The National Service Scheme active in colleges across Delhi University in association with Helpiez has been conducting tree plantation drives in a number of colleges this month. The NSS society of Hindu College held one on the 17th of September and the event saw participation from students across DU colleges such as Kirori Mal College, Indraprastha College for Women, Kalindi College and Shivaji College. Volunteers were divided into 4 groups and and took turns and worked on each of the front lawns of the college grounds. A similar event was held in Ramjas College in which nearly 200 students actively took part. Helpiez intends on conducting similar events in other colleges across the city including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Netaji Subhash Institite of Technology and Delhi Technological University as well.

An organisation created for the sole purpose of encouraging participation in community service activities among the youth, Helpiez feels that the biggest loophole in the NSS program of Delhi University is the lack of unity across colleges. With the belief that there is more power in unity than division, the organisation intends to use tree plantation as a common platform to bring NSS societies across colleges together who at the moment tend to operate only under the names of their respective colleges. The organisation intends on covering more colleges as it simultaneously attempts to conduct open NSS events in selected areas across the city. Having acquired a plot in Mayur Vihar already, they intend on holding their first open event wherein students from across colleges who have already seen the impact of plantation drives can take part and make a difference.

Although Helpiez has worked with numerous private and government bodies including the Ministry of Environment and the Delhi Parks and Garden Society, they wish to thank the following students without whose support none of this would have been possible: Prachi Sharma (KMC), Monika Bari(IPCW), Chirag Kalra(Ramjas), Aarna(Gargi), Arshad Nihal(Hindu), Shridhar Singh(Hansraj), Neha Balram(Kalindi), Tanya Chadha(Shivaji), Rashmi (IIT-D), Gaurav and Garima (NSIT), Nikhil (DTU) and Gaurav (JNU).

To organise a similar event in your collage, contact Sumit from Helpiez at 9650879552


Shraman Gosh

[email protected]

The National Service Scheme of Kirori Mal College in association with Loving India Foundation organised their event – Supath, 2014 on the 1st of April, 2014. To commemorate this event, Major General G.D. Bakshi gave an imposing speech on Nationalism. He said, “One should not feel or be like a second citizen in his/ her own country. It is very important for all of us to be proud of our nation.”

Shourya Roy, Sidhant Sharma and Shashwat coordinated this event and conducted activities. Children from Chandrawal village and North Campus were invited to celebrate the event with the students. Activities such as Dancing, Painting and a Lemon Race were conducted for these children. The painting and craftwork done by these children were kept on sale.


Kavi Samelan was the next activity, wherein an open platform was given to all students for sharing their poetic skills. Alumni of Hans Raj College and Kirori Mal College also attended this event. As a small gift, clothes were given to these children.

” We are soon planning to distribute clothes and basic amenity goods on a larger scale compared to the distribution today. ” said one of the coordinators, Sidhant Sharma.

According to the norm, extracurricular activities are defined as being outside the regular curriculum of a school or college. But under Delhi University’s Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), sports and Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) have been pinned as obligatory. Cultural Activities including NCC, Sports, NSS and Extra Curricular Activity are an integral part of the programme and all students will have to take up a cultural activity in Semester III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII in some form.

“In a way, making ECAs compulsory will boost up the societies’ performance, but on the other hand it will be more of a burden on the authorities and societies as well”, said Ayushi, Member of Alumna Cell, LSR College.

As per the curriculum, students will have to latch on papers like Integrating Mind, Body & Heart (IMBH) in the first two semesters and Cultural Activity (CA) from the third to the eighth semester. Indoor and outdoor teaching like visiting a museum or showing an informative movie and other fieldwork are some of the threshold activities included.

Making sports and ECA mandatory was objected by several teachers across the University. According to them, imposing Sports or ECA on over 1.5 lakh university students is absurd. It is like imposing homogeneity.

Arshiya, Member of NSS, Jesus & Mary College says “Compulsory ECAs will be helpful in identifying hidden talent rather than the usual focus on rote knowledge. There will be mixed crowd, including people who are passionate and others lacking interest and one can’t really hope to get the best of a student this way”

To ensure that all students get access to the activities they want and need, should ECAs be part of the curriculum? Let’s canvas the matter further.


  • In some countries, the educational systems are only based on fixed curriculum with a number of books and learning materials that most people consider them as insufficient or restrictive for the student’s comprehension skills and imaginations. Although it is now believed that today’s the best educational systems constitute not only a curriculum but also extra-curricular social or cultural activities which have many advantages like increase in sociability, learning new things and better motivation.
  • Due to the fact that people will spend some time on extra-curricular activities in addition to studies, as a result, they will feel motivated, emotionally better and ready to take the challenge of studying varieties.
  • Companies are looking for all-rounded students. While high marks serve as a testament to an applicant’s studiousness and intelligence, they do not indicate the type of person the applicant is. These activities lessen the likelihood of spurring anti social behavior and increase career prospects.


  • Balancing academics work with extracurricular activities can be stressful for some students, especially when an abundance of activities (including travel!) takes up valuable time they need for studies or completing assignments.
  •  Students will have to stay out later than usual which can be tiring.
  • A lot of them may find it difficult to get the right activity.
  • Adding to all of these, the way societies function in most colleges is deeply hierarchical. So, while one might take up an activity due to the ‘compulsory notion’, making a mark in that field is not guaranteed. This might demotivate a lot of students.

One of the spotlighting features of the proposed scheme is that students will be awarded credit points for different papers as well as co-curricular activities. So if a student shines at sport, he can seek credit for it and avoid studying for a paper.

When festivity begins with a dash of pristine goodness and the intent to spread joy across every nook of our diversified community, you know there isn’t a louder thud of cheer that shall float around for the rest of the season. Imbibing this wholesome philosophy of generosity, Kamala Nehru College marked the season of festivity by celebrating ‘Adrith’ , an NGO cum Diwali mela in collaboration with Delhi States AIDS Control Society on 18th October 2012. As humble as was the purpose, the commencement of the event was far thunderous and enthralling. With an inauguration by the esteemed Principal, Ms. Minothi Chatterjee, what trailed was a mesmerizing kathak performance by Mr. Sunny Sushoday followed by a performance by the dance society of the college, ‘Nupur’. The fashion society, Glitz hypnotically walked to claim the spot of the most popular society of the college once again. An awe inspiring Rajasthani folk dance performance by children suffering from thalassemia rendered an atmosphere defined by pure charisma. Witnessing a resolve worth admiration, out on display were a number of NGO stalls that stirred the latent string of responsibility in every individual as was evident. Among the many who made their presence noted were Art of Living, National Federation of the Blind, Parivartan Sandesh, Manzil and Smile. These NGOs are testimony of change making and evolution in their respective spheres of social work. ‘Kayakalp’, an initiative by SIFE SRCC which aims to empower puppeteers of low income groups and ‘Project Akshar’ which is an endeavour by SIFE SSCBS, captivated a mammoth crowd. A meticulous effort was made by conducting several health check-up camps like the blood sugar camp, homeopathy camp and the national thalassemia camp. The event was a host to many sensitizing activities, with an aim to educate the youth about blood donation. The Poster making competition saw a roaring participation and entailed cash prizes worth Rs 10000 along with the street plays which were a gripping power house of action. In dearth of absolutely nothing, the event housed frolic, reverberating jam sessions, scrumptious food stalls and recreational acts of shopping. A power pact performance by the rock band ‘Zzid’ and an absolutely lyrical performance by the Bihu dancers of Pragjyotish Bihu Husori Group rewardingly concluded the event. But amidst all the flair throughout the event, what stood out as the hero was the pure resolve of righteousness, vigour and honest intent of integration of the society to give back with all humility. “It was just very satisfying working for the college in the name of a good cause” says Shivangi heaving a sigh of contentment.]]>

Much has been said about the first ever Gyanodaya Express – the educational train journey for NSS & NCC girl students. Aimed at broadening the horizons of learning beyond the classrooms, this excursion toured Ahmedabad, Wardha, Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru and Mysore this summer. But did the journey actually live up to all the hype? We get to you a first-hand account of Gyanodaya and an answer to that question.

July 8, 7:30 am, Safdarjung station: Aboard the Gyanodaya Express, we had little idea about the journey we were going to embark upon. Only high excitement levels. Pure adrenaline rush. A traditional welcome with shehnais and garlanding at the station awaited us followed by a warm send off by the Vice Chancellor himself. Counting heads, shifting seats, and managing the luggage, 940 girls aboard the train started their journey of knowing one’s own country, the Gandhian way!

Day long journey till our first stop, Ahmedabad, and we were all assigned multiple projects, given books and laptops with internet dongles so as to facilitate the process of preparing travelogues, book reviews and reports. The announcements of singing, sketching, photography and poetry competitions kept us on our toes. Sounds of antaksharis and dumb charades echoed the compartments and the tinkling sounds of raindrops outside made life in the moving train absolutely blissful.

July 9-10 – Destination One – Ahmedabad – We deboarded only to find Mercedes Benz buses waiting for us (ooh yeah!) to take us to our respective hotels. After wash and change, we were taken to Tri Mandir followed by Vaishno Devi Mandir (yes, Gods first, after all!). Greeted by Bapu’s three bandars, we spent the evening by the banks of the Sabarmati river at the Sabarmati Ashram which gave us a first hand experience of life at Gandhiji’s residence.

Interactions with the students of Gujarat Vidyapeeth the next day was followed by a visit to the magnificent Akshardham Temple – an architectural delight, a beautifully carved stone edifice, surrounded by expansive gardens with the backdrop of heavy and heavenly monsoon rains. The buses took us straight back to the station – where the Gyanodaya express was waiting to be boarded for our next destination – Mumbai.

July 11-12 – Arrival at aamchi Mumbai and departure straight to The Naval Base, Colaba. Our excitement knew no bounds because well within sight were a fleet of ships and frigates of the Indian Navy all marked with initials INS – Indian Navy Ships. Our contingent was taken inside INS Viraat – the second largest ship (aircraft carrier) in the Indian Navy. The disciplined (and handsome!) Navy officers not only exhibited how a ship this big rules the sea but also gave an insight into the tough life of the defense wing of the country.
Colaba to Juhu was a journey to remember – crossing Santacruz, Ville Parle, Bandra, Marine Drive, Worli Sea Link, Taj Hotel and the ‘dwellings’ of The Ambanis, The Jindals, The Bachchans and The Khans and Kapoors caught our fancy. An evening at the Juhu Beach with friends in tow, what more could one ask for!

Day two at Mumbai began with a visit to the Marine Drive, the famous Mahalaxmi temple and the Dargah of Haji Ali. No stopping at Gateway of India while in Mumbai and giving the girls no time for shopping – surely a criminal offence of it’s kind! With long faces, we were dropped at the station at 1 pm while the train was scheduled for 6!

July 13-14 – Destination Goa, Let’s give time a break! The land of silver sands, grey rocks and rushing waters awaited the Delhi damsels! Worth a mention is our Goan Resort with the pool and spa that refreshed our tired travelling souls and the day was spent at the beautiful and picturesque Calangute, Baga and Anjuna beaches and shacks that looked majestic in the monsoon rains!

Being among the lucky few who had the opportunity to peep into the second half of the defense wing and visit the air base in Goa, found it an extraordinary experience. Fascinated by the grandeur of INS Hansa and the expertise of the Indian pilots, we saluted our security wings for safeguarding the nation. The Portuguese architecture of the Goan Churches caught our awe and the afternoon was spent at the Old Goa Church after which we returned to our hotel-on-wheels, the Gyanodaya Express!

July 15 – The Garden City of Bengaluru beckoned us! A visit to the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) provided a sneak-peak into the space world and the working of the satellites. We made the most of our leisure free evening at Brigade road and MG Road satisfying our junk food appetite!

July 16 – City of Palaces, Mysore was our destination next! Starting with a visit to Tipu Sultan’s Museum to handicraft shopping and buying the famous Mysore silk sarees for our mothers back home, we girls spent hours in the streets of Mysore culminating it with a visit to the Chamunda Devi Temple. Next stop was the profusely decorated Mysore Palace, the majestic, mystical and mesmerizing beauty of which left us absolutely spellbound!

July 17 – Back on the tracks (quite literally!) as it was another full day in the train heading towards Nagpur and Wardha, our last stops. The projects were in full swing with everyone occupied head on. The library-on-wheels, providing us food for soul and the doctor aboard attending the homesick-ness cases!

July 18 – Nagpur neglected, we were dropped off directly at Wardha. The university arranged for a hundred and thirty Innova cars to take us to Wardha University. Their VC addressed the DU-ites after which we headed towards the Village of Service, Sevagram. The journey in its last lap made us very ambivalent about the fact that we were returning to Delhi. While we were making the most of the last moments of being together, the night saw an unforeseen and unfortunate event of the express being looted at around 2 in the night. Laptops, purses, chains, mobiles, cameras and other valuables in coaches 8 to 15 were robbed leaving the entire train shocked and terrified in the middle of the night. In spite of high security provided by the university, the unwanted visitors had a field day as they managed to have their way. After the investigations and FIR formalities and a delay of five hours, we headed towards Destination Delhi.

The goods – We owned an entire train, the staff not only made sure we were comfortable with leaving our luggage and carrying just one bag for two days to every state but also took care of the lost and found. As promised, the buses and hotels were all air conditioned. Providing internet did help us stay connected with our family through skype besides facilitating making of the projects. Also, we stuck to the itinerary, so everything went as planned.

The bads – Food. Main problem. Food. Sure, they hired the best catering services of the railway industry and having it while in the train was never a problem, but we had little idea this food would be given to us thrice a day for 12 days, even in the hotels! But a Delhiite’s appetite is never complete without hogging on KFC, Mcdonalds, Pizza Hut and the chatpata street food – thepla, khakhra, dhokla while in Ahmedabad, panipuri and vada pav in Mumbai, Sea food in Goa and Sambhar Dosa while in Bengaluru and Mysore, we had it all by cutting on our leisure hours or getting it room delivered!
Another important thing that the trip organizers overlooked was arranging for a guide to guide. We wish the security agencies were vigilant enough not to spoil the trip of those who lost their valuables. Little hiccups here and there like not letting us wear shorts(even knee-length) on the beach or not giving us time to shop in Mumbai, did not matter much with friends around to have a merry time with!

Overall, the journey was an experience of a lifetime and also a wonderful initiative taken by the University and well conceived by Professor Dinesh Singh. Not only did it teach us lessons of trust, patience and endurance, but the unexpected and unusual intrigued us to delve into the place’s very heart as life drifted by in slow motion for us to discover its simple joys…


Surbhi Bhatia
[email protected]