Learning beyond school, age no bar

Curious what a lawyer’s life is like? Or a scientist’s? This study centre has been satisfying this curiosity for two decades now.

When G S Narayanan, now 80, retired as a DGM from NABARD in 1992, he had already made his retirement plans. His avid interest in listening to lectures on different subjects led to him forming an informal group of people, mostly his neighbours, to come together to listen to an expert talk on a subject.

G S Narayanan, at his home in Jayanagar. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

"I shifted to Jayanagar from Basavanagudi in 1979 and I regularly attended programmes of India Institute of World Culture where there would be talks on varied topics. Jayanagar had nothing of that sort and I wanted to start something," he says. Thus, the Jayanagar Study Centre was started. "I called it study centre because no matter how old we get, there is always something to learn," he says.

Narayanan says that many of his neighbours were experts or intellectuals in the field of law, engineering, health and other fields and readily agreed to come and talk. The talks were held at Narayanan’s home in 4th ‘T’ Block, on alternate Saturdays.

From five people, the number of people attending the lectures grew to 30 in just a few months and Narayanan’s house could not accommodate them all. "We approached Rashtriya Sharirika Shikshana Kendra in 5th block and they readily agreed to provide a hall to hold our talks."

Since then, the centre has held over 400 lectures and currently has 150 members from different parts of the city, most of them in their fifties and sixties. "Even our members are lawyers, doctors and experts from different fields who have an interest in learning about other spheres," says Narayanan.

Lifetime membership costs a fee of Rs 500 but the lectures are open to the general public as well, free of cost. Members are intimated of upcoming lecture through letters, emails and SMSes.

Previous lectures include Late Dr Raja Ramanna on Science, film actor Tara on the role and life of an actor, BESCOM Managaing Director P Manivannan on power conservation and former Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praveen Sood on the role of citizens in handling traffic violations in their localities. "I choose topics based on the latest issues and what would be useful to our members and then I seek out experts on that topic and request them to deliver a one hour talk," says Narayanan.

Apart from the lecures, the centre also honours one person or organisation every year , with considerable achievements,  as an "Achiever", which entails a citation and a purse, raised by contributions from members. Narayanan says, "We started this to recognise people who have achieved something in their field. We choose people we come across or read about in the media." This year, Dr Jayant Kumar, 41, a social worker who is also visually challenged, is being felicitated.

The centre is celebrating its 20th anniversary at 5 pm on 22nd October with a function at the Rashtrottana hall in Jayanagar 5th Block. Justice V S Malimath, former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Professor S C Sharma ,Vice Chancellor of Tumkur University will release the souvenir. M N Vidya Shankar, IAS, Principal Secretary, E-Governance and IT/BT ,Government of Karnataka will honour Dr Jayant Kumar.

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