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Shaping young minds through heritage education

Neha Das,Oct 17, 2012

ITIHAAS - an NGO, has taken the initiative of teaching students about the City’s history.

We all know that learning about Indian history is the most boring thing for any child. The subject, generally considered among the more boring ones in schools has found a way to reach the younger generation, through Smita Vats, who wants the young to look into the past - differently. Smita - founder, director Itihaas, an NGO, conducts study tours and walks to connect students to Delhi’s rich history.

Itihaas is an educational trust born out of a concern that children were getting increasingly alienated from their traditions and heritage and came into being in 2004. The organisation conducts study tours taking learning beyond the classrooms where children are invited for an interactive study tour; listen to stories; build relationships and connect more deeply to the collective past. Its network involves students from varied socio-economic backgrounds and is gradually including students from lesser privileged backgrounds as well.

Metrolife recently went for a tour of Red Fort with school children who confessed to have fallen in love with the Red Fort after knowing the amazing facts about it. “I loved the tour as I came to know how the Mughals lived, how they dressed, their lifestyles and their sons and progeny. It was so fascinating to know how lavishly they lived. I loved the interior of the Fort too,” says Vani Juneja, a Std VII student of Modern Vidya Niketan.

The group was also seen shopping for souvenirs at the stalls inside the Fort while the few teachers accompanying them were really having a tough time getting them to stay at one place. “It was a very informative walk,” says Preeti Sahai, a teacher later commented. “They were really curious about Red Fort’s history. They have a chapter in history coming up and that is why we opted for it as it will benefit them while going through the chapter.”

Itihaas’ initiative has seen numerous walks and tours across the City with participation of over 45,000 students from 380 member schools. “At Itihaas, we are constantly giving children an opportunity to look at their heritage in their own unique ways, pick the best from the past and weave it into the future that they are steadily building for themselves. The children establish a direct connect with their tradition and legacy by imbibing sights and sounds of traditions of our rich past.”

According to another student, the picnic-cum-study tour which highlighted and taught them about the lifestyles and history of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan will also help them gain some extra marks in their examination (laughs the group of girls sharing the secret)!


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