Jagriti Yatra Day Thirteen: The absence of angst

Winters make Delhi a colourless capital. It was almost seven degrees when we entered IIT Delhi campus for panel discussion on education and enterprise. The panel discussion was followed by a very generic talk by Rajdeep Sardesai. I expected better words from him, however.

The panel discussion hovered around three things: education, skill, enterprise. The speakers were from different areas and argued why these three can/should be seen as separate entities or why there should be an amalgamation. Education and jobs in India are in a disconnect and more on degree oriented. This makes almost 80 percent of Indian graduates unemployable. That’s a serious issue.

Then Rajdeep spoke about the condition of media. There was nothing great rather than harping on the fact that certain media is indulging in negative reporting and how his channel is doing positive stories etc. The talk was more an observation than some analysis.

We left IIT around six with lot of fog and darkness setting in. We headed to Sarita Vihar to meet our next role model, Anshu Gupta, founder of Goonj. Goonj works mainly to make clothing as a fundamental right. We somewhere just look to comfort people with house and food but ignore the fact that people need clothes as well. We ignore clothes until there is a disaster. Anshu blasted off that myth that people need clothes only in disaster.

He went on to state that winters, poverty are bigger disasters in this nation where millions of poor people have to sleep in open without adequate clothing. We choose to ignore this fundamental need. His organisation works to gather clothes (as well as anything that is considered a waste) give it to the needy in exchange for work so that they don’t feel as if someone donated them.

They make sure they don’t hurt anyone’s pride by giving clothes as free. This serves two purposes. One is that community comes together to work for development and the other is they get clothes. I was impressed by the way he spoke about this all. He had a sense of service to society. A doer doesn’t wait, he doesn’t make business plans, he doesn’t analyse too much, the doer just does things.

We all do our things in life. We make differences in our own ways. We criticise people. We get in to too many arguments. We give free advices.

Then comes a person who makes you question yourself about your efforts. Anshu did that to all of us. He started with passionate words questioning where was our angst. Where did Indian youth’s anger vanish? Why is it limited to Facebook? Why do we have this attitude of ignoring with open eyes?

Who’s country it is after all? It is ours and we are the ones who should be thinking to mend it. No one else will come for us. It is high time that we arise from slumber. This is not a time to think, we have had enough thinkers. Anshu urged us to realise the fact that there are some basic issues and we will have to look for solutions.

We have great opportunities and we ought yo address that. We ought to stop getting useless education. We got to stop wasting public money by starting with IITs and switching to MBA. Our tax goes for your subsidy to make you an engineer who will build bridges for us and not a salesman selling biscuits!

The mood of the Yatra suddenly got a lift up. I could sense people influenced by his words. It was great visiting his workshop. We could see how our discarded clothes become anything and everything. It can be a girl’s sanitary pad to the bag that I carry around.

We have just a few days now on this train which has become our home. Tomorrow we head to Barefoot College Tilonia in Rajsthan.


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