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Education Through Entertainment: Who is Aakash and Why You Should Know About Him…

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 • Tamil Comments

Education Through Entertainment: Who is Aakash and Why You Should Know About Him…

Aakash Dhandapani is no regular 22-year-old. In a world where most people are running a race to mint money in the name of happiness, this youngster seeks his own happiness in that of others. But the way he goes about it is a little different. Presenting to you an inspiring journey of a vibrant youth leader who can help us get in touch with the humanity within us. 

Despite a world of opportunities present for him after he graduated from Christ University in 2018, Aakash chose to dedicate himself to service as much as possible. Currently working as a Business Development Associate for the Hindu Economic Forum (HEF), Bharat, and a Theatre Lead for Aikya, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Bengaluru, he makes time to give talks in educational institutions, reaching out to youngsters across the country. As a Theatre Lead, Aakash has been involved in creating and directing plays about relevant issues such as food wastage, saving the environment, and the importance of water and air, aiming to simultaneously entertain and enlighten youth. 

In the talks he gives students, Aakash focuses on crucial areas that are much-needed components that the education system needs to incorporate. He defines the current education system as a “doctor who prescribes the same medicine to all his patients who have different diseases.” He dreams of an education that not only integrates creativity and individuality but also respects and values them. He asks “How does it make sense to judge every individual with the same test when each person is unique and has their own talents?”, a question all schools and parents need to ask themselves. Aakash addresses topics such as reflection of choices, taking pride in leading life with values, subtle growth of aggression in modern lifestyle and ignorance of social responsibility. What he capitalizes on is not his knowledge, but his ability to relate to the youngsters with his own experiences. He incorporates a lot of humour into his speeches, making them relatable. There is no preaching involved in the talks, but rather he provides a mirror to students so they can look at and reflect on themselves. 

The choices of the youth today not only determine their own lives, they also play a significant role in the definition of society. Aakash explains that sometimes we also have a tendency to take pride in practices that may not help us in the long run, be it bunking classes, being aggressive, or neglecting our health with our habits. Somewhere we seem to be losing track of the purpose of our lives. Many of us don’t recognize the privileges we have, and to top that, we ignore those who are suffering without even their basic needs met. All these topics are not abstract and philosophical, they represent realities that have to be looked into by each and every one of us. 

What sets Aakash apart from others in the field seems to be his approach. His relationship with theatre is 14 years strong, and while initially, he enjoyed the recognition, it has now evolved into an emotion for him which he uses everywhere possible to create an impact. He aims to implement theatre in order to empower students. In a world where entertainment is omnipresent through the lifespan, almost as a need, Aakash believes that theatre is a beautiful tool that has great potential. He feels entertainment is the most appropriate medium to reach out to the youth because it has a personal touch that acts as a stepping stone for further influence and introspection. Drama provides a balance of entertainment and enlightenment that is effective in moving people like no other medium. Cinema is one proof of that. But what if that were to be used with a purpose to enlighten? 

Aakash believes that the quantity in social service doesn’t really make a difference, each person counts. He shares that his inspiration includes eminent persons such as Chhatrapati Shivaji, Rani Lakshmi Bai, APJ Abdul Kalam and MS Dhoni, for their courage, integrity, patriotism and above all ‘Dharma,’ or leading life in its path. Just like them, he believes that when on national duty, everything else can wait. Every day is happy for him as he gets a chance to help someone in need. Being able to light up another’s life even if for one second, keeps him going. He says: “I feel help is needed abundantly. So I don’t need any more motivation.” He also shares how his work changed his life from performing for himself to dedicating himself for others. He says there are no holidays in service “because someone always needs you”. Serving others, his happiness and contentment have increased and he feels complete, but he credits all he is doing not to himself, but to God’s grace. 

Talking about his vision, Aakash says that he dreams that those in need get three meals a day because hunger should not be a weakness anyone falls prey to and is exploited for. He also wants to help in evolving the education system “in line with one’s consciousness” to the extent that “when one hears anything related to education, they should feel happy and smile.” Aakash also aspires to “bring equality as a feeling more than a practice” in day to day life where being equal doesn’t require any effort but is inherent. When asked what message he would like to give others, he says believes in three things, to spread love, to develop willpower and to be able to communicate effectively. In the future, he aims to integrate social service with business and cinema, in order to inspire a larger audience. 

Writing off dreams as idealistic and impossible ensures that there is definitely no chance in achieving them. But when one takes the first step, one already has a good chance of success. Aakash has done much more than that and he can do even more with your help. If you want to contribute to Aakash’s initiative, all you need is to have a heart. He is willing to take any kind of help that you can provide, be it a skill, a talent you possess or resources you can contribute. You can reach out to him and with him, reach out to others by sending him an email at: aakash.ed@gmail.com. 

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