Different Dialogues : Extended Interview of Mr. Ravi Dev Gupta – General Secretary of EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation of India – a non-government education movement in India.


Educational background: Post Graduation in Commerce (M.Com.).  Graduation in Law (L.L.B.).  Cost & Works Accountant (A.I.C.W.A.) and Fellowship of Institute (F.C.M.A.).


Professional background:  A practicing Cost & Management Consultant. Had been a licensed Surveyor & Loss Assessor, Chairman of Vipul Group of companies, manufacturing Concreting equipments & accessories.


Social Commitments :  A consumer activist, having been President of Delhi state unit of Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat, for 2 decades, successfully dealing with various Pharmaceutical, Food, Environment, Transport, Electricity & Jal Board related consumer redressals at various state and national levels.  Also served them as the National Treasurer for nearly 6 years. He avidly writes articles for several columns & magazines on topics pertaining to consumer interest. He has been instrumental in creating awareness of the adverse health effects due to irrational consumption of ‘aerated soft drinks’ through lectures in colleges, schools & teachers-training institutes as a resource person.


Current Social Commitments:  As General Secretary of EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation of India which is engaged in welfare activities of tribal and rural population of India, through the 55,000 EKAL Schools – which educate children and also raising the general standards of adult population.


Secretary of Ved Sansthan, New Delhi, an institute for research on Vedas.  He is a modest student of Vedas in this Sansthan.


President of Dakshin Delhi Ved Prachar Mandal, a federation of 50 Arya Samajs in South Delhi for propagation of Vedic mission.


President of Arya Samaj Mandir, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi.


Engaged in opening and running scores of schools in slums & JJ colonies in Delhi NCR for free education to children, with a view to counter growing menace of ‘juvenile delinquency’ among school-dropouts and, thereby, securing safer communities for everyone.


1. In your view, what is most important in life? Accordingly, Name three aspects,
important in life.


  • In my view most important in one’s life is this.
  • To go from this world free of any debts. We are here to receive gratifications, feel gratitude & pay back humbly.
  • God gave us birth in partnership with our parents and nourished with nature.  In the process we are indebted to (1) God (2) Parents & (3) Society.  Spiritually we owe 3 debts namely “Dev Rin, Matri Rin & Rishi Rin”
  • We keep on receiving all through our lives through these trio & it is our most important duty to pay them all back in order to ensure that same things are similarly available to posterity too.


2. If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
A)  It is a dicey questions and probably beyond my wits to answer. However, If I
were not doing, what I am doing, I would have either been in depression with guilt feeling or I would have swayed into the highway of “Eat, drink & be merry.”


3. What motivates you to achieve your goal?
A)  My Belief is that all living beings are divine creation & human, being the finest specie, owes some mission with which God has sent him / her, blessed with intellect & freedom for action. This strong belief keeps me motivated and charged for action all the time. I am a contented soul too, believing that I am inching forward to achieve my coveted goal.


4. How do you handle stress and pressure?
A)   I believe in leading from the front. Confront the obstacles and, “do your best and hell with the rest.” In times of acute stress & pressure, I pray to HIM that I am undone and surrender to You for relief. And it is my strong belief that relief does come in some way, even at the eleventh hour, at times. HIS ways are countless & unpredictable. It is my experience, reinforced, repeatedly.


5. Which of your qualities would you want to pass down to your child/ children?
A)   I wish my progeny to observe my deeds, behavior & sayings critically and confer with me for all sorts of their observations for seeking clarity on ambiguous ones.  Dialogue leads to communication. I wish they are blessed with the required judiciousness to sift what is good or bad. The good aspects should be adopted by them for larger good.


6. Who is your favourite author? Which book of your favourite author have you
enjoyed the best?

A)  Through my extensive & intensive reading habit. I found several authors who influenced my thinking namely:- Maharshi Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekanand, Swami Vidyanand Videh, Guru M.S. Golvalkar and a few others.  But a book that I enjoyed most is “Vedalok’’ authored by my most favorite author Swami Vidyanand Videh ji who was the founder of Ved Sansthan. I take this book with utmost esteem & enjoy reading again & again with reverence.


7. What are you pursuing currently, by the way of a light hobby, or by the way of a
serious goal?

A)  Goals of my life are seriously achieved through “Service to the down trodden, hapless folks living in deep rural & tribal areas” with serious association with Ekal Abhiyan, “Propagation of our ancient Vedic values” with similarly serious association with Arya Samaj, “Honing my spiritual skills” with Ved Sansthan & finally “practicing What we preach” though Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. 


For lighter hobbies, I enjoy reading books of my friend Shri Mahabir Prasad Aggarwal who is from Mumbai; his book ‘Nevatia’ is indeed enjoyable.  He excels in writing satires with serious messages.


8. In the last 1 year, is your particular goal advancing? Which is that goal / dream?
A)  Fortunately, last one year has been very satisfying for me inasmuch that I had the opportunity to interact with innumerable persons in India & abroad through my various lectures on varied subjects. Another feather to my cap was notably added when I could gather my faculties to be able to deliver discourses in shape of “Ram Katha” & “Krishna Katha” to the masses in a very lucid & popular manner. My goal / dream to serve the society in some or the other way till the last breath of my life is seemingly coming true. So ‘Help me God’ to stay healthy all along.




In conversation with Mr. Ravi Dev Gupta – General Secretary of EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation of India – a non-government education movement in India.


When I became a follower of EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation of India in 2010, I had no idea how much I would learn – neither did I realize how much I would be rewarded by meeting people from many walks of life.


In the year 2016, I met Ravi Dev Gupta in New Delhi, who, through EKAL is involved in the integrated and holistic development of rural and tribal India. Today, the EKAL movement is, perhaps, the largest grassroots non-government education movement in India. It is operating free schools in over 54,361 villages, as of December 2016 statistics. Approximately, over 1.45 million children are educated, annually, in the remotest, poorest parts of India. I recollect the Delhi afternoon of September 2016, when I went to see Ravi Dev Gupta at his office; with a welcoming expression radiating his face, he enlightened me on how the EKAL schools in Haryana state are eradicating illiteracy in the inner pockets of the region. The information which he was sharing with me was bringing before my mind the vision of my own two days of Vanyatra which would commence in the next coming days.  However, this trip of mine was aborted by the epidemics of Dengue and Chikungunya.


In January 2017, I was back again to meet Ravi Dev Gupta in Delhi.  He would help me to complete my mission; my tours were to be arranged by the good office of EKAL.  Through my travel, I was to study in detail those schools which were receiving support of the Al Maktoum Foundation-Dubai, UAE.  Later, I recorded a robust reporting… I admired how well the kids were doing, and how indebted the villagers in Haryana were to EKAL, and to the Al Maktoum Foundation-Dubai.  Seeing was believing!


Ravi Dev Gupta is the General Secretary of EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation of India. His connection with EKAL goes back a long way – he is associated with the organization for the last 20 years. After I sat face-to-face with him, I swiftly established facts of his overall personality.  His speech showed – he is a man of many dimensions. His nature invites creditability and confidence.  It seems, the big canvas of his life is based on the broad principles resting upon Vedic norms which he has imbibed from his early childhood.  He tells me, ‘Religion does not signify Dharma. The term religion is poorly adequate for Dharma, and Dharma has no synonym.  Dharma relates to you, me, us, everybody and the whole of our universe.’


It is apparent that Ravi Dev Gupta’s strong Arya Samaj background makes him a deep, rational thinker.  He adds on, ‘You must know, the 5 elements: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Sky – they all also have to perform their own share of Dharma.


Born in India in 1944, Ravi Dev Gupta was reared under the philosophical influence of roots, culture. He says with pride, ‘It is my duty to have “allegiance” for the motherland… my motherland. If you and I are destined to be born in India, there is a divine connection of being born in this part of the planet. Therefore, we, as the citizens of India are duty-bound to India. Motherland is not a piece of land – it is a complete sense of belonging.’


Ravi Dev Gupta’s mother was a strong nationalist; in fact, he comes from a family of nationalists.  His maternal grandfather was jailed by the British during the struggle of Independence.  Ravi Dev Gupta’s mother had also studied the Vedas in great depth, and it was her ardent wish that she passes on her torch of light to her son.  Primarily, this was the reason how and why Ravi Dev Gupta has succeeded in cultivating the passion over the years for the Holy Scriptures.


Ravi Dev Gupta beams and says, ‘I wish more and more people knew the value of our Vedas. The Ved Sansthan Research Institute in C-22, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi, has evolved a technique for people who don’t know Sanskrit and can’t understand Sanskrit… this place still gives them an opportunity to gain knowledge in Vedas.’


Ravi Dev Gupta became a student of Vedic literature around 12 years back, and now he lectures on subjects related to them. He takes one Vedic mantra as a topic of his lecture and discusses the meaning by elaboration.  He explains to me, ‘There are around 20,379 mantras in our 4 Vedas.  I prepare my lectures with research, obviously. I want to spread and share my knowledge with others. Of course, I am a learner at every stage.’


In September-October 2015, Ravi Dev Gupta went to the United State of America on a personal trip where he made good utilization of time by having regular meetings with the EKAL fraternity. Here and in Canada, he also conducted lectures on Arya Samaj principles. In India, apart from EKAL, he is connected with Ved Prachar Mandal, which has 50 branches of Arya Samaj in South Delhi.


It is appropriate to mention that I have had the good fortune of hearing Ravi Dev Gupta’s lectures while in Delhi. God willing, I hope to hear a series of lectures, sometime in the near future.


With the derived information in one hand, and curiosity in the other – I had plenty of queries for Ravi Dev Gupta on the Vedic principles. We spoke on: Arya Samaj. Patriotism. RSS. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, who founded Arya Samaj in 1875.


He said, ‘According to my perception, we treat every person as an ‘Arya’. Arya Samaj does not recognize any caste. Marriages in inter-caste can require “counseling,” for parents of the two persons getting married.  Equally, the two adults marrying from their inter-caste backgrounds must realize how with their marriage, they must balance out things to face situations to build their family and future.  The balance is essential.’


Who is an ‘Arya?’ I asked.


‘Arya’ is anybody noble in his actions and thought.  ‘Arya’ is someone who follows the true traditions of Arya Samaj.  I also know that people from different backgrounds want to serve society in the best manner.  Thus, they are all ‘Aryas.’ This was Ravi Dev Gupta’s straightforward answer.


I asked Ravi Dev Gupta on how he had got connected with EKAL. He replied, ‘EKAL’s forum is based on working for society. EKAL is about: Primary “basic” Education, Healthcare, Bio-organic Farming, Moral Values, Jan Jagran – Public Awareness. I like the forum.’ He continued, ‘EKAL is using “traditional wisdom” in day to day life.  As you can see, there are different communities, religions in Delhi, and in India, for that matter…  EKAL caters to all populations regardless of their ethnicity.’Our dialogue carried on, and Ravi Dev Gupta said, ‘Principles never get outdated.  It is the malpractices which are responsible for any downfall. When we disregard the principles – that is when things begin to go wrong in our society.  Therefore, we have to be vigilant.  Anything which is against the law of Nature is despicable.  Things are then bound to get corrupted.’


A fresh topic I look up was regarding: RSS – Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The organization was founded in 1925 by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940), a physician living in Maharashtra-India. Hedgewar was deeply influenced by the writings of the Hindu nationalist – Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.  The RSS had played a vital role in the nationalist movement during India’s struggle for Independence.


Ravi Dev Gupta was all praise for the RSS.  He said, ‘Those who criticize RSS, they don’t know RSS.  It is more a question of disinformation than information.  Controversy comes amongst people who do not want to learn.  People who condemn or criticize RSS are people who are unaware about the noble work of this organization. The actual truth about this organization is that it has always been doing good work for our nation. RSS had worked, and continues to work for communities of different backgrounds.  Unfortunately, political parties have maligned RSS to attract votes.  RSS terminology for a Hindu is very vast.  Even if I were to convert to Islam or Christianity – my land, my parents, my ancestral history will not change. Only my way of worshipping will change. RSS has been largely misunderstood, and by Hindus, themselves. RSS wants to give national pride. RSS wants to give “Mother-Roots,” backing 3 salient points:                            
1. Motherland.
2. Mother Tongue.
3. Mother Culture.


On another level, he fondly added, ‘Bhagat Singh, Subash Chandra Bose, they are heroes in my eyes.’


What is the overall performance of  EKAL schools, are the salaries reaching on time for the EKAL teachers; what is the standard of teaching; Are the Karyakartas receiving their pay cheques every month; What is the class attendance like; Is any child suffering from emotional stress; What is the remedy of such cases; What is the opinion of the villages about EKAL schools; Are the families of the children happy with EKAL.  These are the factors which Ravi Dev Gupta and his team members have to keep their watchful gaze upon… and this is no small task! Abhibhavak Yojna is one more feather in EKAL’s cap – an internal project which was setup on an experimental basis by Ravi Dev Gupta. The purpose of  Abhibhavak Yojna is to appoint ‘guardians’ who are monitoring the school at short interval to see that every aspects concerning the imparting of education to the village children is going on smoothly. I think it is a fantastic way of monitoring!


The interview directed me to the following conclusion.  I was thinking... a writing life… my own writing life would never have been possible without the constant association I have enjoyed with people of substance.  One more time, this time again, I am fortunate in having met a wonderful human being… a Vedic scholar who treats himself as a humble student… and never stops to inspire people around him.  Ravi Dev Gupta… he has most certainly (further) enhanced my inspiration to visualize how well EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation is functioning.  I also concluded with joy, the noble Al Maktoum Foundation’s sponsorship for the tribal kids is a great dividend being distributed amongst them in the most worthwhile way.  Could I put a prize on such a reward? No, because the reward is priceless.  


Q1. What has been the turning point of your life?
A. I grew as a man of commerce, leading life as a normal hose-holder, pursuing family business with aspirations.  My philanthropic parents made me realize that I must strike a balance between earning & learning. One fine morning my late mother made me pensive about the theory of “Shraddha” which as an Aryasamaji, I had the opportunity to observe only till she was alive. This was a turning point for me.  With all humility, I started learning from my dear mother, and also from several books, solely with the purpose of satisfying her soul. I feel proud that I had been a recipient of boundless blessings from the core of her heart, till she breathed her last in January 2016.

Q2. If you could go back in time, what would you have wanted to do?

A. I wished to be a student of science to be able to establish that ‘science & religion’ have to go hand-in-hand if they have to sustain. Sciences only reveal the mysteries of Nature, be it of animate or inanimate objects.  Nature is again their respective ‘Dharma’.  So how can they be different, being two faces of the same coin? Destiny made me a Cost & Management Accountant though.


Q3. What are your future dreams?
A. I dream to be a part of such a society which is free from the shackles of ‘ethnicities’. Almighty has created all the human species through one cast/mould with certain aesthetic variations depending upon geographical factors reflected in differing colours of the skin and features of the face. Each human is to undergo the same ‘Dharma’ i.e. the code of conduct, only to be segregated in four ‘varnas’ based upon individual aptitudes and ‘karmic’ competence.  The so-called-present-day religions only tend to divide, while Dharma only unites. It has no synonym in any language of the world.

To know more about EKAL Vidyalaya Foundation, kindly click on: https://www.ekal.org/