It has often been said that education is a fundamental right
of every person, yet millions of women in rural India have no opportunity
for good education. Many rural areas in India do have elementary and high
schools, and, if the parents so desire, it is possible for a girl living in
a village to receive high school education. However, it is extremely difficult
for a girl in a village to receive a college education. Most of the villagers
cannot afford to send their children to live in a city to attend a college.
Most of the parents in the villages do not allow their daughters to live away
from home. Thus, most children, especially girls, born in the villages have
no opportunity to receive college education.
Gandhi College has been established in Mirdha village to provide
opportunities for college education to students in rural areas of Ballia district,
especially to rural women and students from poor families. The primary focus of the college is to help, educate and empower
women. Women are taught to react, respond and demand equal rights, respect
their bodies, and take care of their health.
Gandhi College has another specific purpose. It is to inculcate
the Gandhian philosophy of truth and nonviolence, and the principles of honesty,
perseverance and selflessness among students, teachers, and the staff involved
with the college. Gandhi College serves to persuade villagers that it is possible
to have a college where no copying or cheating is allowed during the tests,
and attendance in the class is a prerequisite to appear at the final exam.
The hope is that the establishment of an academically excellent educational
institution in a rural area that is managed with honesty and integrity will
also be a catalyst for the future growth of such institutions in other rural
College was established in 2000 with support from Prof. J. Shukla under the
sponsorship of a non-profit society in India: CGVS (Chandran Gramin Vikas
Sansthan). CGVS is registered under the Societies Registration Act (1860,
India), the registration number is V/11690. CGVS is a tax-exempt organization
as per U/S 80 G of Income Tax Act (1961, India). CGVS has received the approval
from the Ministry of Home Affairs of India to receive contributions from foreign
organizations. Gandhi College also receives support from the Institute for Global
Education, Equality of Opportunity, and Prosperity (IGEP) which is a non-profit 501-(c)-3, tax-exempt
charitable organization registered in Maryland, USA. IGEP was established specifically for supporting Gandhi College to provide education and training to poor, rural students, especially women.
Gandhi College is managed by a management committee consisting
of members from the village and the surrounding areas. The members of the
management committee represent local farmers and intellectuals from that region.
The manager of the college is Mr. Shriram Shukla. He holds a B. Com. Degree
from Banaras Hindu University (BHU). He came to the USA on a permanent resident
visa in 1984, but after living here for a few years, returned to India. He
has made a commitment to work for rural development in India. The Rector and the Founding Principal of
Gandhi College is Professor S.P. Upadhyay who has a distinguished career in
education and research. Dr. R.G. Upadhyay is the Principal, and Dr. Sunita Chaudhary is the Vice Principal of Gandhi College.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “My life is my message.”
Gandhi College tries to imitate that philosophy by conducting its activities
honestly and openly.