About Shastravahini

Shastravahini was formed in 1986, by Mr. Madhav Khare and Ms. Suneeta Khare, both born and brought up in Pune and also the residents of Pune city, Maharashtra, India. The need to form an organization was prompted by the school going students, who always wanted to do some attractive toys or projects to be put in their school exhibitions. Mr. Madhav Khare, has been a keen Aeromodeller, and also was trying to cut down the high costs involved due to all imported goods. In this attempt, he had developed wonderful model aircraft in paper, as a ready-made product as well as do-it-yourself kits. (All these products and activity books are available on demand.)

For this reason, he is being invited since then, in several schools and colleges, exhibitions, govt. functions and workshops to demonstrate and conduct activity sessions. This interaction with the students and the school officials vividly indicated that there was a need for some institution that would work for this cause. Prompted by this need, Mr. Madhav Khare initially worked with Vidnyan Chand Mandal, run by V.D. alias Anna Apte, then with Lok-vidnyan Sanghatana. Later in 1986, together with his spouse Ms. Suneeta Khare, he formed Shastravahini to dedicate maximum time for the development of the Hands-on activities in science and hobbies, as that is the best method of learning, accepted the World over.

Next 12 years was the development phase of Shastravahini, experimenting with a wide variety of activities, from Clay-work up to Ganesh-idol making, from simple paper-craft up to geometrical structures, from simple mechanisms like levers up to complex drives used in Engineering, We have been exploring the methods of popularising the science through workshops, exhibitions, lectures and demonstrations. Shastravahini then developed many teaching aids, so that the teachers and parents could use them in teaching.

In 1998, the NCSTC (National council for Science and Technology Communication), which is a part of DST (Department of Science and Technology), Govt. of India, with whom Mr. khare was already associated as a "Key Resource person in Aeromodelling and Aerodynamics", asked if Shastravahini could develop a complete exhibition on Aircraft's Technological History. Since Govt. projects could only be given to Institutions, the proprietary nature of Shastravahini was changed by applying for the registration under the Public Trust. In the same year, the registration was obtained and Shastravahini became a Public Trust, for catering to the needs of many more children. The exhibition developed in the next few years was finally inaugurated in year 2000, at the hands of then HRD minister, Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, and many people including Dr. Yashpal liked it very much. Punjab S & T council purchased one entire copy of the exhibition for putting up on permanent display.

In 2004, when the Project Work was made compulsory for the school children, many schools discovered that they lack very much in providing this type of education. They had no resource persons, no know-how, no knowledge of materials & tools and no experience in applying the Science to make the Projects. This made it very difficult for the parents and teachers and also to the children to cope with this new compulsion. The suppliers who could supply any project from KG to PG at exorbitant costs came up suddenly like mushrooms, and parents too, without thinking what they were doing, opted for this. Most of them just didn't know anything in project making. Also, being the 'working parents' they didn't have much time to spare. There was a great need for someone who would spend time with children and help them in making good projects.

This was the time when Shastravahini started the development of Resource Persons (NOT TEACHERS !) to cater to this need. The lectures were arranged in schools, in public halls, to make people aware how important and essential the project work was. In this lecture, an appeal was made for those who would like to get trained and then take this activity to the children. More than 200 resource persons have been trained up to the year 2013 and out of them about 45 to 50 work regularly with Shastravahini. In 2004 only, the magazine "SHASTRABODH" was started. It was getting published 3 times in a year and contained information with photographic illustrations, how scientific projects could be done using simple materials available around. Also, it was bi-lingual, Marathi and English, which helped a lot. Marathi medium children could see how the same contents look in English and English medium children got additional help in mother-tongue for better understanding. Since the year 2014, this magazine is made Yearly. It is a large issue with many projects and articles. It is given to all the students who become members of Shastravahini. Distant persons or institutions can subscribe to this magazine. The issue gets published in each February and is sent by courier or speed-post, to the distant members. Subscription for the year 2014 is ₹100/-.

Today Shastravahini has several things to offer. A 6 level students workshops from Std. 3 to Std. 8, special curriculum related programs for 9th and 10th std. students, variety of lectures, two large exhibitions "How to Make Projects" and "Science of Flight", in English and Marathi both, occasional programs like Ganesh Idol Making and Sky-lantern making for Diwali, programs for Father and Son / daughter, for Father's participation, Resource Persons Training Programs, Teachers Training Programs, Fun activities like Science Toys, Aeromodelling from school to college level are some of these! New methods, projects and courses are constantly being developed. You will find all the details on Activities page.

Thank you for reading this lengthy dialogue. You are most welcome and we look forward to meeting you some time as a participant or an organizer or an associate or a supporter and of course, A FRIEND!!!

- Team Shastravahini