jagriti yatra experience gaurav ketkar

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  • Recorded herein are my impressions from the Jagriti Yatra, 2013

    -Gaurav Ketkar


    jagriti yatra 2013 building India through enterprise

  • contents




    how different cultures can create a wonderful experience

    a typical day on the Yatra

    immersion experience in Deoria

    Role model visits

    Devdutt Pattanaik Chief belief officer, Future Group

    Popatrao Pawar Sarpanch of Hiware Bazar

    Jyoti Mhapsekar rag pickers association

    Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya a school with a difference

    Sachin Desai school without walls

    Vishnuteertha Agnihotri Educational Initiatives

    Panel Discussion S. Bagchi, M. Chatrapaty, A. Sinha, S. Bansal, S. Ganeshan

    Dr. Aravind Aravind Eye Care

    Joe Madiath Gram Vikas The ideal village

    Anshu Gupta Goonj Cloth as a tool for greater social change

    Bunker Roy Barefoot College, Tilonia making grandmas into solar engineers!

  • Jagriti Yatra is an initiative of Jagriti Sewa Sansthan, a non-

    governmental organization that promotes entrepreneurship. The first

    Yatra was in 2008. In Hindi, Jagriti Yatra means a journey of

    awakening and as the name suggests it is a journey of social

    awakening. Jagriti Yatra is all about creating the next generation of

    job-givers as opposed to job seekers and to that end, many of my

    co-Yatris were such selections that they already had taken the leap

    and had started some enterprise/NGO of their own.

    A very big applicant pool (18,000 applications from around the

    world) allows the JY team to introduce immense diversity in the Yatris

    selected for the Yatra. In fact, my own group, Group-E had people

    from as many as 10 different Indian states and one of them was from

    France too! People from different parts of India offered a completely different perspective and displayed a very

    different mindset or way of attacking a problem.

    Jagriti Yatra takes you on a journey across India to meet 15 of Indias titans in the field of enterprise, primarily

    people who have worked for social good. The Yatra experience is exciting and at the same time extremely

    humbling. It is a chance to find out how much you do not know! For me it was a chance to live my dream of living

    in a hostel-like environment at least for 15 days. I found out why they say that your hostel mates are your mates for


    You are bound to bond well if you have to put up with the same serpentine queue for the washroom early in the

    morning. Your bond strengthens if you share a common love for classic old Hindi songs & then spend the second

    night of the Yatra singing them with your cohort until the wee hours of the morning.After that special song in the

    middle of the night,you end up having the real lifeline exercise if you know what I mean! (Note: A lifeline exercise

    Group E (L-R): Top row - Jyotsna, Ankit, Nitya, Gaurav, Ramya (facilitator), Sri Harshit, Samrat, Puneet, Amar. Bottom row - Rutwik (facilitator), Ashvin, Mital, Emma Members of Group E not in this picture are: Sandeep, Parth, Sanvar Lal, Prabhakar, Prithvi & Barkha they were busy finding their personal peace in the land of the Mahatma

    We want the youth to become job

    givers rather than job seekers

    Shashank Mani, Chairman Jagriti Sewa


  • is something that we did on the Yatra to get to know to each other better. This exercise involved the participant

    narrating his/her life story and nudging the graph up or down corresponding to highs or lows in their lives) You

    know you have really broken the ice when, I wonder

    when they will give us hot water for a bath. Then we can

    all take a bath! becomes, Ayee Ketkaar! Jaa Naha ke

    AA! Tu hi hai jo baas maar raha hai! and you reply,Ja

    chaal! Wo toh Dey-la hai jo 4 din se nahaya nahi! (At

    this point, you have all decided upon silly nicknames for

    everyone like Dey-la, Satellite or Amar Deep Jawan


    The extent of ones own ignorance becomes evident on the Yatra. Some of the things that struck me are that there

    are people who have done so many things already not just the role models but also the Yatris. Not all the things

    are great or have had a social impact. Maybe some of those activities are even wicked! Nevertheless, they have

    taught these individuals valuable lessons and made them so much wiser. I now realize how vast India really is in

    fact, post-Yatra I have come to believe that there are two countries India and Bharat in the same place and there is

    tremendous opportunity in both these places.

    Suprabhat, Good morning Yatris, today we will It is with such an announcement over the public announcement

    system on the train that 450+ participants or Yatris for the Jagriti Yatra were woken up every day. Patriotic or

    otherwise inspirational songs were then played to inspire (read harass) us out of our sleeping bags! Sometimes

    they also played the Yaaro Chalo geet on the speakers to wake us up. The lyrics of the song are:


    Kuchh badal raha, kuchh badlenge, [Some of the things are changing and some we will change]

    Tab badlega, jab badlenge [They will change only when we will change]

    Kuchh dekha hai, kuchh dekhenge, [Some of the things we have seen and some we will see]

    Kuchh likkha hai, kuchh likh denge... [Some of the things are written, some we will write]

    Yaaro Chalo badalne ki rut hai [Let us go friends; it is the season of change!]

    Yaaro Chalo, sawarne ki rut hai [Let us go friends; it is the season of betterment!]

    Hawa keh rahi tu theherna nahi [The winds are asking us not to stop]

    Gagan keh raha tu pighalna nahi [The sky is asking us not to fall apart]

    Zameen keh rahi mujhko chhuke to dekh [The earth is asking us to touch and feel it]

    Arey ankhein mila, satya se darna nahi... [Look into the eyes, and don't fear the truth]

    Yaaro Chalo...

    Yatris, everyone will stay in their bogies

    until the headcounts are done!

    Vibha Joshi - The voice behind the PA system

  • I participated in the sixth edition of the Yatra. This Yatra had a

    handful of participants from USA, UK, France, Italy, Nepal,

    Russia & China too but for all the international Yatris that I

    spoke to, bringing about change in India was not a priority.

    They were here to get a feel of India under the nurturing

    care of the Yatra team.

    I have divided this document in two parts. One deals with my life on the train, the people I met there, the various

    aspects of living 15 days on a special train and the other part is about the role models we met and their

    philosophies and teachings in brief. This is so that the reader can skip through bits and pieces without losing

    context. This write up is more a record of my impressions of the Yatra than a well-researched document & so

    descriptions of the intellectual and the physical journey are freely intermixed.

    Our train - the Yatra Express, was truly a wonderful train with 18 boogies. One of the things unique about the train

    were the Bathing Bogies the JY (Jagriti Yatra) team had modified two bogies on the train such that we could take a

    bath on the train itself! There was an aluminum tub kept between the two benches in that coach. Attached to this

    tub was plumbing that took water away from the tubs and drained it outside the train. The Yatris for their baths

    used huge tanks kept inside the coach filled with ice-cold water to fill buckets! Before the Yatra we were told that

    hot water showers would be provided for taking baths little did we know that not only were there no showers,

    but even the water wasnt heated. Well, not until the last day at least. This meant that I ended up taking a bath

    every 3rd day and even those were quick! According to some Yatris, every self-respecting engineer should have, by

    his/her final year mastered the art of living without bathing at all! The organizers had (in jest I hope) declared a

    Balti Award for the group that maintained the cleanest compartments throughout the Yatra!

    Water was another issue for some reason bogie number 6, the Mohammad Yunus (all the bogies were given

    names of heroes like Joe Madiath, Mahatma Gandhi, Madam Curie etc.) had lost the capacity to hold water in any

    of its taps. (Note: the any is significant and indicative!) We had to make the long trek to the next bogie or to the

    next and so on to get access to water. I found that the washrooms for the twotier AC were significantly better than

    the 3-tier sleeper class. A washbasin with soap and a mirror, hooks to hang your coat and a fan! After this, I would

    prefer going to these more feature-rich washrooms even though they were nearly four bogies away from me. I

    confess that I would take my brush, shaving kit etc inside and then hog the washroom for a long time! This had its

    own consequen