Sunday, July 3, 2011

Indian School of Politics


One day before 2050, India will be the world leader in scientific and spiritual wisdom.
(As a nation we took 90 years from 1857 mutiny to realize our dream of political independence. However, we have yet to realize our economic, democratic and spiritual independence. There is no science to the choice of 2050, more than the fact that our generation with its indomitable will and the start given by the 90’s liberalization generation, is capable of making it happen in 40 more years – If only. This idea is about making that ‘If only’ happen)


Through a journey of deeply meaningful experiences, we will create leaders with impeccable moral fibre, discerning intellect, exemplary managerial skills and limitless love and compassion for humanity who will go on to work in spiritual unison towards the vision.
(Any other field or profession has success stories of people who have beaten heavy odds to make it happen. Our goal is to crash the barriers to entry in the field of politics as well. Irrespective of their identity and position in society, a patriotic and spirited individual must be able to qualify to win in our system of democracy. Our mission is to show that this is possible.)

Our core values

1.       Spirituality – We recognize that all knowledge, all wisdom, all morality, all love and compassion, all intuition, all creativity is within us and it will be our endeavor to find the highest form of self through the various means of - service to people , intellectual discrimination  and control of senses through austerity.

2.       Social capitalWe recognize the power of every spirited individual to create a movement by themselves. We are committed to serving children, youth and adults in our various means of spirituality, thereby building a circle of committed volunteers for our mission and vision.

3.       Public serviceWe recognize politics as a noble endeavor and as only one of the many means to serve people. We are committed to creating political leaders of highest quality and integrity who are devoted to the cause of our mission and vision.
‘Politics’ is by definition managing the infinite needs of society with limited resources. By this definition, civil society, NGOs, media are all part of eco system and have a role to shape the culture of main stream politics.

Our theory of change

Youth with leadership potential when put through a series of personally transformative experiences over two to five years will develop into leaders with integrity, idealism and an indomitable will to realize the vision2050.

Potential activities in the curriculum(Not full and final)

*      Pre read of books which cover India – Discovery of India ,  Argumentative Indian, Inspite of the Gods, India after Gandhi, Makers of Modern India, India: Development and Participation etc.

*      Induction program – 3 days
(Vision, mission, core values, expectations and team building)

*      Vipassana 10 day course – 12 days
(For Increased Concentration, Experiential awareness of self and mental well being)

*      Pre travel departure program – 3 days
(Reflecting on Vipassana workshop, Indian culture, heritage and values, preparing for India yatra)

*      India Darshan part 1 -  12 days
(Travel around India in groups of 2-3 to all the states. Write photo journals and experience both Bharat and India. Grassroutes and Tata Jagriti are models to partner with or emulate)

*      Yoga teacher training course – 1 month
(A program which will establish all fellows in control of senses apart from health and well being)

*      Service program – 10 months minimum and extendable based on fellow choice
(An ashram/school based program in which fellows learn, serve, teach, share, organize and grow. The school or ashram physical architecture and culture will reflect the core values articulated above.
Fellows will teach yoga and Vipassana to everyone, offer curricular and extra curricular help beyond school for children, organize service programs in communities, learn through class work in economics, public policy, public administration, political science, philosophy and elective social science courses like sociology, anthropology, history, geography etc., sharpen skills of public discourse, organization and fund raising. In the whole process, not only grow intellectually but also spiritually)

*      Media stint or Parliament associate stint or NGO stint – 1 year minimum
(Work with a print or electronic media group or a parliamentarian or a political party executive unit or an NGO/think tanks to understand the national and local issues deeply. A lot of partnerships can be evolved with existing programs like LAMP by PRS, Janaagraha, Political parties, Media groups etc.)

*      India Darshan part 2 – 12 days
(Plan this trip on your own and go to areas of your own interest for discovering yourself and India)

*      Post travel retreat and graduation– 3 days
(Get together, sharing of experiences and learnings and activities to refresh)

*      Year 3, 4 and 5 (Future career options)
Fellows will have a chance to work in the in house Centre for Public Leadership, Centre for Political campaigns or Centre for Social Innovation or be available for recruit into one of the main stream political parties.

Working in house with one of the three centers will give fellows a chance to nurture their goal or incubate their ideas of social or political activism.

1.       Centre for Public Leadership 
The objectives of this centre are to continuously research and improve the curriculum, leadership framework and partnerships with the school.

2.       Centre for Political campaigns
The objective of this centre is to support active political campaigns of alumni through consulting for innovative political management.

3.       Centre for Social Innovation 
The objective of this centre is to incubate ideas with social potential till they achieve a certain degree of scale and sustainability.

(All three centers will be evaluated for their effectiveness through feedback surveys and quantitative metrics like number of papers published, number of partnerships, number of alumni in political eco system, number of ideas which shape public policy etc.)


The estimated set up cost for the school is around 50 crores with infrastructure for classroom training, lodging, research centres, libraries and other service providing centres.The operational cost for sourcing the best in the world professors, researchers in Public Affairs and organizational talent is around 20 crores

In the true spirit of democracy, the school which is ‘for’ the people will be set up ‘by’ fund raising across all spectrums of society. While there will be no cap on highest donation, there will be no incentives for highest donation. All donations ranging from Re.1 to top ceiling will be treated equally and none of the donations will be publicly advertized. However, all donations will be open for audit scrutiny. 

If every Indian can contribute an amount of Re.1 per month, we can raise ~1200 crores in a year. Even accounting for just 10% collection in the first few years, we will be able to make this school a reality. In Japan, there already exists a successful model in the name of Matushita School of Political Management, which started with a public endowment fund of 100 mln$ created by the owner of Matushita through his private funds. All these combined give us the confidence that it can be done.

Also, the students will be given a task of public fund raising every year to raise money to cover their individual lodging, food, and school program expenses. Any amount they raise above their cost of the program can be used for their individual ideas under the scrutiny of their mentors.


Ø  We have no monopoly over a person’s morality and therefore cannot stake claim that our alumni will be incorruptible under any circumstance. However, we shall through our school experience try to inculcate a holistic view of living a life of morality in public affairs, and we will continuously believe in the potential of each of our recruits to uphold those values.

Ø    We also believe that success in public affairs is contingent on being at the right point in the right time. Through our school experience we will shape individuals to be intellectually and spiritually ready to tap any opportunity that is available for them in the society. Therefore, we will only increase the probability of success and will not be able to engineer any of the social outcomes.  We believe in the articulation of our core value of social capital that every individual by themselves is capable of starting a movement.

Ø  Politics is not the be-all and end-all of our pursuits. Main stream politics we believe is a noble endeavor and the source of our first political independence. Our aim is to transform the existing political culture into one which is truly meritocratic and rewards the best individual.


  1. hey Tarun..a very noble n well thought out idea indeed.. Theres a need for educated, sensitive n morally uptight leaders today.. its great to see someone is thinking in that for the course, wat I do feel is one that the duration is bit too long. Many young ppl might be discouraged by the mere length of the program..we are talking of a generationthat needs to support their families n follow their dreams.also a lot more focus in curriculum around theory -history, civics, economics, pol sc would be needed iguess..n yup as u rightly said the right time for this idea is NOW! All the very best :) Apoorva

  2. wow, as usual, mr cherukuri, clearly thought out and idealistic at the same time....cant wait to see this get off the ground...

    Instead of the 1 year, 1 org stints, I would rather have 4(or 3) internships or projects of 3(or 4) months each with social enterprise, NGO, govt and media...just to give the candidate a wider scope...each internship can be based around 1 central learning or theme...

    also, years 3-5 need not be very structured but the school should rather act like a facilitator...I think the duration is fine if anyone is serious about this program..

    thats my 2 of luck and keep in touch..


  3. Dear Tarun,
    Just when I think that you possibly cannot anymore, you stun me yet again with the depth, maturity and resonance of your vision, your heart and your intellect.
    I am so privileged to start this journey with this unassuming boy in the TFI AC centre at Nariman Point on Jan 21, 2009...

    Here are my thoughts:

    Overall its an excellent idea. The fact that it is so logical, yet so out of my frame of reference at the moment itself lends credence to its viability as a solution that addresses the world of tomorrow with solutions of tomorrow, not today.

    1)Core values: Have you thought of equality?

    2) I would love to do the program when you come up with it to give an experiential perspective.

    Just these two for now, I am sure I will have a million thoughts about this.

    So proud of you Tarun.

    Sachin Jain

  4. Very nice and inspiring blog Tarun!.

  5. Dear Tarun,

    Yet another reason for me being a big fan of yours. Well I wont comment on the logistical part of it since it is still evolving and I am sure many things will change over a period of time. With respect to creating political leaders I would love to see them promoting political activism and creating opportunities for the common man to participate in the day to day democratic processes in most effective ways ( something we are trying though AwakIND ). The key to the term being Political awareness among masses. It would be great to quality with quantity :)

    Wishing you all the best for your journey ahead :)