Preaload Image

What Are We?

People often ask us whether we are an NGO or a commercial organization. They bluntly question whether we have a vested interest in doing “free” counselling. They want to know if we are propagating a religion or a cult, or are we clandestinely funded by some rich foreigners with shady motives. The answer to all the above is a vehement “No”.

What we are cannot be defined in conventional sense. Yes, we do provide free counselling. We never turn anyone away. We get perhaps 10-30 people walking in every day, half as many phone calls, and more than 50-80 emails per week. We attend to all of them to the best of our ability.

We organize two free lectures on all aspects of human behaviour every month. We encourage our students to take up independently any “business” offers that come to us. We give guidance and hand-holding to anyone who wishes to work in the field of improving or enriching quality of life.

We invite, nurture and encourage hundreds of volunteers to serve in different ways according to their convenience and as per their area of interest. We offer our retreat Manthan at cost price to anyone working for a cause. We lend our training hall to anyone who wishes to have a meaningful gathering, lecture or workshop.

More than anything else, we welcome anyone who walks in, if possible offer a cup of tea, definitely offer our emotional support or friendship….. and we allow them to walk away into their own world to seek their own path. A few of them do send us their thanks.

Can someone tell us what or who we are?

We grow human beings

If you see a plant nursery, you will only see tiny saplings. As soon as the little plant starts growing, it is transplanted in someone else’s pot or garden, and it continues its growth there, with the new owners getting the flowers, fruits or shade.

Banjara is a human nursery. We plant the seeds of self-awareness, wider and more meaningful thinking, identifying talent and goals. We nurture the thoughts and ideas in people’s minds. Then, as the eagle does in pushing out its eaglets from its nest, we give a gentle nudge, and allow people to soar in the wide blue skies – choosing which direction to fly towards, and at the speed each individual decides.

We counsel people pro bono for emotional and developmental issues. We guide students for careers by professional aptitude testing. We also play with the little ones and assess them for psycho-academic needs. We train people from all walks of life and all ages to become effective counsellors. We spread out in 10 different hospitals and help and support patients and care-givers.

We take joy in seeing each unique individual flying out of our little nest, and we provide warmth for the next egg to hatch.

Banjaras are nomads. They have traditionally roamed through countryside, living a simple life, gathering no wealth, bonding strongly within their ‘tanda’ or tribes, and providing their services to villagers wherever they camped.

Banjara Academy consists of Banjaras who wish to serve others in the form of Enriching Life Through Empowerment.

We provide free counselling, and we also want many others to carry forward our mission, so we train people from all walks of life to become counsellors. We have part-time classroom courses and online programs. We nurture individuals of any age, of any qualifications (and we never, ever hold ‘final exams’). If you wish to become part of Banjara family in any way, read our books, avail our counselling for yourself or for others, and what would make us most happy – become a counsellor yourself. It is not very difficult, ask us.

We believe in the mission……..

“Enriching Life Through Empowerment”

We believe that anyone can be trained in the vital fields of psychological counselling, life skills training and career guidance. Hence we have constantly been endeavouring to train as many people as possible, so that the ripple effect reaches out to as many people as possible. We have very convenient face-to-face part-time programs suiting people of all backgrounds and ages, and for those who cannot come and attend, we also have online programs.

The Joys of Volunteering !

It is said that if you feel pulled down, exhausted, or that life is not treating you fairly, the best thing to do is to reach out to someone who is worse off than you.

Our ‘Helping Hand’ volunteers are witness to this therapy since the past thirty years. If you wish to experience it for yourself, spend a couple of hours every week in a hospital giving emotional support to patients or their care-givers. You will feel so much better, and your life will become more meaningful. Contact us on 80-23535766, or talk to our coordinator Ms. Purnima on 9341972540, or just mail us, and avail an opportunity to give a better direction and deeper meaning to your life.

Find Reasons to Celebrate

As we age, a year looks shorter and shorter. When you have spent many decades in this world, the end of one calendar year and the beginning of another one becomes a minor ritual of holiday, party, shopping, and …..back to routine.

Sometimes we even become pessimistic about how life is going and whether we are getting a fair deal. Without doing so consciously we may start focusing only on the negative, and pull ourselves down further.

Some of us do make New Year resolutions that we will make our life better – but most such resolutions do not last beyond a few days or weeks.

I have a suggestion. The way you make a balance sheet at the end of the financial year, and based on the balance sheet you make a budget and financial plan for the next year, I propose to you an audit of where you stand at the end of each year. If you answer the questions truthfully and ponder over them for an extended period of time, you will realize that you actually have very strong reasons to welcome the New Year warmly. This is the questionnaire…..

Whenever you feel like, ask yourself these questions:

Are you……

  1. Serious or life-threatening illness

  2. Bankrupt or in heavy debt

  3. Failed or dropped out?

  4. Any major fight with close person

  5. Court cases, convicted for crime

  6. Clinical depression, schizophrenia

  7. Addiction to alcohol or drugs

  8. Cannot walk, see, hear

  9. Displaced from home, being oppressed

  10. Questioning your existence

If you have answered “No” to almost all the above ten questions, then it means that you are….

  1. Healthy

  2. Financially comfortable

  3. Educated

  4. Have good personal relationships

  5. A free citizen

  6. Have good mental health

  7. A person with full control of life

  8. Physically fit

  9. A proud Indian

  10. A person with a meaning in life ! So……

Celebrate the New Year, celebrate 2020 and celebrate Life !

We love children !

The more we care for them, the better will our life be when they take over the world. While we believe in overall development, building life skills and values in the young, we do understand that academics and grades do play a significant role in their progress. To help students through the challenging time of exams, we will be available for free counselling on all weekdays in the coming months. We also offer the following:

Short, crisp and practically useful video clips on all aspects of facing exams and studying well, which are categorized into:

  • Where to study

  • When to study

  • What to study

  • How to study

  • Why study

We are not Tailors

We do not alter either ladies or gents. But we do endeavour to help them to alter themselves. We believe in the individuality, the talent and the creativity of every human being.

Through counselling, mentoring, training and nurturing, we help people, from children to senior citizens, to find better meaning and purpose to their life

We provide free counselling, we train people from all walks to life to understand human behaviour, to help others and help themselves in the process.

Every Life is Valuable, and every human has potential. At Banjara we do not differentiate, we do not judge – we look for the good, for the hidden potential. We provide free counselling and emotional support. We do not tell others how to run their life, we believe in our mission “Enriching Life Through Empowerment”, and we welcome everyone to join us on this road less travelled – in whatever way you would like to walk with us.

If you too wish to become a Counsellor, do get in touch with us

Great thinkers and those who sought greater meaning in life always walked on the Road Less Travelled. At Banjara, we are always looking beyond the beaten path. We believe in each human being’s potential, and we believe in Enriching Life through Empowerment.

We do not propagate any theories or cults, we do not consider ourselves wiser than you. We learn and change at every step. And if we find that there is no path going towards the beautiful sunrise, we create one ….. and we invite you to walk – not led by us, not to lead us, but to walk hand in hand with us, doing our little bit to create a better tomorrow for everyone.

Our doors are open to those who wish to learn more about life, seek support or give support.

Everyone needs a helping hand some time or the other. That is why our service wing, ‘Helping Hand’ reaches out unconditionally to anyone who needs emotional support or counselling, free of charge. We work through our two centres where anyone can walk in, and we do utmost to put a smile on their faces. We also have volunteers on the help-desks of 10 major hospitals of the city.

We invite people from all backgrounds who wish to get trained as counsellors or life skills trainers, to gain practical and professional expertise through part-time courses. We offer dozens of simple practical and economical books on all aspects of human behaviour. We have a quaint little ‘Gurukul’ for children who need help in getting back to routine or overcoming special needs. We assess students and others for career guidance through Aptitude Testing.

We don’t work from 9:30 to 5:30, we just walk in to welcome you, to exchange experiences of life, and to convert challenges into opportunities.

We Enrich Life through Empowerment

In an increasingly digital world,

If you wish to enrich your life, need counselling, wish to get yourself trained practically to become a counsellor or life skills trainer, read our very practical books, get your child assessed, become a part of a family of hundreds of volunteers, or just spend some time away from the stresses of life, do get in touch.

Look deeper into your life !

Whether you have been happy and contented so far, or whether you have been through many ups and downs in life, the best thing to do now is to reach out to someone who is worse off than you. Experience the joy of giving of yourself – something that is inexhaustible. Stop for a moment and think how nice it is to bring a smile on a tearful face, to share a light moment with someone who is pulled down.

If you have 2 or 3 hours to spare in a week, please join us to become a volunteer (no long-term commitment required). Meet other people who look beyond mundane and routine life and get a deeper insight into your own life. We welcome people of all backgrounds and ages. Contact us on 80-23330200 from 9:30 to 5:30 any time, or just mail us, and avail an opportunity to give a better direction and deeper meaning to your life.

Time has come for exams, tension, anxiety …..and hopefully the end of the academic year.  Then the rush for admissions, entrance exams, confusion of which course to take.

We teach children for 12 years in school, but do not give them any skills to choose their careers.  There is a mad rush for Computer Science Engineering or medicine, and lakhs of students prepare for years and years to crack JEE or NEET, without knowing what they are in for and where it is leading them.

It is the responsibility of all of us to give inputs and familiarize students, and their parents, about which career (out of innumerable lucrative choices) is suitable for any specific child, and to resist the herd mentality.  Please make that effort…..

It is a question of their whole future, they need a little hand-holding.

Learn to Enjoy Stress - By Dr. Ali Khwaja

How often have you felt that you are stressed out the moment you think of studies and exams?  Have you ever felt like just giving up and running away somewhere?  If you have faced or are facing such situations, did you ever stop to think how and why stress accumulates in some of us, while others are carefree and whistling their way through exams and life?

There are answers to these questions.  All we need to do is to take a short break, stop getting stressed out by thinking of exams all the time, and pay attention to a few important facts.  Otherwise we will become like the over-enthusiastic boy who was so happy when he got a contract to cut trees that he just went on chopping with all his might.  He never stopped to sharpen his axe, with the result that all his efforts were in vain.  The blunt axe could not cut, and in his frustration he kept hacking harder and harder till he dropped of exhaustion and lost the contract.  Are you ready to sharpen your mental axe?

The countdown to exams has begun.  You are probably counting days now, and are getting tensed, particularly when you think of those tough and boring subjects that you have begun to hate.  No one can be good at all subjects.  There are at least eight types of intelligence: mathe-logical, linguistic, interpersonal, intra-personal, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, spatial and ecological.  Eventually you will find the right vocation that suits your intelligence, but right now you have to study all subjects from languages to technical ones.  To make the best of it, here are a few tip:

  • Start with relaxing BEFORE you sit down to study. Don’t wait till you are tired and fatigued.  The fresher your mind, the more you will be able to take in, in the least time.  Find out a method of relaxation that suits you, don’t copy what someone else is doing.  A few examples are: Long, brisk walk; Jogging, Tennis, golf, Swimming, Aerobics / dancing, Playing with child/pet, Gardening; Driving into nature, Shouting loudly and freely, Yoga, Meditation, Prayer / discourses, Talking to a friend or counselor, Listening to (or playing) music, Maintaining an informal diary, Thought-provoking books, Punching a pillow, Tearing old newspapers.  Experiment till you hit upon the right one.
  • Take periodic breaks. Never study till you are so tired that nothing is going to your head.  Only you know how long you can study before you need a break, follow your mind.  The duration may vary depending on whether you are studying an interesting or boring subject.  At the same time, keep in mind that your break should be short and relaxing, and not taking your mind away into another activity.
  • Study systematically. List out all the chapters, mark those you have trouble with, keep periodically revising or reviewing.  Don’t get bogged down into one subject the whole day.
  • Keep giving yourself periodic tests, both verbal and written. Do mock exams even at home, they will prepare you for facing the actual exam.
  • Keep track of your biological clock, when you are at peak energy, and when you are down and out. Study difficult subjects when you are feeling energetic.  For boring subjects, allot a fixed time and tell yourself that you will finish as soon as the time is over.

As your exams get nearer, do not cut down on your sleep beyond rational limits.  You can certainly do with 25-30% less sleep than average, but cutting it down to 50% or less can actually add to your strain.  Keep up your hygiene, food habits, get fresh air and clear your mind periodically.  On the day of the exam, don’t cram till the last moment.  Have a healthy meal, go early and check out the place, talk to friends or family to calm down your nerves, and then begin the exam with the clear thought – it is just an exam, it is not going to kill you.

Ali’s Notes:

Technology has advanced immensely. Schools have state-of-the-art facilities in every aspect of child requirements, and millions are spent for providing all comforts and amenities to the students. Yet a survey by Banjara showed that 95% of all children, including those in high-end schools, still carry a water bottle in addition to the already heavy bag. Is it not possible to provide purified drinking water to the students in their classrooms? If we really cared for our children, we can think of these (and many similar) small steps to make life convenient to them.
We have still not managed to reduce the size (and weight) of the school bag in today’s e-learning era. We continue to give all our attention to home work, completion of portions, innumerable tests and exams, and rote learning.
If we wish to create a better world around us as the next generation takes over, it is high time we took some initiatives.