27 Sep 2013, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham60 Celebrations
Shashi Tharoor, the Hon. Minister of HRD, Government of India, gave an inspiring speech about Amma, her life spent in the service of humanity, and the wonderful occasion that her 60th Birthday brings. He was launching the Amrita RITE-Rural India Tablet Education for After-school Tutoring and Adult Literacy to be used in 101 adopted villages,on the occasion of Amma’s 60th birthday at Amritapuri on September 27.
Amrita CREATE has been at the forefront of the MAM’s initiatives in creating user-friendly technology to foster basic education and literacy. Today, Amrita CREATE officially launched a unique tablet-based learning program called Amrita RITE (Amrita Rural India Tablet Education), offered to the world. Amrita RITE will be an integral part after school tutoring programmes and adult-literacy programmes in the 101 villages it is adopting its just launched Amrita Self-Reliant Village Programme.
“We give gifts to a person on her Birthday. But today, Mataji, as she has done for 60 years, is giving us a gift. Amma’s birthday means that She is giving us all a gift, not taking anything. Her lesson has been a lesson of giving, and today also, as she has done for 60 years, she is giving to all of us. We have seen so many programmes here: Disaster relief for Uttarakhand, Medical aid for small children, help for the homeless, school learning, electronic tablets, book releases.”
He felt that the contributions made by Amma to society were not just about simple needs and wants. “For betterment of society, people approach elected officials to do this or the other, all for social development. But, everyone comes to Amma for one thing, something you cannot get from these officials – Peace of mind and Love. Through her darshan, mall their sorrows vanish.”
“Throughout Kerala’s history, many spiritual leaders have walked this land – Jagad Guru Adi Sankara, who began the spiritual rediscovery of Hinduism. Today, we can add Amma, to that illustrious list. However, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi is unique. Adi Sankara was a spiritual leader. Sree Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamikal were not only spiritual leaders, but were also social reformers. But in terms of social reforms, only one among these four individuals stand out—and that is Amma. We are celebrating our Amma who stands for public service, service of humanity – that is her specialty!
I remember another great soul –not a Malayali—Swami Vivekananda. He walked this land, 120 years ago, through Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram, finally reaching Kanyakumari, where He meditated, and emboldened his resolve. But, when He did so, He always reiterated—why can’t sanyasis go from village to village, helping people to become better, to become literate – not just spiritually, but through all these social projects that we have seen examples of today.
Even in my own field of education, we have seen such wonderful contributions from Amrita University and the Amrita Research Establishment. A-VIEW has become a major project, which we have taken on here at the Ministry of Human Resource Development, and which we appreciate, as a tool to connect the Universities and enhance E learning.
He concluded by stressing the long lasting impact of Amma’s love and service, and what really needs to be cherished on such a landmark occasion.
“Amma, your legacy is for a lifetime. We celebrate a day today, Her Birthday. We also have to celebrate Her Life, Her future and the gifts She has given to all of us for years to come.”