Janwaar Castle featured in Swedish magazine, Sydasien
The story of Janwaar Castle and its barefoot skateboarders featured on Sydasien, a Swedish publication. Given below is the English version of the article, published with due consent of the publication –
The project Janwaar Castle tries to break social patterns in traditional Indian society. They gather children from all caste and community groups in the village of Janwaar in northern Madhya Pradesh where traditional norms and poverty were strongly manifested. Now, the organization challenges the children to think in new ways and to skateboard.
Skateboarding and schooling
The project has built a skateboard park in the village which has become very popular among the children, but they cannot use it unless they have been in school. It has not only increased attendance at the school but also created a meeting place for children from different caste and community groups. The organization is critical of the Indian school system but they cooperate with the state school that existed in the village. There was no need to build something brand new when they could influence the children in their spare time.
The children gather and play together in a way that they do not do outside the skateboard park. One of the founder of the organization, Mrutyunjay Mishra, has also seen signs that gender differences change among the children. It even happened without the staff having talked to the children about it. The children can meet on equal terms while having fun, exercising and improving their self-esteem.
Disobedience for change
The organization does much more in the village as well. They have drilled wells to improve water availability. Created a library to increase the reading class in the village. And opened a “creator space” to increase the curiosity and creativity of the children. Among other projects.
Mrutyunjay tells that disobedience is one of the organization’s words and India needs more of it.
“Conformism is often misinterpreted as discipline in Indian schools, so we urge the children to be defiant and to think in other paths.”
He tells that India’s major societal problems are founded in a lack of curiosity, courage, creativity, ingenuity, and self-confidence. This means he is the remains of the 500 years of colonial rule and subordination. Therefore, the organization focuses on stimulating children’s curiosity and increasing their opportunities to gain knowledge.
“We need to create environments that counteract the automation of society, which demands despite leading to new issues”.
Skateboarding can be a means for this, but the organization also wants to develop in other directions.
In the coming years, they want to develop their educational work and expand the activities to more places. They also want to start more projects, including a project where those involved can create useful things from waste.
They want to spread their philosophy, but also the knowledge they have. Another future project is to invite more people to Janwaar to learn about organic farming and creative innovation.
They want to spread and expand their network Mandala Innovation Network, so more can contribute their experiences and knowledge. The project rests on the idea that everyone has useful experience and knowledge, regardless of socio-economic background, throw or cultural affiliation. In India, where conservative Hinduism grows stronger, this can be a challenge. If the organization succeeds in spreading its network, it can be a part of counteracting the static world image and getting more people to think about what Indian society can be.
You can read the original article here.