The M.A. students and the research scholars of the Department of Sanskrit Studies, led by Prof. JSR Prasad, visited the 33rd Kitchen of Akshaya pātra Foundation on 10th February, 2023.
The state-of-the-art kitchen has been contributing towards providing freshly cooked, hygienic, nutritious meals to the school children in Telangana as part of the Central Government’s Mid-Day Meal scheme. At present, the kitchen serves over 3,500 schools across the state and all the kitchens together provide meals to almost 2 million people a day; most notably in the cancer hospitals and through highly subsidised ‘Annapurna scheme’ which serves meals to poor people at just Rs.5.
Sri Rakesh, an ex-software engineer at Infosys turned full-time volunteer at Akshaya pātra, informed the students that the foundation is idealised upon Srila Prabhupada’s first vision, “No one within a ten-mile radius of our center should go hungry.”
He took the students on a tour in and around the kitchen, explaining to them how technology is used to make the cooking process automated and contactless. The students were amazed at the efficiency with which the whole cooking process is executed within the time constraints, while maintaining strict quality control and waste management.
Rakesh emphasised on the importance of using technology in a sustainable manner. All the waste material is dumped in the backyard area itself, which is then turned into the renewable energy like biogas, and the electricity produced is again used in the cooking process.
Towards the end of the visit, the students were also encouraged to engage themselves in the service of the people which is in itself serving the nation. The members of Akshaya pātra, emphasised on the collaboration between UoH and the foundation and welcomed any student of the UoH community to join their other activities like ‘Mantra Meditation,’ ‘Gita for Students’ or ‘Volunteering at the Golden Temple’ scheme.
—Contributed by Sayantan Lahiri, IoE Research Intern, Department of Sanskrit Studies