In Chandigarh, SPIC MACAY founder Kiran Seth, who is on a cycle journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, says the organisation has a long way to go yet : The Tribune India

In Chandigarh, SPIC MACAY founder Kiran Seth, who is on a cycle journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, says the organisation has a long way to go yet

In Chandigarh, SPIC MACAY founder Kiran Seth, who is on a cycle journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, says the organisation has a long way to go yet


Mona

Kiran Seth, Padma Shri, 73, mathematician and founder SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth) is on a cycle journey, a momentous one at that. Starting from Srinagar on August 15, Seth plans to chart the entire length of the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari to lend impetus to the movement to support Indian art and craft, which he started back in 1977.

His mission is threefold, one is health; not just cycling is good for physical health but also mental and spiritual, as he professes, “I generally cycle alone and it’s a powerful meditation technique. It’s good for environment too.” Secondly, it is to create awareness and reach out to more people about SPIC MACAY. “I believe when anyone hears that a 73-year-old is trying to cycle this far, those interested will come to see and then I can speak about SPIC MACAY.”

His third aim is to propound Gandhi ji’s message of ‘simple living and high thinking’. “I want to give a message to youngsters that even when cycling, carrying three pairs of clothes, on a gearless cycle, you can feel ananda.”

Strength of volunteers

It’s been 47 years of SPIC MACAY, so is he anywhere closer to the goal he had set for himself? He’s honest to the core, “We have just scratched the surface. What are 5,000 programmes in a country like India? To reach the goal we need help of many volunteers.”

Each year, SPIC MACAY arranges more than 5,000 events at 1,500 institutions, across almost 1,000 cities, touching over three million students. And, all of this on the strength of volunteers. For this massive outreach, there is only one paid employee — the accountant. There is no office, so everyone works from home. Seth is very proud of the volunteers and gives them huge respect.

Heritage of India

In Chandigarh on Thursday, he is joined by Dr Shakuntala Lavasa, Shashi Banerjee, Amulya Shukla, Nalin Taneja, Sumit Taneja and Uday Pratap Singh. He says to be a volunteer there is no form and no fees, just inclination to propagate the rich cultural heritage of India, its classical music, dance, crafts, cinema and folk.

The arduous journey that he has undertaken, comes with its highs and lows. To wake up every single morning at 3:30 isn’t easy for weeks together. Some days are great, while on others he braves cold or sweltering heat. “Seva doesn’t come easy. To do this one has to go through pain,” says Seth, but SPIC MACAY is his true love for which he is ready to brave any storm.

Mathematics remains his love as well. Professor-emeritus at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, he has taught operations research and applied mathematics for 47 years. As devoted is he to the arts. “Our aim is to reach every child by 2030 and I will continue to strive for that,” says Seth who also cycled from Raj Ghat, New Delhi, to Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, in March-April in 2022. 

‘Be patient, have faith’

Teaching and promoting classical arts, Kiran Seth has been associated with the youth forever. Does he see generational shift? “Yes. Today the youth is very bright. We were not like them. At the same time, youth today lacks dhairya (patience) and faith. If only this generation that has everything available at a click can practice some patience and faith, it would be phenomenal.”

#Environment #kashmir #Srinagar

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