Sambhaavnaa’s School on Rethinking Development: An Experience | Apply for the Summer School by March 31

Name, College, Year of study: Sohini Chatterjee, 2nd year, NUJS

Name of the organization: I attended a one week long winter school at Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics, Kandbari, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. Their official website is

Application procedure: In response to the call for applications, I filled out the application form and mailed it to [email protected] along with my CV.

A telephonic interview was conducted after one and a half weeks. I was informed about my selection soon after that. Following that, the selected candidates had to make a payment of Rs. 2000.

Note that need based financial assistance is available. The application procedure was prompt and efficient.

Duration in weeks: December 23rd to 29th, 2012.

Accommodation: It is a residential institute. Cost of accommodation and food is included in the payment that selected candidates have to make.

First impression: The first thing that hits you about the Sambhaavnaa Institute is its location. It is located in Kandbari, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh.

One has to undergo quite an adventurous travelling experience to reach the place, but it is well worth it. After a rough travel from Delhi, we finally reached Kandbari, a small village in Palampur.

Coming from a city of noise, pollution and perpetual bustle, I was overwhelmed by the solitude and scenic beauty of Palampur. Our first day consisted of settling in and exploring the surroundings.

sambhaavna institute, summer school, rethinking development

What the Winter School was about: The course, as the name suggests, was on rethinking the concept of development and coming up with alternative models of development. It is aimed at providing a fresh window to viewing development, public policy, economics, society and politics.

The broad sub-themes were- the historical background of our development model, understanding India’s economic policies, democracy and decision-making, social context of development, caste and gender, ecological consequences of development, social movements in India and alternatives to development.

We had different resource persons coming in and conducting sessions on the aforementioned themes.

Best things:

The location. With the breathtakingly beautiful Dhauladhar mountain range in the background, one can’t help but marvel at the beauty of Nature.

A movie screening was held every night after dinner.

Where else can one get to listen to talks on economic input-output matrices, politics of gun legislation in the USA and Zen Buddhism, all in one day?

For me, one of the most memorable sessions was the one conducted by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, a Buddhist nun who founded the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh. Though this might not interest everyone, it greatly appealed to me because of my interest in philosophy and spirituality.

Few experiences in life can have such a profound impact on one’s mind, that it changes the way one looks at the world around him. What I have taken away from Sambhaavnaa, is far more than I can put down on paper.

Bad things:

The food- Don’t expect fancy food as it is a village and the food is basic and bland.

Accessibility- There is no shop or restaurant nearby. The closest shop is fifteen minutes away on foot.

Anything else you’d like to tell:

Sambhaavnaa Institute has called for applications for its summer school to be held in the months of May and June.

Please refer to this link for more information.


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