The School – Past & Present
A little more than 28 years ago, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai baba commanded a lady devotee from Sikkim Mrs. Phigu Tshering Tenzin to begin a Sathya Sai School in her home town Gangtok in the State of Sikkim in North Eastern India. This fortunate lady was then in Prashanti Nilayam to avail of Bhagawan’s Darshan and also to meet her son Sunam who was then undertaking his post graduate course in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning – a Deemed University situated in Prashanti Nilayam. She promptly returned to Gangtok and make preparations to carry out her Master’s Commandment. Eventually, the School made its humble beginning on May 6, 1984 at her residence in Tibet Road, Gangtok Sikkim with classes Nursery A, B and C and I. The school was gradually upgraded till standard 8 during the ensuing years. Each year, Mrs. Tenzin made her pilgrimage to Prashanti Nilayam where Bhagawan would ask her about the progress of the school and she would in all her devout humility submit the annual report to the all knowing Master. A whole decade was spent in this manner, with Bhagawan emphasizing only on QUALITY instead of QUANTITY and time and again reminding her to set a firm foundation in the school based on the five Ds – discipline, devotion, duty, determination and dedication.
It was in the year 1994 that the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization of Sikkim formally took over the School as an integral part of the Organization and the school was shifted from Tibet Road to the Sarva Dharma Sai Mandir at Baluwakhani. The number of students kept growing every passing year and In 1996 once again the school had to be shifted to 5th Mile in the more spacious premises owned by Mr. Pradyumna Shrestha, where the devotees of the locality left no stones unturned to foster and run the school. The indefatigable and exemplary zeal of some of the stalwarts of 5th mile paid rich dividends and the school continued to run smoothly for the next 8 years till the year 2003.
The year 2004 saw the school in yet another location, this time a relatively more spacious building owned by Ms Purnima Sharma in the Sikkim Flour Mill Complex at 5th Mile. At this new building, the school had in its rolls around 80 students with around 20 of them residing in the hostel.
Meanwhile, a group of young devotees envisioned the establishment of Bhagawan’s Ashram in Sikkim on the model of Prashanti Nilayam, Bhagawan’s Headquarters in Andhra Pradesh. The name thought of for this holistic Centre for Human Excellence was Dharma Nilayam or the Abode of Dharma. These stalwarts formed an Organization called Dharma Nilayam Spiritual and Charitable Trust and got it registered as per the law of the land. The DNSCT as it was then called organized events for raising funds and undertook youth empowerment programs. In due course of time, DNSCT acquired a new nomenclature SPACE – ellipsis for Society for Promotion of Art, Culture, Education and Environmental Excellence in order to make the Organization more broad based and encompassing, and in the year 2000 AD purchased a sprawling land measuring 19.33 acres at Majitar in the vicinity of Jorethang town in South Sikkim. Rising across the banks of the river Rangeet at a distance of 20 kilometers from the town of Melli and 8 Kilometers from Jorethang, this land spiraled up towards the Kitam village in Namchi, the South district Headquarters. Owing to various technical difficulties, the work of construction could not commence although the Bhumi Puja was performed in the year 2002 and preliminary ground work too was initiated.
The high academic standards and results and the value-based system of learning in the School began to attract students and parents from far and near. The following years saw unprecedented number of students seeking admission in various classes. The management could not close the door on sincere and deserving students aspiring to study in Bhagawan’s School. The School acquired a spacious building owned by Mr. B.S. Niraula on lease in Middle Sichey in the vicinity of Gangtok city. Another residential plot owned by Mr. Sonam Pintso and his brother Mr. Rinchen Bhutia located adjacent to the School was also acquired on lease. Together, the complex consisting of the School, Hostel and a separate Primary section along with an assembly ground and playground spread an area of approximately 2 acres with three spacious buildings.
The School this year has 290 students on its rolls of which 85 are boarders. The holistic regimen consisting of academic and co-curricular training as per the integrated approach vouchsafed by Beloved Bhagawan is implemented to ensure that the students are molded in the crucible of overall excellence. The School follows an integrated pedagogy purely designed to bring out the latent best in every individual student which is based on the dictum – THE END OF EDUCATION IS CHARACTER AND THE END OF WISDOM IS FREEDOM.
From the academic the students have always surpassed the expectations of their teachers and parents. They have won laurels and accolades in every sphere of academic as well as extra-curricular activities. Some of the alumni of this school have already completed their graduation and post graduation in the Sathya Sai University at Prashanti Nilayam as well as in other universities. Most of them are doing extremely well as professionals. Some of them are undergoing advanced training in various disciplines.
This is a concise historical sketch of Prashanti Vidya Mandir which has grown from strength to strength down the years and decades. One thing that is noteworthy is that at every lap of its progress since 1984, various luminaries and devotees have had the privilege to contribute to its edifice. Countless number of people had their respective share of opportunities in the development of this institution. Suffice it to say that an Institution such as this school is an ever growing Institution that has the definitive objective of disseminating Value-Based education and establishing education once again on the highest pedestal of excellence. The process of training the younger generation to participate in this noble task of development has already been initiated and there are eager and young people running the school as teachers, administrators, wardens and professionals. All that is required of the society is to lend them support and encouragement. They are bound to produce the most outstanding results in the days to come.