The National Defence University of Malaysia best known as Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia(UPNM) is a military university located in Sungai Besi Camp, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Approximately 400 Indian students are currently enrolled at UPNM. The Indian students from this university are reaching new heights with creative innovations. They have undertaken a project to build recyclable kavadi using bamboo and coconuts. With Thaipusam approaching, individuals are gearing up to make preparations for their vows. Among these preparations, the kavadi holds significant importance and excitement during Thaipusam. Many people will be opting for different types of kavadi, which are known to be quite expensive as well.
Therefore, these students have introduced this innovative solution, which is not only beneficial for the environment but also showcases creativity. With the belief that the education and knowledge acquired in university should be personally advantageous, these students are undertaking this initiative. They aim to apply their studies and skills where they are most needed, aligning their academic pursuits with practical and beneficial outcomes. This project, centered around creating recyclable kavadi using bamboo and coconuts, exemplifies their commitment to applying their learning for both personal growth and positive societal impact.
As part of a project named ‘Program Kepimpinan Melalui Budaya Madani UPNM‘, Indian students from the engineering course are actively involved in constructing these kavadis. They intend to fulfill their vows using these kavadis during the upcoming Thaipusam festival in January.
“On the Thaipusam day, 100 students from the B40 group at UPNM will participate in the Kavadi procession taking the kavadi which they did, commencing from the Queen Street Mariamman Temple in Penang and culminating at the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple, also known as the Thanneermalai Temple”, said Koshini Santhi Pathmanathan, the director of the programme.
“This presents a great opportunity for us to showcase our talent. We are excited and grateful for it. Our university has granted us permission to carry out this project, though with certain conditions. We are thankful for our university’s support in this endeavor,” she added.
The Ministry of Higher Education has extended its support by providing a dedicated fund for this initiative, while the Malaysian Armed Forces have graciously agreed to facilitate transportation services for UPNM students. This collaboration enhances the resources available for the student’s project, showcasing a collective effort to ensure its success. The students expressed their appreciation to both entities for their invaluable contributions.
“We have already received some assistance, and we are currently seeking additional funds specifically for accommodation charges. We remain optimistic that various associations or members of the public would generously support our project in this regard,” says Koshini.
Students from diverse ethnic backgrounds will also be joining in the project initiated by Indian students. The involvement of students from different backgrounds underscores the universality of the initiative, fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual support among the university community.
As the Thaipusam festival approaches, the dedication of these students in constructing recyclable Kavadis reflects not only a celebration of cultural traditions but also a forward-looking commitment to responsible and sustainable practices. Those who are interested to extend help for the initiative of UPNM students can contact the numbers given below.
Koshini Santhi Pathmanathan (017-2558594) / Sharveena Partheevan (017-8781027)