Jagriti Yatra – Experience of a lifetime

By Nidhi Nasiar

Gazing out of the window, I see a world of trees and mountains, rivers and valleys, flowers and fruits whiz past me. I barely manage to squeeze my hand out from the horizontal iron bars to feel a gush of wind blow past it as I clench my fist to dearly hold on to the flying moments slipping by. The sceneries are changing at a rapid pace almost merging into one another forming a kaleidoscope of memories knitted together by a tender thread of time, both spent and lost in this breathing, writhing, squirming and rejoicing soul of the Jagriti Yatra Rail.

I sit there spellbound by the expanse of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual roller coaster experiences on this yatra which have ended in a blink of an eye. 12 destinations, 15 days, 15 role models, 450 yatris and 8000kms: spanning the potpourri of cultures, knowledge, demography and topography across India.

This minuscule dot in the time frame is spreading swiftly and deeply creating a major impact blotting my life canvas with a motley of colours, much more than years of conventional education and experiential practices. My glorious escapades from the daily habitual routines to this journey gave way to an excavated cavity of untapped potential and newly discovered curiosity in various unchartered domains.
The random ideas substantiated into a tangible business model, multiple sporadic dots could now be connected while some new dots sprang up. The vast exposure offered by the yatra has opened new pathways whose existence I was unaware of, out of the box solutions to the extremely common problems which required a critical point of view to be noticed, sensitivity towards our own roots and much more.

As Shashank Mani beautifully put it, ”Nare nahin lagane, kaam karna hai. ”(We do not believe in shouting slogans but in working towa rds bringing a change). Each yatri resonated his belief as they started on a journey to play their part in building India through social enterprise.

The ignited spark of rebellion to refrain from accepting the existing poor state of Tier 2 and tier 3 districts and taking an initiative of change through feasible and sustainable solutions has been one of the many outcomes in the form of a visible difference after the yatra. The insights from the multiple role models and their journey towards a better India has added fuel to the fire of taking a step towards being the change we want to see in the world. The yatra focused on a plethora of verticals like education, manufacturing, healthcare, sanitation, arts, sports etc. which highlighted the burning issues in the middle of the pyramid, a strata comprising of around 750 million Indians today. An approach to address the problems by following a well-devised step by step business plan from seed funding to the target customers to a revenue model, its sustainability and the impact was learnt and executed in the Biz Gyan Tree Event held at Deoria. The panel discussions leading to open Q/A sessions were particularly successful in resolving the personal queries which were helpful to the masses rather than acquiring only the factual and superficial information about that enterprise.

Inside the train was a different story altogether. A mini India (or a mini world, as we had international participants from various countries) was a dynamic hub of exchange of ideas, cultures, knowledge, habits and skills. It was a molten pot of gold of vibrant activities going on 24*7 between people from rural and urban backgrounds.

Despite having a language barrier they never ceased to dwell on the constructive aura in the train which they could both share and understand.  Presentations on role models enhanced the confidence of many and gave them a platform to thoroughly research the assigned enterprise and brainstorm critically to find flaws in their flourishing existential system. AC chair car sessions held on the train regulated the process of constant unlearning and learning to optimize our limited time together.

The train also provides a few snuggle spots to curl in and zone out in a whirlpool of self-introspection. Recall your day in flashes of important quotes, ideas, new implementation techniques or a way of life. Absorb the impressing novelties all around and let them seep into your blood to become a part of you. Rejoice at the discovery of a new passion in your heart; celebrate the sown seed of curiosity.

The yatra is a parallel universe co-existing in real time, far away from the monotony and comfort of our daily routine of jobs/college etc., uniting each one of us on a common platform to view real India with the tinted glasses of comprehending the difficulties of the masses and coming up with viable solutions in form of a social enterprise for nation building. It stretches us physically, mentally and emotionally to grow our sphere of personal development. Our survival instincts are honed while we manage to live in cramped spaces in motion. We get in touch with ourselves profoundly and wander across unexplored territories of our own heart. The yatra also ensures a lifetime supply of strong alumni network as a backbone. The relations build in the train are gems for life. The laughter and cries, hues and blues in the journey are the jewels embellishing my life for now and ever.

What I take away from the yatra remains ineffable and words cannot do justice to it. It is something I cannot even come close to explaining. You have to experience it to feel it!

With this I bid farewell as the anthem reflecting the spirit of Jagriti Yatra “Yaaron Chalo” reverberates through the huge auditorium when the entire Jagriti family swings in rhythm and coordination, fully charged with overflowing positive energy, with a promise in their heart and determination in their soul to be the change.

We are India, We are change!

Yaaron Chalo!

#What I Learned

By Nikhil Goel
As I reflect back on the learning’s that I take back from the 15 day sojourn called “Jagriti Express”, I am amazed to note how many of them can be applied to our conduct in corporate life. Below is a modest attempt to enlist a few.

Learn to pace your innings:

I vividly remember Dr. Aarvind of Aravind eye care hospital, Madurai, the world’s largest and most efficient eye care facility reiterating their founder Dr. V message “Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must also be the joy of doing something beautiful.” However, he emphasized that rushing into things isn’t the way to go. Wait till the time your heart talks very clearly as to what you want to do and once you have the green light, just go all out to see it through. Dr. V started the hospital at the age of 58 with 11 beds, not a young age to venture into the world of entrepreneurship by any yardstick. But once he had the clarity of purpose and burning desire to fulfill his vision of ending needless blindness, the feat that he has achieved today in a small span of time is for everybody to see.
Never let your school interfere with your education:

Bunker Roy, the founder of Barefoot college, wisely quipped the above line by Mark Twain while dwelling on the repository of wisdom and knowledge that villages of India hold. Certificates, degrees shouldn’t be the basis to judge one’s capabilities and worth. Years of experience and traditional know how can achieve solutions to problems that formal education system has failed to solve for so long. In corporate setting too, we at times try to look for answers outside when the solution lies inside. We try to overlook the resources at our hand in our effort to scramble to the solution using the template models. If you want to learn, start unlearning.
Any organization worth its salt has to face its crises:

In Bunker Roy’s opinion, if everyone around you is happy with what you are doing, you are probably doing something wrong. Criticism just like crisis is an inevitable part of any organization’s journey. Be it barefoot college in Telonia or Goonj in Delhi, these organizations drew strength from such episodes and were drawn closer to their purpose and vision. Individuals need to look at challenges in the same vein and embrace them as part of their life journey.
Recognize that there are currencies other than money in our world:

2015 Magsaysay award winner and founder of Goonj, Mr. Anshu Gupta, had a very modest beginning 18 years ago. He had nothing but wisdom and courage to ask questions which no one ever bothered to ask. Why doesn’t one get drinking water in taps when we are charged for it? What arrogance causes urban people to claim to be helping the poor kid while exploiting them to do their household chores? What they claim to be charity is actually favor extended by the underprivileged who use their discard. In his ‘Cloth for work’ initiative, Mr. Gupta has identified material and labor as two other currencies which can be utilized to build India. The local communities work on building things most important to them in exchange for a kit prepared using materials contributed by the donors. Here labor gets traded for material. Even in corporate settings, we need to think outside the contours of conventional wisdom and look at challenges with an open mind and an approach not afraid to challenge the status quo.
Heart knows today what the mind will know tomorrow:

One should never lose sight of the cause that is close to one’s heart. A man’s life should be driven by purpose and not by profits. A doer is not necessarily driven by logic but certainly by passion. Explaining the relevance of listening to one’s gut and instincts, Mr. Jaynesh of the Sabarmati ashram dwelled on how Gandhi always listened to his heart while finding answers to his most daunting ordeals. No matter if the solution is contrarian because any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already. Listen to your inner voice and take the plunge. In one’s professional journey too, one encounters situations where heart and mind are in conflict. Great leaders have always listened to their heart and that has made all the difference.

Empowering Women And Their Ways

By Divya Ramachandran
I spent Christmas and New Year with some inspiring women from Rae Bareli, a small village in Uttar Pradesh. These wonderful women were almost always laughing and seemed happy. What made them this positive and cheerful, I was curious.

When I asked them, they told me their story:

“We are a few women from a small village. We never had much money. Our husband’s income was not enough for all of us to survive, especially with our kids around. So we talked about it with the other women in the village and decided to start an NGO, where about 20 women come together and put in a minimum of Rs.20 per month into the NGO. So collectively at the end of a year, with monthly donations coming in, it was quite a lot of money that piled up. This could be used for emergency cases or maybe even starting a business.”

This system proved to be an efficient one that benefited the village. But it was not only that benefit that came about. The women of the village were not looked up to, for starting something innovative. And the way women are looked at in the village is with a lot of respect, not just their generations, but future ones also.

“What are you going to do after the yatra?” I asked.

“We want to to tell all the women in our village about our adventure and encourage them to go on their own adventure.”

A day of wonder, a day of love
A day of questioning, a day of reason
A day of ease, a day of tiredness
A day of amazement, a day of bewilderment
A day of respect, a day of giving
A day of fun, a day of laughter
The days pass on as we go on this journey
Each moment being different from the next;
Some days we sit somber and tired
Some days we are alive with passion and respect
Some days we laugh out loud not caring a bit about the world around us
Some days we work hard to reach out and tell someone what we mean
Some days we are quiet and to ourselves
Some days we are outspoken and want to fill our time with conversation around us
Some days we want to find an escape
Some days we know this is what we came here for
Some days we travel on buses, on long rides
Some days we stare outside the moving train enjoying nature
This is the yatra of making new friends,
Friends for life;
This is the yatra to be amazed at what a beautiful country we have around us
This is a yatra that shows us what our own potential is
This is a yatra that shows us that there is a world beyond us, but nothing too far that it’s not reachable
This is yatra where we learn by expressing and communicating
This is a yatra where generosity and courtesy come naturally to those around us
This is yatra where you meet people from everywhere
This is a yatra where you can converse and find more people just like you
This is a yatra where you can find people strikingly different from you
But at the end you all know you have been on this journey together…no matter who you are, how you think or where you’re from.

Courage to Start Small

By Pallavi Tak

I sit in a whirlpool of sounds. The life-saving machines beeping from all directions switching from one note to another, as if playing a piano deciphering a unique symphony. The staff is changing shifts, greeting one another, giggling and taking stock of patients. The housekeeping engaging itself in the daily chores and taking instructions from the staff. These noises in the backdrop of a clear signboard shouting ‘Please maintain silence’, gives me some reason to keep my sense of humour intact.

The data screen in front of me shows numbers gradually normalizing, the chest harmonics do not bother the doctor now. Blood reports remain a matter of serious concern though. As I perch on the chair beside Abba’s bed in the Intensive Care Unit of Jawahar Lal Nehru Hospital, Ajmer; I indulge in visualizing the Valedictory function of Jagriti Yatra 2016. The social networking platforms have already started buzzing and are poured with pictures of beautifully dressed yatris in their traditional attires. This day is sacred, as the yatra comes to a conclusion. In the last fifteen days this train carrying over five hundred yatris has transformed into a home away from home for all. Parting ways now is difficult, emotions are on their high and promises to stay connected beyond the yatra get further pronounced.

Shashank Mani rightly puts it as, the yatra is not about getting immediate business ideas or strategies or funding, instead creating human relations during the yatra. This flourishing network of over 4,000 yatris built since 2008, the first formal Jagriti Yatra, is its real achievement. From here comes the first lesson, entrepreneurship is not just about ideas – they are plenty; not even about funding – resources are abundant; but it is about the people, the team and their commitment.

No wonder I am waiting for my ‘yatri parichay’ more than the participation or Business Gyan Tree winner certificates. Enterprises have never really been built over qualifications. Entrepreneurs swim against the currents and the dogmas. Their concern is people, their problems and apt solutions, eventually – impact creation.

It was adequately forewarned that yatra is not meant to be easy, to be experienced from the comfort zones, and it is more than outside, a journey within oneself. Yatra runs parallel, outside and inside. One that is seen, the other felt. One that is witnessed, other experienced. One that pushes you in all directions, the other that weeds out. One that fills you with stories of role models, the other that compels you to have one of your own. Lot many pull and push factors work diligently on the individual till he reaches a complete disequilibrium. From this nadir point of complete unlearning, begins the true beginning. One has to feel small to get the fire in the belly to grow big. This journey is about shedding ego, to be able to focus on the people, problem, and zeal to find a solution.

While for me the very reaching to the yatra was a challenge, and my learning started five years before the yatra actually began in 2016. I give credit to Dr Jyoti Chandiramani, my ex-boss to have introduced me to the yatra in 2011. I had just got enrolled for PhD programme then, and was struggling to capture the highs and lows of research agendas and methodologies. In the midst of the circus that I had created around myself of running a home, conducting research, teaching economics, and deep down my heart conspiring to shed it all for my passion for entrepreneurship; here I was filling up Jagriti Yatra (JY) form. I was so excited to see the length and width of the form, which took me an entire two days to furbish the information asked for. And of course my honesty and due diligence were to be rewarded by an affirmative response from the JY office. But life does not really give you things so easily, especially the ones you strive for the most. Of course I was not selected. And not once but twice. It was a futile effort and good enough of a reason for me to quit, but I was tempted to apply a third time in 2016.By now I had completed my PhD and shifted my base to another town. So effectively had a lot more mental space to actually become a yatri. Except for the major challenge that by now both my parents had been diagnosed with cancer. I had already reached my nadir, it seemed. And now my desire to board the JY train was stronger than ever before. Time had tested my determination enough, to have finally said yes to my wish.

Enthusiastically I took the JY mail to my current boss, announcing that I am selected as a Facilitator for JY 2016. It should have been a proud moment I thought, which would help me win some weight in front of my new boss. And I thought I would stand as a person among the crowd. A hassle free leave grant with financial support was the least I expected. My boss asked me – “What do you want?” I politely answered – “I want to go for it” He added, “So if tomorrow somebody said he would like to go to Antarctica, I should send him?” further he questioned, “ How does the institute gain?”. “You are not even one year old in the organisation, this is too much to ask for.”

My fight had seemed to have begun, and I started feeling like an entrepreneur already. Later I was to meet couple of authorities to justify my 18 days leave and an investment of Rs 62,000/-. One of the seniors claimed that she had also been selected as a facilitator few years back, but her sense of duty towards her institution was far more important than her wish to have a long vacation with JY. I gave up on giving any further explanation beyond, “For me it is not a vacation, but a long conceived dream that should be actualized now. And I come from a situation where I will have to make proper arrangements for my ailing parents to leave them behind for this span.” It took them two and a half months to understand that I was not wanting to go, but had made up my mind to GO. By now I was made the Co-convener of the Entrepreneurship-Cell at my university, considering my spirit of enterprise. My conviction was well supported by Mr Raj Kishor, a senior professor who went for me from one door to another to get my application moved. Eventually just a day before I was to start for my journey, I got the permission along with a decent allowance to cover my JY expenses. Half the entrepreneur in me was already brought out in the process.  And I was loving it. I had never fought for myself so hard before. I was experiencing a new me. Sometimes we are made to face the brick wall, this is only to filter the determined and the prepared, from the rest.

I had never fought for myself so hard before. I was experiencing a new me. Sometimes we are made to face the brick wall, this is only to filter the determined and the prepared, from the rest.

Another incentive for me to board the JY train, was that there would be an uninterrupted flow of warm chai on the train. Morning 6.30 would be this lovely call for chai, and in the winters of December what could be more delightful than having a masala chai, on your berth, in a moving train. Two cups of chai back to back would confer enough warmth and courage to head for a cold water bath. Followed by another round of tea at the breakfast table. The usual exchange of greetings with fellow yatris and introductions; discussions on role-models, business ideas, problems and innovative solutions; quiet reflections; or just sipping tea with a blank mind; so much could happen over breakfast tea. Though the evening chai times were relatively less rigorous and more bent towards friendly conversations, relaxed murmurings, or just dedicated to

Though the evening chai times were relatively less rigorous and more bent towards friendly conversations, relaxed murmurings, or just dedicated to process of unlearning, or even quiet absorptions. Yatra, yatris, chai and business-ideas made such an awesome combination. I can board the JY train again to experience this a one more time.

Vivid memories of the ‘life-cycle’ discussions will also be cherished very fondly, this was the first point of relationship building among the yatris in true sense. Unintimidated each would be required to share his life story, the ups and downs faced and challenges conquered. The whole group comprising of twenty-one yatris fitted in on one berth or another, hanging in one corner or the next, concentrating on the yatri sharing his life graph whose voice would get faded in the noise of the moving train or fan. The group would hold themselves physically close to conduct this exercise and come out of it as a team emotionally connected, with tremendous amount of respect for each other. This exercise was the first high point for each yatri in general. He not only met warriors, but also while narrating his own story discovered a hero in himself. The second high the group experienced was while making a group business plan to be presented at Deoria. Till now they would be emotionally, intellectually and individually bonded well, to carry the baton of this JY human network to the next level.

Having been a witness to the discussions on lives of role-models, fellow yatris, ambitions of the organising team, dreams of the young minds, determination of the budding entrepreneurs, sitting in the ICU today, despite all the challenges at hand, I feel energized. I could not complete the yatra and had to give it up at the end of the fourteenth day. On this day call for my hospitalized father became more crucial than the finishing line of the yatra. May be this stays as an incentive for me to return to JY a one more time, to witness the valedictory once. For now, I have my precious take-away from the yatra that would remain unparalleled and unequivocal to any other learning experience of my life. For over a decade, I had been a dreamer, wanting to do something big and becoming a change catalyst, but still in many ways was directionless. My focus was on dreaming big, which of course is the mandatory ingredient, but equally important is STARTING SMALL. Dreaming big does not require courage, what demands it is starting small and staying persistent, despite all odds. And this small start may encompass big sacrifices too. The most interesting part of the journey of an entrepreneur is, self-inflicted and embraced pain to quit the comfort zones, starting it small and not stopping till the big dream has been accomplished. Also not forgetting that the human threads is what should bind it all. Entrepreneurship is not a race for finishing line, rather it is the starting point for self-awakening. And so is Jagriti Yatra.

Yaaron Chalo!!! Let us Start!

Nikhil aboard the Jagriti Express

Ideation, self-realisation, traveling, knowing about one’s country up close and much more figure among the motivations that bring Yatri’s onboard this Jagriti yatra. While the reasons for joining this journey may be varied, there is one underlying theme uniting them all, the burning desire ‘To make a difference’.

The participants, like many others, may be at crossroads in their lives, struggling to figure out the channels to achieve success in their lifetime but what success means to them uniquely positions them in that ‘crazy’, ‘outliers’ pool who are stupid but bold enough to have the conviction that what all can be imagined is achievable. Dreams for them are not something one experiences with eyes closed, they dream in broad daylight while working towards their realisation. Impossible to them means ‘I am possible’ and hard work is their second nature like the role models they meet. You may term them foolish but can’t ignore the wisdom of their dreams, you may find them young but can’t ignore the maturity of their thought process, you may be eager to sideline them as an eccentric breed but can’t ignore their centerpiece vision. This is what makes this journey special, this is what makes it unparallel.
The one of its kind melting pot of cultures, purpose, vision, and learning give this yatra an enviable pedestal. The carefully handpicked role models give the fantastic participants a sneak into the real world. While Aravind Eye Care organisation in Madurai teaches you to find the joy of doing something beautiful in life, the Kalkeri Sangeet Mahavidhyala in Dharwar puts you in front of Adam Woodsworth from UK whose excellent work in liberal arts and education space in the region teaches you that countries and borders are irrelevant when it comes to serving humanity. Sri City in Nellore teaches you to dream big and scale while Mr. Osama Manzar taught to go out there in the world without the fear of failure. With thoughts like “Youth are not useless, but used less” and “Entrepreneurship is not cool but one that begets sacrifices and effort of the highest order”, you can’t help but feel inspired and humbled at the same time.

With the second half of the Yatra yet to play out, packed with enthralling lineup and participants infused with energy and optimism, I cannot imagine a better way to bid adieu to 2016, traveling, exploring, learning on a moving workstation called the “Jagriti express”.

Nikhil currently resides in Delhi. He is 25 years old and has done his Bachelor’s from Delhi Technological University. He worked with J.P. Morgan in Mumbai before moving to the World Bank Group in Delhi where he works presently. He came to know about the Yatra from his brother who recommended it as a “must do thing in life”.

अरविंद आई केयर, मदुरै – यात्रा का तीसरा पडाव

जागृति यात्रा की रेल, 28 दिसंबर, 2016 को मदुरै स्टेशन पहुँची । सुबह-सुबह ही अत्यंत मधुर आवाज़ मे सभी यात्रियों को जगा दिया गया । घोषणाएँ हुई, और सभी यात्री नाश्ते के बाद अपने अपने बसों मे ‘अरविंद आई केयर’ पहुँच गए । वहाँ जाने पर सभी जैसे पहली मंजिल की ओर बढ चले ।

बडे से हॉल के बाहर इस अस्पताल के संस्थापक – पद्मश्री “डॉ गोविंदप्पा वेंकटस्वामी” जिन्हें प्यार से ‘डॉ वी’ भी बुलाया जाता है का एक प्रेरक वक्तव्य लिखा था – ‘जब हमारे चित्त का आध्यात्मिक विकास होता है, तो हम विश्व मे सभी से संबंध बना पाते है, और साथ ही यह भी जानने लगते है कि दूसरों की सेवा मे हम स्वयं की ही सेवा कर रहे है‘ । यात्रियों ने जैसे जूते खोलते वक़्त इस पर चिंतन किया ।
अंदर बैठते ही कार्यक्रम शुरु । ‘सोशल अल्फा’ के नाम से एक संस्था के प्रतिनिधि ने बताया कि कैसे इस संस्था और जागृति यात्रा ने साझेदारी की है । ‘टाटा ट्रस्ट’ तो खैर एक विश्वसनीय संस्था है जो समाज मे बदलाव के लिए काफ़ी अरसों से काम कर रही है । ‘स्कूल ओफ़ सोशल एंटरप्रेन्योरशिप’ के भी प्रतिनिधि वहाँ मौजूद थे । सभी ‘नवीनता’ से बढ रहे ‘उद्यम के विकास के लिए सहयोग’ को प्रतिबद्ध थे । आप कोई भी शुरुआत करें : आपसे समान सोच, विचार और सुप्रभाव स्थापित करने वाले लोग तो जुडेंगे ही । जागृति यात्रा की पहल भी कोई अपवाद न रही ।

खैर किसी भी पहल के पीछे एक खास समस्या को हल करने का संकल्प होता है । उसी को ध्यान मे रखते हुए ‘अरविंद आई केयर’ के बारे मे छोटी सी प्रस्तुति देकर यात्रियों को अवगत कराया गया । बताया गया कि विश्व मे करीब साढे चार करोड लोग अंधे है । इनमे से 80 प्रतिशत को या तो टाला जा सकता है या इलाज से सही किया जा सकता है । ‘डॉ वी’ इसे अनावश्यक अंधापन मानते थे और इस संस्था का लक्ष्य भी ‘अनावश्यक अन्धेपन को दूर करना’ ही रखा गया । मोतियाबिंद की सर्जरी मे तो ज्यादा वक़्त भी नही लगता जो दृष्टि हीनता का मुख्य कारक है । उनकी संस्था अब प्रतिवर्ष 11 लाख मरीजों की मदद कर रही है जिनमे से दो लाख सर्जरी हर वर्ष की जाती है । सर्जरी की सफ़लता कई विकसित देशों से भी बेहतर है । पूरे विश्व मे आज इस संस्था पर ‘केस स्टडी’ की जा रही है । 150 से भी अधिक अस्पतालों को ये परामर्श देती है । पाँच अस्पतालों को खोल कर विस्तारण भी किया जा चुका है

ये सूचनाएँ यात्रियों को अभिभूत कर रहे थे । उनके रोमांच को और बढाते हुए एक चालीस मिनट की वीडियो भी दिखाई गई । किस प्रकार दृष्टिहीन हो जाने से एक किसान जिसपे पूरा परिवार भरन-पोषण के लिए निर्भर है – दुखी हो जाता है । किसी को दृष्टि वापिस मिल जाए इससे बडी सहायता और सशक्तिकरण क्या हो सकती है ? यात्रियों मे से कई इससे अत्यंत प्रेरित होकर एक दूसरी दृष्टि को जैसे पा रहे थे – ‘उद्यम से, पहल से बदलाव’ । ‘डॉ वी’ की जीवनी भी अत्यंत प्रेरक कारी रही । उन्होंने स्वयं एक जानलेवा बीमारी से संघर्ष किया और इस दौरान होने वाली पीडाओं ने उन्हें संवेदनशील बनाया । काफ़ी वर्षों तक कुशलतापूर्वक सरकारी चिकित्सीय तन्त्र मे कार्यरत होकर उन्होंने उत्कृष्ट सेवाएँ दी । 58 वर्ष की आयु मे उन्होने ‘अरविंद आई केयर की पहल की’, उसे ‘मैक्डोनल्ड्स’ की तर्ज पर विकसित किया ताकि ये अधिक से अधिक मरीजों की सेवा कम से कम मूल्य मे कर सके । उन्होंने लेंस की लागत 200 डॉलर से 10 डॉलर करने को स्वयं की ही ‘ऑरोलैब’ फ़ैक्ट्री लगाई । बुद्धिमत्ता एवं क्षमता होना ही काफ़ी नही है, कुछ खूबसूरत बदलाव लाने की खुशी भी अनुभव होनी चाहिए ।

‘डॉ अरविंद’ ने सभी यात्रियों को संबोधित किया । उन्होने कहा की ‘मीनाक्षी मंदिर’ करीबन हजार वर्षों से विद्यमान है क्योंकि इसके निर्माण मे दो सौ वर्ष लगे । इसी प्रकार नतीजों को पाने के लिए अधीरता नही बल्कि प्रयत्न और धैर्य की जरूरत है । काफ़ी ईमानदारी से सोचे की कौन सी समस्या आपको सोने नही दे रही । और अगर ऐसी कोई बात है तो पहल रंग लाएगी । ‘डॉ वी’ का ही उदाहरण देते हुए उन्होंने बताया की उन्होने 58 वर्ष की आयु मे इस संस्था की नींव रखी | आप समय ले सकते है, बस खुद के प्रति ईमानदार बने रहिए । एक मैराथन दौडनी है … और इसके लिए अपने दिल और दिमाग को संतुलित रखते हुए बस चलते ही जाइए ।

अब ये समय उपयुक्त हो चला था कि खुद ‘डॉ अरविंद’ और ‘श्री आर डी तुलसीराज’ यात्रियों के प्रश्नों का जवाब दे । ‘श्री आर डी तुलसीराज’ के परिचय को उनका यह ‘टेड वीडियो’ ही पर्याप्त है ।


संस्था मे शुरुआती निवेश, कार्यकारी खाका, और मुफ़्त मे या कम दामों मे सुविधाएँ प्रदान करना कैसे संभव है, यह उन्होंने पूछा । उन्होने उत्तर दिया की इसके लिए ‘बाजार को समझना, सेवाएँ और उत्पादों मे दक्षता, एवं सही नेतृत्व क्षमता वाले लोगों को एक सुप्रबंधित व्यवस्था से जोडना’ आवश्यक है । उन्होंने बताया की एक सुचारु अस्पताल के निर्माण मे तीन से पाँच वर्ष लग जाते है । वो भारत के आठ प्रतिशत दृष्टि रोगियों की सेवा कर पा रहे है और अगर कोई यात्री अपने जिले मे छोटे स्तर पर ही पहल करें तो काफ़ी अच्छा होगा । उनके प्रशिक्षण के तरीके, तेज सुविधाएँ देने के साधन, ये सभी यात्रियों के लिए भी तो एक ‘केस स्टडी’ ही था । ‘डॉ अरविंद’ ने यात्रियों को ‘मास्टरी’ शीर्षक की किताब पढने को कहा जिसके लेखक ‘रोबर्ट ग्रीन’ है ।


और फिर क्या था, इतने मानसिक मंथन के बाद कुछ शारीरिक ऊर्जा का भी तो प्रयोग हो । ‘यारो चलो’ – प्रसून जोशी द्वारा रचित गीत पर सभी झूम उठे । अब तक तो सभी यात्रियों को इस गीत पर किस प्रकार नृत्य करना है – याद हो चुका था ।

एक पूर्ववर्ती यात्री ने भी ‘अरविंद आई केयर’ पर एक शानदार वीडियो बनाया है । ‘श्री आशुतोष कुमार’, जो जागृति के कार्यकारी निदेशक है, ने इस वीडियो को औपचारिक रूप से युट्युब पर ‘पब्लिक’ किया ।


मदुरै आए यात्रियों ने ‘एंगा मदुरै’ गाने पर भी नृत्य किया, जिसे ‘श्री सनिल जोसेफ’ ने गाया ।


‘जागृति यात्रा’ हर वर्ष ‘अरविंद आई केयर’ आती है और इसी का परिणाम है की एक पूर्ववर्ती यात्री ‘श्री राहुल कोप्पुला’ ने इससे प्रेरित होकर ‘लेंसफ़िट” नाम से एक नवीन उद्यम की शुरुआत की है । यह एक ‘ई कामर्स वेबसाइट है जो चश्मों के साथ नवीन डिजाइनों को जोड रही है । उन्होने इसके लिए ज़रूरी डेढ करोड रुपए का निवेश भी जुटा लिया है । वह भविष्य मे इन उत्पादों को ‘आफ़लाइन स्टोर्स की श्रृंखला’ बनाकर भी उपलब्ध कराएँगे’ ।

इस यात्रा मे ‘मधु’ एवं “हाज़्ररा’, ये दो कलाकार पश्चिम बंगाल से आए है और ये एक अनोखी कला जिसका नाम ‘पट्ट चित्रकारी’ है से हर पडाव के अनुभवों को अपनी कला से प्रस्तुत करते है । साथ ही बडी ही मीठी ‘बंगाली’ भाषा मे गाकर ये इन चित्रों का वर्णन यात्रियों से करते है । मदुरै मे यात्रियों ने तालियों की गड्गडाहट के साथ इन दोनों कलकारों को सम्मान दिया एवं उनसे अपनी कला एवं संस्कृति को जीवंत रखने की सीख भी पाई ।

इसके बाद तो एक अस्पताल के भीतर शायद ही किसी यात्री ने ऐसे स्वादिष्ट भोजन को चखा होगा । यात्रा का यह भी तो लाभ है – पूरे भारत के प्रसिद्ध क्षेत्रीय व्यंजनों से पेटपूजा ।

भोजन के पश्चात, यात्रियों ने ‘ऑरोलैब’, ‘नित्य्ता’, ‘मुफ़्त और समूल्य’ अस्पतालों को अपने अपने समूहों मे देखा । मदुरै मे तो लोग ‘मीनाक्षी मंदिर’ देखने को आते है, पर इन यात्रियों ने समय कम होने के कारण वहाँ न जाकर इस अस्पताल को ही मंदिर समझा । इसके प्रत्यक्ष कार्यों को देखा, अस्पताल के कर्मचारियों से बात चीत की जिसका अन्य कोई विकल्प नही है । यह यात्रा एक अनुभव ही तो है । और अनुभव से मिले ज्ञान का महत्व अलग ही होता है । इन्हीं विशेष अनुभवों को दिल मे सहेजे सभी यात्री वापस बस से स्टेशन रवाना हुए । मदुरै मे उन्हें कुछ खास मिला था । न जाने कितने लोगों को यह अनुभव सुप्रभावित कर पाए – एक दृष्टि दे पाए इसी संतोष के साथ रेल अगले पडाव को चल पडी – ‘श्री सिटी’

जागृति एंटरप्राइज़ मेला (जे. ई. एम.), बेंगलुरु

जागृति यात्रा 27 दिसंबर, 2016 को बेंगलुरु शहर पहुँची । यहाँ माउंट कारमेल कॉलेज के सभागार मे 500 युवा उद्यमी यात्रियों के साथ दो आदर्शों ने अपनी उद्यम यात्रा को साझा किया एवं उनके प्रश्नों का जवाब दिया । ये दोनों आदर्श सामाजिक पहलों से सुप्रभाव स्थापित करने मे सफ़ल रहे है । ‘श्रीमती हेमलता अन्नमलाई’ एवं ‘श्री ओसामा मंज़र’ ने बिल्कुल ही निराले अन्दाज़ों मे अपनी कहानियों को साझा किया । हेमलता जी ने ‘दृढ संकल्प के साथ कडी मेहनत,कभी हार न मानने की शक्ति को उद्यम के लिए काफ़ी ज़रूरी बताया । शायद इसी की वजह से उनके ‘एंपीयर’ नाम की संस्था ने ग्रामीण महिलाओं को विद्युत चालित वाहनों को सस्ते दामों मे उपलब्ध करा कर एक स्थिर संस्था का निर्माण किया है । उन्होने ‘योग’ के जरिए युवाओं को स्वस्थ रहने का संदेश दिया, तथा अनुशासित जीवन से भारत मे तकनीक के द्वारा आम आदमी के जीवन मे बदलाव लाने की प्रेरणा दी । महिलाओं को उन्होने एक बेहतर उद्यमी बताया अगर वो अपनी निर्णय शक्ति को आज़ाद रख सके तो ।

‘डिजिटल एम्पावर्मेंट फ़ाउंडेशन’ के ओसामा मंज़र ने पंचायतों एवं सामाजिक संस्थाओं को सूचना क्रांति से जोडने की ज़रूरत बताई । उन्होने अपनी रोचक जीवनी से एक उद्यमी के जोखिम लेने की प्रवृत्ति के कई उदाहरण बताए । साथ ही उन्होने अपनी संस्कृति, विरासत, भाषा, ज्ञान और जो पिरामिड के आधार मे रहने वाले लोग है उनका आदर करने की प्रेरणा दी ।

दोनों आदर्शों से मुलाकात के बाद यात्रियों ने ‘जागृति एंटर प्राइज मेला’ मे भाग लेने वाले नवीन उद्यमियों की प्रदर्शनियों को देखा । मेला इन कार्यक्षेत्रों से संबंधित रहा –

जल और स्वच्छता
कला, संस्कृति एवं खेल
प्रोद्योगिकी, वित्त एवं व्यापार सेवाएँ

करीबन पचास नवीन उद्यमों ने इस मेले मे प्रदर्शनी लगाई ।

मेले मे ही ‘संकल्प सामाजिक विकास संस्था’ ने ‘बोर वेल रिचार्ज’ के क्षेत्र मे अपने कार्यों की प्रदर्शनी लगाई । इसके संस्थापक ‘ श्री सिकंदर मीरानायक’ ने अपने गाँव ‘कोटुमचगी, कर्नाटक’ मे पानी की कमी की समस्या को देखते हुए 2008 मे ही इस संस्थान की शुरुआत की । उन्होने बताया कि किसानों को किफ़ायती तरीके से जल की उप्लब्धता कराने मे उन्हें काफ़ी हर्ष की अनुभूति होती है । एक नया ‘बोर वेल’ बनाने मे पानी की किल्लत के साथ साथ खर्च भी अधिक होता है ।

इसी प्रकार ‘लेट्स एन्डोर्स’ ने कई सामाजिक सन्स्थाओं को एक डिजिटल मंच दिया है जिससे वो अपने कार्यों के सुप्रभाव का सफ़ल प्रदर्शन कर ज़रूरी सन्साधनों को पाने के लिए इस मंच पर सहयोगियों से मदद पा सकते है ।

‘बज्ज इंडिया’ नाम की सामाजिक संस्था गाँवों मे एक प्रशिक्षण बस चलाती है, जिसके द्वारा वो महिलाओं के जीवन मे काफ़ी परिवर्तन ला पाई है । उन्हें वित्तीय अव्यवस्था, व्यापार के हुनरों मे कमी, सूचना के अभाव जैसे समस्याओं का सामना करना पडता था- पर ‘बज्ज इंडिया’ ने जागरुकता एवं प्रशिक्षण अभियानों से काफ़ी हद तक इन्हें दूर किया है ।

‘डेली डंप’ की संस्थापिका ने कचडे को ‘डिजाइन थिंकिंग’ से मूल्यवान बनाया, साथ ही कहा की कुछ क्षेत्रों मे समय और समर्पण से ही आप कुछ हासिल कर पाते है ।

कुछ और नवीन उद्यम जिन्होने मेले मे ‘वर्चुअल रीएल्टी’ से लेकर ‘शौच स्वछ्ता’ तक समस्याओं और नवीन समाधानों के हर बिंदु को छुआ । साथ ही श्नाइडर एलेक्ट्रिक, एंपीयर एवं डिजिटल एम्पावर्मेंट फ़ाउंडेशन’ की प्रदर्शनियां तो थी ही ।

इस मेले से यात्रियों को कई नवीन विचारों और उनके सफ़ल क्रियान्वयन का एक जीवंत खाका मिला है । उनके सपने, विचारों और ऊर्जा भरे ख्यालों को अंत मे ‘योर्स ट्रूली थिएटर्स’ ने एक छोटे से कार्यक्रम की प्रस्तुति कर और जवां कर दिया ।

यात्री गीत पर झूमते हुए सभी यात्री ‘उद्यम से भारत निर्माण” के संदेश को अगले पडाव पर ले जाने के लिए पुनः रेल की यात्रा को रवाना हुए ।


जागृति यात्रा प्रस्तुत करता है – बिज़ ज्ञान ट्री

बिना प्रतिस्पर्धा के उद्यमी होने का क्या ही मज़ा ? उद्यमी तो हमेशा उस अंतिम मील का लक्ष्य पाने के लिए प्रोत्साहित कदमों के साथ बढ़ता ही जाता है | उसकी प्रेरणा का स्रोत हमें अक्सर दिखाई नही दे पाता |
अगर ऐसा है तो फिर एक उद्यमी यात्रा जिसमे ५०० से भी अधिक ऊर्जा से परिपूर्ण युवा उद्यमी या भावी उद्यमी एक रेल मे सफ़र कर रहें हों तो माहौल अपने आप ही प्रतिस्पर्धा से भर जाता है |
 बी. जी. टी. एक कार्यशाला जैसे  प्रतिस्पर्धा भरे माहौल मे प्रतिभागियों के लिए ग्रामीण परिवेश मे स्थानीय लोगों से विचार-विमर्श करवाती है | इसमे स्थानीय विशेषग्यो की सहभागिता से यात्री उनके सामाजिक एवं व्यापारिक ज़रूरतों को समझ पाते हैं | तत्पश्चात् संबंधित प्रतिभागी सात कार्यक्षेत्रों मे जिनमे – 
विनिर्माण, और 
आते हैं, व्यापार योजना बनाते हैं एवं विचारों का सृजन और मंथन करते है | ये सात कार्यक्षत्र के तीन आयामों – जिनमे वित्त, मोबाइल और सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी तथा सरकारी निजी कंपनी भागीदारी आते हैं – इन पर प्रमुखता से ध्यान दिया जाता है |
बी. जी. टी. की प्रक्रिया दो चरणों मे पूरी की जाती है |
– रेल मे यात्रा के दौरान
– यात्रा के पश्चात निवासीय कार्यक्रम 
छह से सात लोगों का एक दल तकनीक और वित्तीय दृष्टि से व्यापार-योजना पर मंथन करते है |
रेल मे ऐसे सभी दल अपनी-अपनी योजनाओं की प्रस्तुति करते है | ऐसा बरपार, देवरिया के पड़ाव पर संभव हो पाता है क्यूंकी वहाँ पर इस प्रक्रिया के लिए समुचित संसाधन उपलब्ध कराए जाते है | (इन संसाधनों को जान बूझकर सीमित रखा जाता है ताकि यात्री संसाधन की बचत और उनके अधिकांश प्रयोग
 के तरीकों को समझ सकें ) | व्यापार की रणनीति को हर दृष्टिकोण से माप लिया जाता है |
हर योजना की उत्कृष्ता का आकलन किया जाता है और जो भी श्रेष्ठतम हैं उन्हें दूसरे चरण के लिए चुना जाता है | देवरिया मे इन विजेताओं को योजनाओं के कार्यान्वयन मे सहयता प्रदान की जाती है | 
२०१७ की यात्रा मे तो इस कार्यशाला का सभी को बेसब्री से इंतज़ार है | 

जागृति यात्रा: उद्घाटन समारोह, मुंबई

जागृति यात्रा का उद्घाटन समारोह कल ‘टी आई एस एस’ के सभागार मे सम्पन्न हुआ । इस अवसर पर मुख्य अतिथि के रूप मे ‘श्री किशोर माध्यन’ उपस्तिथ थे । उन्होने सभी यात्रियों को जीवंत उदाहरणों से निरंतर सीखते रहने का संदेश दिया ।  साथ ही पुस्तकों के अध्ययन पर उन्होने खासा जोड दिया । उन्होनें कहा की यात्रा की लंबी अवधि के दौरान सीखने के लिए ये ज़रूरी है की यात्री पूर्वाग्रहों का त्याग कर नए अनुभवों के लिए तैयार रहें ।  
                                                                              उद्घाटन समारोह, मुंबई
 आदरणीय रेल मन्त्री ‘श्री सुरेश प्रभु‘ ने वीडियो के ज़रिए सभी युवा यात्रियों को ‘डिजिटल भारत’ से सकरात्मक बदलाव लाने के लिए नवीन उद्यम लगाने का सन्देश दिया ।
 जागृति के अध्यक्ष ‘श्री शशांक मणि त्रिपाठी‘ ने अगले बीस वर्षों मे ‘उद्यम से भारत निर्माण’ के लक्ष्य मे  मध्य भारत के युवाओं के ऊर्जा को दिशा देने की तात्कालिकता का एह्सास कराया |
इस अवसर पर कई सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रमों का आयोजन हुआ | ‘जागृति गीत’ पर प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना ‘गौरी शर्मा त्रिपाठी‘ ने सभी युवाओं को झूमाया | 
‘जागृति एंटरप्राइज सेंटर – पूर्वांचल‘ के प्रतिकृति का अनावरण भी किया गया जिसे तृप्ति दोशी ने एक दो सौ वर्ष पूराने बरगद के पेड के चारों ओर डिजाइन किया है । 
इस केन्द्र मे ही इन्क्युबेटेड ‘देवरिया डिजाइन्स’ की कहानी को ‘पूजा शाही’ और ‘प्रीति’ ने साझा किया | पूजा ने बताया की ‘ज़ागृति ने किस प्रकार ‘देवरिया’ जैसे जिले मे उनके हुनर को पह्चाना, उन्हें सही मार्ग दर्शकों से जोडा जिसके परिणाम स्वरूप उनकी हस्त शिल्प  को दुबई शहर के  प्रदर्शनियों मे स्थान मिल सका । उन्हें विश्वास है कि आने वाला केन्द्र उनके जैसी ग्रामीण परिवेश से आने वाली कई पूजाओं के सपनों को पूरा करेगा ।
जागृति यात्रा सम्पूर्ण भारत का परिभ्रमण करेगी, साथ ही उद्यम से भारत निर्माण के लक्ष्य मे यह सभी पडावों से मिट्टी के कणों को लेकर, आने वाले केन्द्र की आधार शिला बनाएगी | 
श्नाइडर एलेक्ट्रिक‘, जो जागृति यात्रा 2016 के मुख्य सहायक है की ओर से अनामिका भार्गव ने भी युवाओं को ऊर्जा के क्षेत्र मे सामाजिक पहल करने की प्रेरणा दी |

जागृति यात्रा: लाइफ़ लाइन एक्सर्साइज

जागृति यात्रा के पहले ही दिन – यात्रियों को एक अनोखी प्रक्रिया से गुजारा गया । इसका नाम ‘लाइफ़ लाइन एक्सर्साइज’ है जो अभी भी जारी है । इसके तहत सभी यात्री अलग-अलग समूहों मे अपने जीवन के अब तक के सभी अनुभवों को सन्क्षिप्त और कभी-कभी विस्तार मे अन्य यात्रियों से साझा करते है । जैसे – जैसे वो अपने जीवन के घटनाओं का वर्णन करते है, वैसे – वैसे ही वो अपनी जीवन रेखा के उतार-चढावों को रेखांकित कर प्रत्यक्ष रोमांच कायम रखते है |

इस प्रक्रिया मे कई यात्री एक दूसरे से घुल-मिल कर एक- दूसरे के प्रति समझ विकसित कर पाते है । उदाहरण-स्वरूप, एक यात्री ने अपने जीवन के उस वक्त का वर्णन किया जब वो अपने जीवन को ही समाप्त करने की सोच पडे थे । खैर, उन्होने ऐसा नही किया और उसके बाद ही उनका चयन ‘वर्ल्ड इकोनोमिक फ़ोरम’ मे हुआ । इससे श्रोता यात्रियों मे कभी हार न मानने के महत्व को समझा ।

एक और युवती ने बताया कि कैसे उन्होने पहली बार अकेले यात्रा की है क्योंकि उनके माता-पिता ने उन्हें लडकी होने के कारण काफ़ी बंदिशों के माहौल मे रखा |फिर भी यात्रा के इस अवसर के लिए उन्होने खुद के निर्णय को सर्वोपरि रखा । उन्होने बताया की उन्हें साहित्य मे रुचि थी, किन्तु फिर भी अन्य लोगों के नज़रिये से प्रभावित हो कर उन्होने ‘वाणिज्य’ की पढाई की| उन्होने काफ़ी खुलकर कुछ शारीरिक रोगों के अनुभवों को भी साझा किया |

ऐसी शिक्षा शायद ही कही मिल पाएं जो यात्रियों को इन वास्तविक जीवन की सच्चाइयों से अनुभव कराता है । साथ ही इस प्रक्रिया ने सभी यात्रियों को विनम्र होने का एक मौका दिया है, क्योंकि बहुत सारे यात्रियों की ज़ीवनी काफ़ी प्रेरित करने वाली रही है । कुछ ने तो सफ़ल उद्यमों की स्थापना कर डाली है और कईयों ने सफ़ल आरामदायक जीवन का परित्याग कर छोटे स्तर पर ही सामजिक पहल कर अन्य लोगों के जीवन की समस्याओं को दूर करने की ठानी है ।

पूरे भारत से, सभी राज्यों से एवं 23 अन्य देशों से आए यात्री न जाने कितने अलग-अलग भाषाओं, कहानियों को साझा कर रहे है | रेल अभी भी भारत के खेतों, पठारों से होकर गुजर रही है | काफ़ी रोमांचक अनुभव है | यात्रा जारी है …