1. What was the turning point of your life?
My turning point in life was getting selected, and ultimately joining the Police Service in 1971. I never wanted to be a policeman because I used to hate police as corrupt and abrasive. (But, Dr Rao has disproved this perception because of his polite and courteous behaviour.)
2. How did you feel about the police service after you joined and grew to hold some of the prestigious posts in I.P.S?
I feel fairness and honesty pays off. Over and above the recognitions I may have received from the Govt. of India, such as ‘President Police Medal for Distinguished Services’ and the Golden Jubilee Research Fellowship, I greatly cherish the general appreciations I won from public where I worked – whether it was Delhi or Andaman Nicobar or Mizoram or abroad. In fact, my services have been utilized by the Government of India for 4 and half years, even after my superannuation in 2005.
3. Why did you choose to focus on the development and problems of adolescents?
As a police officer, I saw many teenagers getting into crime without understanding the implications. I felt that we needed to understand the feelings of the adolescents better. They were already in a ‘cauldron of psychological and physiological changes’. We need to get to the cause rather than the effect, and ‘empower’ them rather than merely ‘control’.
4. How did you begin your journey of U.V.C.T ?
When we lost our only son, Urivi Vikram (about to turn 21 years of age) in a road accident, we almost got sucked into the vortex of depression. We felt our world had fallen apart. It was with a great inner strength gained from the God Almighty that I bounced back and tried to reverse the ‘arrow of sorrow’ to remove pain and struggle of many others. UVCT is a registered Charitable trust having a mission to fulfill Vikram’s cherished ambitions. It began with a seed money of Rs.10,000 (the only one fixed deposit that existed in the name of Vikram). As we moved on, we expanded into the states of Maharashtra , Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka. We built the first ever ‘ National Center for Adolescents’, with a hope to act as ‘ Nodal Center ‘ for the empowerment and development of adolescents.
5. What made you study further and acquire your Doctorate degree in ‘ Student Psychology?
‘ Once UVCT started focusing on adolescents since 1993, I realized that I, as Founder Chairman, should equip my self adequately to understand the attitude of adolescents and the processes required to empower them. As such, I registered myself for a Ph.D. degree in IIT, Delhi (1998-2002) on the theme of Proactive policing approach and adolescent students in metropolitan cities. I do feel better- informed and confident in my visualization of ‘Gen Next’.
6. What prompted you to start the much talked about ‘Hum Kishore Festival’?
‘Hum Kishore’ is a Hindi word for ‘We the Adolescents’. The children at this age have enormous energy and the system doesn’t provide adequate space to express themselves and to prove their talents in the fields other than education. This is also, in a way revival of the one time-existed ‘ Bang Club’ of 1980s.
7. What are the latest value additions to U.V.C.T’s bouquet of courses to develop the youth in the under previleged strata of society?
Besides the usual vocational courses in Life Skills, Computers, Beauty Culture, Dress Designing etc. in our Centers in Ramesh Nagar and Tagore Garden , we have started courses in Travel and Tourism, Hospitality, and Spoken English in view of growing demand in these fields.
8. What are your other passions apart from U.V.C.T?
I like listening to light music and travel to religious and historic places. My wife and I went on a ‘Round the World’ tour last year. I found a lot of difference in the basic culture and attitudes of the people in the East and the West. The civic sense and the integrity of the people in the West is something we can emulate.
9. If you could describe UVCT. in one sentence what would you say?
UVCT is an effort to transform India ‘s ‘Burden of population’ into an ‘ Asset of Human Resources .’
10. What are your most important accomplishments? Tell us about just any three.
• University ranks at Graduation and Post Graduation levels.
• Establishing UVCT. It gave me the resilience to bounce back into the mainstream of life and devote my energies for a social cause. It is keeping me well occupied even in post-retirement age.
• Getting a Doctorate degree from the IIT Delhi at an age of 53 to 57.
11. One last question, Dr Rao ………. Could you please tell us where do you want to see the youth of our country?
I want the youth to be socially responsible and economically productive. I am confident that we have ‘excellence’ in us to become the Superpower.
Thank you so much for your time. You have set an example for the youth that you don’t merely talk the walk but you walk the talk !