J. M. Sampath
This profile was prepared when J. M. Sampath was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1989.
The New Idea
Sampath, a human resources development professional seeking to strengthen values by encouraging a deepening of the public's psychological awareness, has developed a powerful tool to help him -- games.He started with a values-oriented game, "Discovery," and has also been developing other games based on psychology and ethics. All his games stimulate creativity, provide a release from academic pressures, and introduce values-inquiries as part of Outward Bound's program. One of Sampath's most promising new ideas is for a game that would induce the players to reflect and discuss the stages of the human life cycle. Each new idea is a further step towards his broader objective -- making the basic concepts of human resource development something that millions of Indians of all ages understand and use.Sampath was introduced to "human resources work" in 1983, while he was a student of the Madras School of Social Work. He attended monthly labs organized by the Indian Society for Individual and Social Development and the Indian Society for Applied Behavioral Sciences and gained experience. Gradually, scholastic interest and extensive reading of the works of Anthony de Mellow, Richard Bach, and others heightened his awareness about his own emotions and led to the central question: "How can one bring about a process of questioning and of achieving psychological awareness in the masses?" He found an answer when he chanced upon Ashoka Fellow Venkat Rao's Snakes-and-Ladders game based on environment (released via his organization in Hyderabad -- the Centre for Environmental concerns).Sampath has already begun to activate major networks to promote his games. UNESCO has decided to send "Discovery" to Paris and Bangladesh; Sampath had a meeting with NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) which has reacted favorably, as has UNICEF; he has addressed forty members of the Indian Society of Behavioural Sciences in Jaipur, acquainting them with his games and their purposes; he has received some assurance that the 400 Navodaya schools (3-year-old government schools of excellence) will buy his games; some interest has been shown by the ILO and the "Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathanas"; the Delhi Management Association recommended to the government of India that the game be written into the "Five-Year-Plan"; and Sampath has begun to conduct workshops in several schools in Delhi and Jaipur, while "Titan" watches is organizing a one-day workshop for all the headmasters of the interior districts of Tamil Nadu.