Professor Ulhas Jajoo was the right man at the right place. There was much to do. The time was ripe for deep introspection and that he did – “why did I choose to become a doctor?”, “I selected this profession because it is a vehicle for service” and “it will provide me access to the poor”. The contemplation that had started in childhood, translated to action when he joined MGIMS in 1977.
The learning happened along the way and set him on a long journey of self-realization. The experiential learning from the villagers whom he chose to serve had overlaps though it was sequential.
Prof Jajoo’s journey evolved through his daily interactions with poor people presenting with medical problems - problems connected to social, economic and cultural factors. Thus dawned the realization that when people come together to address these factors, there is an element of self-interest, and therefore greed, vices, selfishness and disintegration of social fabric (insert hyperlink to UK Alumni ppt). Prof Jajoo concluded thereafter that just as an individual has a character, so does society. Therefore, cultural evolution is as important as economic development for an egalitarian political structure and evolves through women empowerment and women oriented self-help groups.
But it is easier said than done to walk the path of cultural evolution. As professor Jajoo continued on this fascinating journey, he paused often to ask himself “what is the purpose of my life”? After much introspection and over many years, he arrived at the conclusion that the purpose of his life would be to achieve oneness with nature. Thus, his message to his students has consistently been to “touch the faith and see the path of morality evolve by itself”. The faith that Prof Jajoo refers to is not religious faith linked to a personal god but the concept of Kruti-Bhakti – translating mundane acts of life into acts of devotion and ensuring self-reliance in daily, routine life. These actions are initial steps toward empowerment and awaken the impersonal god in us and take us a step closer to social commitment – echoing Gandhiji’s quote that “there is no god higher than truth”.
For Prof Jajoo, Kruti-Bhakti has been an evolving journey spanning nearly four decades and is strewn with jewels like ‘Vastraswavalamban’ (self-reliance in clothes); ‘Vittaswavalamban’ (financial self-reliance) and agriculture for self-reliance.