The 55th orientation camp of MGIMS, which commenced on October 25th at Gandhi Ashram, Sevagram, was a transformative experience for the 2023 batch of 100 students. The camp was inaugurated by Chief Guest Shri Dhirubhai Mehta (President of Kasturba Health Society, Sevagram) and Shri PL Tapadiya (Vice-President of Kasturba Health Society, Sevagram). Dr. BS Garg (Secretary, Kasturba Health Society), Dr. AK Shukla (Dean, MGIMS), Dr. Poonam Varma Shivkumar (Medical Superintendent, Kasturba Hospital), faculty, and students attended the inaugural function.
The orientation camp is a unique feature of the institute, where students spend a fortnight at Gandhi's ashram to learn Gandhian values and ideology. During this time, they not only get oriented in various aspects like Sarvodaya Vichar, the code of conduct of the Institute, nutrition, self-help, spiritual health, nature cure, yoga, and shramdan but also get to experience enriching sessions that contribute to their personal growth. The orientation camp over the years has been proven to develop a strong bond and a sense of camaraderie among the students.
In his address, Shri Dhirubhai Mehta stressed the privilege of attending an institute that would shape them into doctors that society would be proud of. He spoke about the relevance of Khadi, non-violence, and vegetarianism in contemporary life. “Shram Saadhna, coupled with Swalamban, embodies the spirit of self-reliance and empowers holistic development,” said Shri PL Tapadiya. Dr. AK Shukla welcomed the guests and emphasized the significance of wearing Khadi as a symbol of patriotism and social responsibility. Dr. Subodh Gupta, the Professor and Head of the Department of Community Medicine, explained the purpose of the camp and the expected conduct.
In addition to their visits to the historic Gandhi Ashram and participation in activities like sarva-dharma prayers, shramdan, and Khadi spinning, the students practiced yoga, attended lectures, beautified the surroundings of Anand Niketan Campus, indulged in Fine Arts experiences, and performed Warli Arts on walls. They also took part in daily sports sessions. The students collectively spun nearly 100,000 meters of Khadi thread during their stay at the ashram.
Special sessions on Gandhian Thoughts were organized by the Institute of Gandhian Studies to familiarize students with Gandhi's principles and their relevance in modern life. Dr. BS Garg, Dr. Ulhaas Jajoo, among several staunch Gandhians like Prof. John Chelladurai, Dr. Avinash Saoji, Dr. Sunil Ganatra, Dr. Satish Gogulawar, Shri. Atul Sharma, Dr. Prathmesh Vyas, Dr. Vibha Gupta, Dr. Ravindra, Dr. Bangal, Dr. Anand Gokani, and Prof. William Baskaran, gave sessions on Gandhian thoughts to the students. The students also participated in academic activities and workshops focused on Gandhian philosophy and values in healthcare.
The camp concluded with a cultural evening, showcasing the diverse talents of the students through traditional dances, songs, skits, and other performances. Mr. Girish Bhoware, Director of Physical Education, played a pivotal role in helping students express their hidden talents. Ms. Anuja Choudhary and Mr. Hariom Patidar were adjudged as the best students from the camp.
During the valedictory function, one participant shared her experience, emphasizing how the orientation camp has instilled values crucial to her future as a healthcare professional and has provided her with a network of lifelong friends. Dr. Abhishek Raut (Professor of Community Medicine and In-charge of the Orientation Camp) remarked, "The theme of this camp revolves around our favorite institutional bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan Tu’, teaching students to understand the pain of others and find goodness in this world."