Young Lokesh was mesmerized by the uniform, the spirit of bravery, and traveling to the motherland's far-distant boundaries. He had his heart set on entering into the military, but that desire was crushed when a random pulse check discovered a missing beat. He considered going for the civil services because he never gave up. However, this idea was also temporary.
While riding his bike to school one morning, he noticed that a cotton godown on the ground level was on fire and that two kids were trapped in the flat above. Lokesh returned safely with the kids after sprinting through the burning bales to the stairs at the other end of the hallway. However, excessive smoke inhalation by Lokesh resulted in fever, pneumonia, and congestion the next morning. It was the beginning of a long weekend, and it seemed like only two doctors remained in town because of a conference.
Lokesh Abrol: The Moment When Everything Changes
He decided to become a doctor because of the helplessness he witnessed in his family. His patients loved and trusted him because of his commitment and soldierly strength. In 1991, he relocated from Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital to Gurgaon, which was still very rural at the time, purely to be nearer to the villages where he most felt at home.
His purpose was to serve people. Despite having a successful practice, there was always an intense desire to grow, including taking a once-every-two-month trip to discover less well-known locations, which usually involved long trips. He would also write and take pictures. Many national magazines published his writings. An article on Coorg was turned into a chapter in the English textbook for the tenth grade, "First Flight."
He would accompany the kids on early morning walks while pointing out locations and India's borders on a map and telling tales from the nation's glorious past that were never included in school textbooks. He used to describe the locations on his bucket list or those he had visited, which were uncommon in the days before the internet to the kids. When he was absent due to traveling or medical crises, children would wait for him and miss him.
One day in 2008, Dr. Abrol's friend Rajesh Khullar, an IAS and the Gurgaon Municipal Corporation's Commissioner at that point in time, asked him for a favor. He asked Lokesh to oversee the design, construction, and operation of a refuge for lost cows. As usual, Lokesh was looking forward to any opportunity to do more uniquely, so this was a blessing in disguise. Lokesh's proposal to convert it into a Gurukul-Gaushala complex, offering comfort and assistance to homeless cows and poor children, was immediately approved by Rajesh Khullar. By utilizing the planned resources, he created a model of multipurpose shared space.
In 2011, there were two Gaushalas, each with 200 kids, 1200 trees, and more than 2600 stray cows. Since the cows were no longer attempting to cross the streets, the rate of traffic accidents significantly decreased. Dr. Abrol had an aim in mind. A beautiful and active community area was created by clearing 14 acres of toxic waste dump. The excitement of creating that community area was much greater than the recognition and honors that began to flow in.
Establishment of Gurukul Kalpataru Aravindam: 2009
Dr. Abrol met Ms. Ewelina from Poland and Dr. Surbhi Khanna from the United States when the construction of Gaushala began. They helped to register the first group of kids in non-formal education under a Keekar tree in the Gaushala labor camp. Additionally, a library was established with books by Dr. Abrol and Sh. Khullar. While Surbhi returned to the US, Ms. Ewelina remained for ten years, assisting in the growth of the Gurukul into a flourishing organization and preparing the senior learners to take over after her departure.
He named it Aravindam, a Sanskrit word for the lotus flower that blooms refreshingly above muddy waters. Dr. Abrol had the goal of helping youngsters bloom regardless of their place of birth. The foundation was formally established on 11th January 2013 as a non-profit organization with the name "Fundacja Aravindam Social Development," where Fundacja is the Polish word for "foundation" and Aravindam is a Sanskrit word for "lotus."
Krishna Kalpataru Aravindam quickly became a place for learning and growth, encouraging imaginative thinking through enjoyable after-school development activities. It gave kids access to various educational activities that benefit their development as diverse and creative thinkers. The kids quickly demonstrated significant progress.
"You are influencing the future that you can still not see when you act in the present moment." Dr. Abrol worked on this ideology and had a long-term plan for these kids, who would spend their after-school hours exploring their dusty streets or trapped inside their one-room shelters until their parents came home from work. In addition to offering at least one nutritious meal daily, the Gurukul offered a secure atmosphere, especially for the daughters while their parents were still working.
Promoting Indian Heritage and Culture
Dr. Abrol recognized the children's internal fire. All he had to do was open their eyes to endless opportunities. That is how the courses in art and cultural learning came into existence. The best instructors for Sanskrit, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kalaripayattu, Yoga, Maratha drumming, etc., were searched out and gathered by Lokesh. Some of the best institutions in Gurugram, India's millennium city, are jealous of the level of training the Gurukul offers. Dr. Abrol wants to give the kids new career options as qualified teachers of India's age-old art and culture; as a result, there will be a tremendous need for these trainers because of the new education policy's requirement that students master at least one heritage art.
Every peak is only a stepping stone for Abrol to the next one. He is also working on building the first Free Kalakshetram of its kind, where his Gurukul students would interact with top Gurus' advanced students. His vision is for India's traditional arts to become a part of everyday life, an indirect force that adds to India's healthy lifestyle contributions to the globe.
The Kalakshetram design is currently being worked on by a group of young architects, including his son Abhimanyu (NayaLiving) from IIT Kharagpur, Arpan from Earthworks Kufri, Purushottam Rawke from NayaLiving, and Vedantee Chaudhury from Mumbai. The Kalakshetram will be constructed using locally sourced stone and cob.
"The task will be done," says Annapoorna Aravindam
Every family associated with the Aravindam Gurukuls' students, as well as their slum neighbors and anyone around who may be in need due to a lack of resources, are included in Annapoorna Aravindam.
Since the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1,200 people from more than 160 families of more than 300 Aravindam children have been helped with supplies and cooked meals. The volunteers have been collecting supplies to provide food medical care, set up oxygen, ambulances, and concentrators, and ensure that everyone was safe and well-cared for, including paying room rent for those who lost their employment.
"They desire to rise; let them see the sky," An Ideology.
Dr. Abrol devotes all his time to identifying and creating the best opportunities and chances for the kids, staying true to his slogan. Even his patients recognized that the best place to find him after hours was the Gurukul.
Dr. Abrols' vision of establishing a healthy, inspiring learning environment, encouraging talent, empowering mothers (through Haatmake Aravindam), and planting and protecting forests (through Prakriti Aravindam) is constantly being worked on; there is no time to stop and take it easy. Like a good soldier, he has supported his people through thick and thin. In the shape of Aravindam India, he significantly contributed to his nation by restoring national culture and cultivating patriotism. Dr. Lokesh Abrol has set a high standard and opened the door for others to follow.