The sad news of demise of Mr. Gulab Ramchandani on 13 April 2017 at the age of ninety, was a great loss to all us at SMTA. Gulab was an Indian educator, an alumnus of The Doon School, he served as the headmaster of The Doon School from 1979 till 1988. He believed that good education is always based on good social ethics too. It was his visionary foresight which gave the very existence to SMTA.
In the year 1983 while Mr. Gulab Ramchandani was the Headmaster of The Doon School, he contacted and requested Mr. Sanjit Roy (‘Bunkar’) an ex-student of Doon School and the Director SWRC Tiloniya, to extend the Tiloniya Supported rural development activities around District Dehradun, which was part of U.P. then. So that the students of The Doon School may have exposure to the Rural Conditions and actively participate in it. In 1983, Bunkar Roy accepted the request of Mr. Gulab Ramchandani and opened a state unit of SWRC at Chakrata Block of district Dehradun. This area is a tribal block known as Jaunsar Bawar. The inhabitants are known as Jaunsaris.
The First batch of students from the Doon School came for their midterm activities to Chakrata in 1983. It was their early efforts which cleared the ground at Jakhadhar, on which today, Smta Niketan stands serenely - the Headquarters of SMTA and Multipurpose Community training Centre for Rural Community leaders.
Up to 1986 all the activities were carried out under the aegis of SWRC Tiloniya. During this period, under the able leadership of Mr. Gulab Ramchandani, we were able to build up a good rapport with the State and the local Government. With the active participation of the students of Doon School, a complete Socio economic Survey was taken up and a master project was drawn, known as “ Project Lakhamandal”.
In 1986 SWRC Tiloniya advised all its state units to form a separate and independent Unit so that development projects could be rooted in the needs of the local people. Accordingly, under the leadership of Mr Gulab Ramchandani, a new society was formed and registered under the Society Act; It was named Society For Motivational Training And Action (SMTA).
Mr.Gulab Ramchandani was its Founder President He Continued in this post for another four terms. During his tenure SMTA grew rapidly and took up various development projects in Jaunsar Bawar. The Promotion of primary education for the tribal children through our innovative school popularly known as Apna Schools was a major achievement. Through these activities we have been able to motivate the tribal community to participatory development projects such as formation of women’s groups, Youth Groups, and BAL Panchayat.
In 1994 Mr. Gulab Ramchandani Requested the Board Members to relieve him from the post of President. He continued as its member till his death. Giving the organization his valued guidance and support.Gulab Ramchandani was a team man. Always trusted and encouraged the team members. In his death SMTA has lost a friend, guide and a motivator. May His Soul Rest in Peace.
Contributed by Ruben