Banasthali University or Banasthali Vidyapeeth is a women only, deemed university established in 1935 by Rajasthan's first chief minister, Pandit Hiralal Shastri. Lovingly known as Apaji; he,his wife, Ratan and daughter, Shanta dedicated their lives to rural reconstruction in Banasthali, a town in Tonk district, near Niwai approximately 72kms southwest of Jaipur. Here, Apaji and Shantabai handcrafted an educational institute for women, brick by brick initially known as ' Jeevan Kutir' that today provides affordable education to girls from provinces with little or less educational opportunities. Unfortunately, Shantabai passed away at the mere age of 12 but her mission lives on, as myriads of Shantas are trained to pass the legacy to the next Shantas.
Today, one simply has to book a train ticket to Banasthali-Niwai railway station or take a Rajasthan roadways bus from Jaipur bus stand to reach the university brimming with female students right from class one to PhD. It's a fully residential university where students and the entire staff live either on campus or in the surrounding villages. I do not need to elaborate on the empowerment it provides to the villagers who work for the sustainment of the university's day to day life in the form of cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring and commercializing.
|Red wattled Lapwing|
So, despite the fact that I was admitted reluctantly, my sojourn in the university turned out to be a hate-love relationship filled with a mixed bag of experiences. Hence the moral being, it's your demeanor and outlook that shape you and your future and not the university. But if you want an escape to a study hub like our princes of the old, learning life skills in the midst of wilderness, this may very well be the place for you.