New Delhi: It was a journey like no other. 350 young people traveled across India for 18 days meeting the unsung heroes who have brought about change in remote villages and small towns. Called the Tata Jagriti Yatra, the train began its journey from Mumbai on December 25 and went to Thiruvananthpuram, Kanyakumari, Puducherry, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Tilonia and Anand and back to Mumbai. Along the route, various social and business entrepreneurship models were showcased and participants had the opportunity to interact with those who built these models to bring about positive changes in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in rural and small town India.
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Engineers, artists, entrepreneurs and students were chosen from 10,000 applications from India and abroad for this journey. They hope to implement what they see.
Says Amol Kadam who comes from a small village in Satara district of Maharashtra, “I want to implement the rural development model on water management that I saw in Orissa. Even my village is drought prone and the method here is very easy.”
Amol is not the only one. The trip has many students looking to learn and implement what they see in their own villages or towns. But will the idealism last? Shashank Mani thinks it will. The chairman of Jagriti Seva Sansthan and the architect of the Yatra, Mani had organized and undertaken a similar journey in 1997 to commemorate 50 years of independence. The trip saw many take up social service and community work later.
The ‘Yatris’ have met leaders like Dr R.A. Mashelkar, president of the Global Research Alliance, National Chemical Laboratory, M.S. Swaminathan of the Research Foundation, working actively on sustainable agriculture and rural development. Others, like Bunker Roy of Barefoot College, Tilonia and Aravinda Eyecare Hospital teams among others.