, for these inspiring words. Guess more has happened since ’12, the date here.

    Have you sent your suggestions, experiences to the new Government, Ed Dept – or on the net to ‘MyGov’? The new PM has invited all to interact there!

    Do you know her?

    Home-grown solutions to life’s little problemsK. Sarumathi · inShare The Hindu Her Atri Herbal Nursery has 15 plant varieties. She also has ready-made garden kits for people. Photo: R. Ravindran TOPICS Home & garden Subashree has proved a home garden is all it takes to have good health, good looks and a good life You have cold, she has the cure. You want to look good, she has the beauty solutions. You want to go green, she has the expertise to show you how. If Subashree Vijay of Alwarthirunagar has a ready answer for any problem, it is because of her garden, pesticide-free and organic. Subashree’s love for gardening knows no bounds, a fact illustrated by how she has let creepers cover the four walls of her house, on the outside. The backyard, terrace and every other available space has been utilised for growing plants. She cares for these plants as if they were her children. She offers others all her expertise on growing a home garden. “I have always had an interest in gardening. It however took me a long time to get into it full-time. Now, every vegetable we cook is home-grown, pesticide-free and completely organic. Even my beauty products are all natural and made by me, at home,” says Subashree, who takes a particular interest in nurturing medicinal plants. In her terrace are various herbs that can cure aliments. There are also vegetables such as lady’s finger, varieties of gourd, tomato, brinjal, beans, four types of chillies, 12 varieties of spinach and numerous flowering plants. The organic fertiliser used in the garden is made at home, mixing buttermilk and coconut milk. “I ferment and then sprinkle it on the plants. It is growth booster and results can be seen in a week. It is also safe to handle. Also, all garden wastes are swept and put into the pots to be turned into manure,” says Subashree, who also supplies liquid fertilizer to organic stores along with soil mixture and grow bags. Her Atri Herbal nursery has 15 plant varieties, which have some use in the kitchen, are easy to grow and multiply. She also has ready-made garden kits for people, where she grows the plants and then gives them away. She also makes face packs and hair oil from the plants in her house and sells them under the banner of Atri Health Products. Her plans for the future include helping people set up their own terrace gardens. “They need extra care and regular maintenance. You need to have passion for growing plants to have a blooming garden,” she adds. Subashree can be contacted at 96771 01627. Keywords: Subashree Vijay, home gardens, organic fertiliser, herbal nursery, Home-grown solutions to life’s little problems Home-grown solutions to life’s little problems Subashree has proved a home garden is all it takes to have good health, good looks and a good life View on Preview by Yahoo

    Thanks again for the Self Learning Inaugural words! Take care!

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