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As a proud Indian, I feel extremely disheartened each time I hear about our country being in conflict
and sometimes 'in a state of war' with our fellow Indians. My vision forPlanet Harmony was to
integrate into the mainstream, students from politically disturbed areas of our country and to help
them to be ambassadors of harmony and development. We plan to reach out to children from areas
such as Jammu & Kashmir, the Naxal-affected areas and the North Eastern states and encourage
them to have a positive impact on their communities. We intend to help them build around
themselves an environment conduciveto amity, integrity & development. The credo of Planet
Harmony is 'FromConflict to Harmony'.We also plan to use the medium of the outdoors and soft
adventure sports to hone the participants’ communication,team building and leadership skills.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, said "an eye foran eye only ends up making the whole
world blind". As proud Indians, let us join hands and be the change that we wish to see in our India
Ajeet Bajaj, Padma Shri Awardee
Fellow,Aspen Global Leadership Network
The vision of the Planet Harmony programme was to identify students (between 16 - 18 years)
& teachers from disturbed areas of our country and get them a host/ buddy in the National Capital
Region (Delhi).The buddies and host families were to be carefully selected and sensitized. We
intended to bring the J&K, North-Eastand Chattisgarh students to Delhi and their buddies were to
host the visitors while they are in Delhi. Later, the students and teachers along with their buddies
were to be taken fora weekto a Snow Leopard Adventures Camp whichis a scenic, safe and secure
location where wewill run a programme similar to the one run by Aspen Global Leadership School.
Planet Harmony planned to have a post-programme 'project' component and a follow-up
component. The project is expected to further the programme credo ‘From Conflict to Harmony’
and ProjectHarmony has plans to give visiting participants a education grant once they start their
project. During the programme, the faculty wereto emphasize on values-based leadership and were
to encourage participants to be thinking citizen volunteers.
Planet Harmony 2016 started off on the 04th of June. Participants from across the country came in
and were introduced with their respective hosts. It was the first time that they got to meet each
other in person. The guest participants being new to such an environment and out of their comfort
zones, felt new to the wholeenvironment initially. But, after staying along with their buddy’s family
for a day, they acclimatizedwell with their surroundings and started bonding with each other
On the 06th of June, the Planet Harmony contingent boarded the train forRishikesh forCamp
Panther. The participants were initially a little reserved and not all had made conversation with
each other, other than their respective buddies.
Upon reaching the station at Haridwar, everyone boarded the awaiting coachesand then wepushed
off to Camp Panther, brimming with excitement. By now, the students and teachers, had begun
mixing with each other and had started having a good time. Everyone received a warm and hearty
welcomeat Camp Panther. As westarted off with the activities, the children came closer to each
other and a feeling of togetherness had begun to take shape.
The classroom sessions of course, was not a welcome idea forthe students but we made sure that
they had fun along with the teachings, this made them more involvedin the session and after a
while, they actually started looking forwardto it. The foodwas up to mark but the greatest task for
us was to wakethem up every day and pull them out of their tents foreach and every activity.
There were students whodespite being young, showed signs of maturity already. The sessions
were fun, yet the highlight was the treasure hunt whichI believe would have been more practical, if
they wouldhave involved the adventure activities forfinding the clues. Also, the technology at
Camp is almost outdated and there should at least be a Laptop specially for the Camp, as most of the
time, the speaker would stop working, the projector needed to be tuned again and again and all the
More staff should be involvedin this program as the requirements for such a group is
unpredictable, vast and man-intensive. It was a blessing in disguise that I had Marc whowas always
with me and we workedas an effectiveteam as I always had a person on standby ready to help me
out. Another issue whichcould have been avoided, was travelling on a Sunday, as it gets crowded
on such days.
Besides this, the Camp team always provided support when needed and ensured that the
arrangements and meals were spot on. Everythingat the Camp was spic and span, and the staff got
involvedand never did miss an opportunity to get involvedwith the students and teachers alike.
After a few days, every participant became involved and took care of each other like responsible
adults, people understood the character traits of each and every individual, including the trainers
and the staff.
Of course, being from an economically backwardregion, the Chhattisgarh team had a language
barrier but, slowly and gradually, even they got involvedlike the others. The trainers also were
constantly judging the characteristics of each and every individual on each stage and accordingly
planning their next interactive session.
Ms. Ranjana, Mr. Rohit and Mr. Raman all played their roles effectively whenneeded. Marc, being
new to the company never showed signs of giving up and it almost feltthat he was a seasoned
Snowleopard Tour leader even though, this was his first time to the Camp.
Evenafter missing our train and staying in the buses for 6 hours straight, stuck in traffic,the kids
showed patience and maturity whichwas a sign that all the things taught to them in the Workshops
(classrooms) during their stay at the Camp, had come across and met its objectives. Waiting hours
in traffic,eating out at a Dhaba, things like these whichwere new experiences for many, challenges
for some, and yet they came across all of this whichin itself was testament to the fact that Planet
Harmony was a success.
The day we were to return, grief and remorse was evident on the facesof the students and the
teachers. It was not only them who feltbad about leaving the Camp, the grief was somewhere in us
also as all these days, looking overthem constantly, wehad also formed a bond with them and the
level of attachment was inevitable.
Meeting the Honorable Vice-President of India was the highlight of the program and it was a life
changing experience formost, and the students and teachers participated and shared their thoughts
with Dr. Hamid Ansari at his residence on the 13th of June.
In just a span of a week, everybody became family for each other and it was heartwarming to know
that the Host students had thought of taking the others out fordinner.
In fact,just a few days or a few weeks before, all of them were just some names on a piece of paper,
but at the end of it all, they were more than what any Human Being wouldbe.