Isn’t entrepreneurship a spiritual process?

Destination 2: Art of Living, Bangalore

Jagriti Yatra is the journey of awakening, and the awareness leads to set greater goals in life and work passionately towards creating a better world. The second destination of Jagriti Yatra 2015 is Bangalore, which is well acclaimed as the Silicon Valley of India. This year the location was the Art of Living (AOL) centre in Bangalore, which turned out to be an amazing experience for the yatris.

The interactive session with the spiritual guru Shri Shri Ravi Shankar was indeed thought-provoking, and a real motivation for the yatris to lead a life of excellence. With its humble beginning as a small school in a sleepy village in 1981, Art of Living Foundation has now established its presence in 155 countries and empowering millions of people to live a peaceful life. A day on AOL and an interactive session of one hour with Shri Shri Ravi Shankar has made the day memorable for the yatris.

Here is the takeaway from the interactive session with the guru which is a piece of motivation for every passionate youth, “To be in a comfort zone is a sign of old age. What other feels difficult, it is entertainment for the youth.”

The noon session was also reviewed as equally motivating, as it started with a session by N. S. Parthasarathi, CEO of Mindtree. It followed with a panel discussion about Digital India, in which Shradha Sharma, Founder of Yourstory, took the role of moderator. Rahul Yadav, the brain behind, was among the panelists, and the yatris listened to the story of his entrepreneurial journey.

JEN, a new edge to building middle India

Jagriti Enterprise Network (JEN) is yet another initiative by the core team of Jagriti to go a step ahead in its goal of building India through enterprises. It aims to institutionalise the wide and diverse network created out of the yatra each year and contribute a share to the development of middle India by enhancing the enterprise ecosystem. It enables the enterprise ecosystem accessible in small towns and villages through its network of facilitators at the district level.

JEN is closely linked to the JEC, which stands for elaborated as Jagriti Enterprise Network. In short JEC is the brick and mortar institution while JEN is the blood and sweat of Udyam Corps, and works for a common goal of building India through enterprises. Udyam Corps is the selected employees of JEN and they act as facilitators to bring in the support of the entrepreneurial network to the people in the underprivileged areas. They act as a support system for small and medium enterprises to get access to the top level management of organisations.

JEN aims to boost the entrepreneurial activity especially, in middle India by implementing a district level development framework and works at the grass root level in each district. JEN works with rural entrepreneurs by providing incubation facilities, giving access to funding sources, finding out the potential markets and helping to accelerate the business growth by proper planning and strategy implementation. Furthermore, local collaboration as well as exposure to the outer world is provided.

Hardly a year after its inception, JEN is now supporting three business projects in Deoria, an undeveloped village in the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh. By taking support of the JY network spread across the country, JEN has been able to help entrepreneurs to find potential markets to sell their products. JEN has a five member team dedicated to boosting the enterprise ecosystem in the selected locations initially and have already secured support from organisations like Tata Trust.

Amit Raj, who spearheads the JEN, was a facilitator during Jagriti Yatra in 2014. He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mines, Dhanbad, and has proven expertise in leadership, business development, and technology led business transformation. He has been working with Infosys for almost a decade in Australia, before he joined with JY. However, his entry into the JY family was pretty coincidental, although he was looking forward to volunteering opportunities in social sector back in India.

According to Amit, the attitude towards starting an enterprise among the communities in middle India has a long way to go. The major challenge JEN faces is to change the mindset of the people and they provide awareness programs for starting enterprises to meet the goal. As part of expanding the awareness about entrepreneurship, there are 12 yatris from Deoria in Jagriti Yatra 2015.

The mission of JEN is to nurture around 1 lakh entrepreneurs by 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day.Both JEN and JEC is part of a national mission of creating four centres of enterprise in four chosen cities, namely Deoria in Uttar Pradesh, Kajrat in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Ganjam in Orissa. JEN looks forward to support around a hundred of enterprises and thereby provide employment for 1000 people by 2017.

This yatri has a different story to share!

#meettheyatri: Usha Gehlot

Jagriti Yatra will have on board around 450 amazing youths every year for the biggest entrepreneurial movement happening on the rails. Selectors are dedicated in bringing out the real gems out of the thousands of applications submitted each year, and ensure that every single group consist of people from different backgrounds. Ask anyone what is the best part of being a yatri and the answer would be certainly the experience of spending 15 days with people from diverse culture and background in train.

Here is our yatri Usha Gehlot, a lean lady, dressed in traditional Rajasthani choli, accompanied with her husband at the grand launch ceremony of Jagriti Yatra at the convocation hall at IIT Bombay. She has an entirely different story to share about her joining in Jagriti Yatra 2015.

Hailing from a shady village in rural Rajasthan called Balotra, the 35 year old is a mother of three children. Her husband, Kishen, was a yatri in 2014, and he was really overwhelmed by the innovative ideas and positivity shared by the fellow yatris during the trip.

Kishen says, “In our village people are ignorant about the innovative changes happening around the nation and rather stay reluctant to think differently. I got an amazing opportunity to become a yatri the previous year and could realise the possibility of doing something innovative. I want my wife to experience the same. Despite the dislike from the family and villagers, I want her to be a part of Jagriti Yatra.”

Usha did not have the privilege of getting good education and furthermore she was married at an early age. However, she is self employed presently and runs a small scale unit that produces inner garments for ladies. Spending few minutes with Usha would give you real insights on rural community living in Rajasthan. She is an active participant in woman self help groups in the village as well. She looks forward to mingle with people and expand her knowledge horizons by being part of this yatra.

Zubaan is the highlight of this launch evening!

It is yet another grand launch-event of the Jagriti Yatra, the biggest entrepreneurial event on rails happening on the planet. Excitement is in the air as the yatris are seated in the impressive convocation hall at the IIT Bombay campus. To the surprise of the yatris, the event began with a mesmerising music concert organised by Zubaan, a venture born out of Biz Gyan Tree Exercise, abbreviated as BGT, during the yatra in 2014. Being a part of yatra last year, this writer is really excited to introduce Zubaan here.

Zubaan is the brain child of Kavish Seth, who left his IIT-B alumnus tag to follow his passion which is certainly music. When he became a yatri, he had barely four months more to complete his graduation. Being an enthusiastic traveller, Kavish was someone who would listen to local musicians and singers for hours on end while he roams around with a rucksack. And yes, yatris of 2014 could never forget the soothing guitar music and vocals of Kavish in the train. He is a song writer, singer and guitarist.

Zubaan was born when Kavish’s passion for music met with Neha Arora’s professional expertise in organising events, during one of the countless business discussions that normally happens in the JY train. Neha Arora, another fellow yatri was equally excited about the idea put forward by Kavish during the BGT exercise.

Zubaan conducts Indie music concerts in different parts of the country. The venture aims at providing a platform for rural musicians to explore their talent and earn an income out of it. Furthermore, it is an effort of a music enthusiast to promote indigenous music culture of the nation.

The first Indie music concert of Zubaan took place in Barpar in April 2014, hardly five months after the yatra. By now, the team had conducted seven Indie musical concerts at six different locations of the country and getting ready for an event in Banaras in the following month.

The launch-evening was followed by a music concert by Chintamani, a 56 year old musician, which was primarily organised by Zubaan.

Kavish was just another yatri last year, but at this launch event he is one of the inspiring personalities whom the present yatris got introduced to this evening, and that explains why the yatra is called as the journey of awakening. Congrats to Zubaan team!

The Best Gift is the Interactions

‘The best gift you will get is the interactions with the yatris’

Finally, the curtains are up! It is the day for the launch event of the amazing entrepreneurial event called Jagriti Yatra, simply translated as the ‘journey of awakening’. The annual train journey with 450+ brilliant young minds is about to start in a few hours and the preparations are in full swing. It is sleepless nights and hectic days for the core team as well as the supporting volunteers to make this journey a huge success in its eighth year also. The excitement is at its peak to welcome another set of talented youth, who has been selected as yatris, this year.

The training for the facilitators is a major event that happens every year on the day prior to the yatra. Facilitators, as the name puts it, acts as a bridge between the core team in charge of organising the event and the yatris. We have a group of amazing personalities who have proved their expertise in the area they work on as facilitators this year as well. They are selected after a rigorous screening process to ensure the commitment and ability to make the yatra the most inspiring entrepreneurial journey for the yatris.


The facilitators include people from diverse background representing urban, rural, and in-between segments. We have facilitators from 23 countries this year to experience the middle India on Jagriti Yatra Train. The minimum age is 27 for applying as a facilitator.

There are people from countries this time to explore the middle India and travel with the yatris in the train as facilitators. The core team members had a great interactive session during the workshop. Furthermore, they were given an awareness session about the safety measures to be taken in case of emergencies like fire break, terrorist attack, accidents, etc. by Colonel Kaizad Bhaya, a veteran officer, who is also the Train-in-Charge of the Jagriti Yatra.

Here is the take away tip from one of the ex-facilitators Pranjal Modi, who is associated with the organising team since he became a yatri, ‘the best gift the facilitators will get is the interaction between the yatris.’


How the Biggest Entrepreneurship journey covers 8000 kms in 15 days

Jagriti Yatra, the annual train journey with 450 brilliant young minds, covers 8000 kms, travels to 12 destinations, and the Yatris meet 8 role models, all in just 15 days. Conducting this magnanimous journey is a herculean task. The reflection of dedication and passion of a group of dynamic individuals results in the most inspirational train journey being a success every year.

The Engine Room Club, aka ERC, is an extended team of the Organization Committee in which the members are selected from a wide pool of ex-yatris who wholeheartedly volunteers close to a month for the greater good.

The Yatra is a logistical nightmare in itself.  However, the effective coordination and operational expertise between various teams such as Punctuality, Transportation, Advance Party, and Crowd Management ensures the smooth functioning of the Jagriti Yatra Train.

Punctuality Team

The name pretty much says it all. Timing is everything in rail carriage movement. A slight delay here would mean an exponential error at the other end.

The train passes through 10 different railway zones which are further segregated into a multitude of railway divisions. The team coordinates with the different zone and division offices to make sure clearance for proper and timely movement of the train is obtained. The team manages it perfectly every year, so that delays never spoil the spirit of the journey.

The team comprising of Vinod Lokku and Nakul Gupta as the clock-watchers will make sure the 2015 Yatra reaches each destination in time. Vinod, a 2014 Yatri, is an engineer by education and has developed a social service mobile app called Bharatiyam. Nakul Gupta is an entrepreneur too and a proud Yatri of 2014.

Advance Party Team

While the punctuality team manages the permissions and timely movement of train, the advance party travels to the stations before the train reaches there and confirms zone clearances. Moreover, they look into the arrangements made at each alighting station to give a warm welcome to the Yatris.  Ganesh, Sumit and Aditya conjoin to make the Advance Party Team this year.

Sumit Khude, a 2010 Yatri, has been an integral part of ERC since 2011. He is a successful professional and a travel enthusiast.  Ganesh Modkar, working as ACP with Central Police, is a chemical engineer from IIT. Aditya, a Yatri of 2013, holds a Masters in Social Work and a Gandhian Fellowship.

Transportation Team

Once the train reaches the destination, the main task is to safely move the 450 Yatris to the destinations, which could be well above an hours’ drive. The Transportation Team starts its work well before the Yatra in talking to the bus owners and arranging local transport. Sagar Unde, a 2013 Yatri and an ERC last year, make sure the buses reach the pickup points on time.

Hailing from Maharashtra, Sagar is now in the JY train for the third consecutive year, but his excitement about the train journey does not seem to set down, for he believes the experience is different each time.

Crowd Management Team

Imagine managing five members of your family to get into the vehicle after shopping? Rather difficult right? Now imagine 450+ people from different backgrounds! Well, the logistics of 450 odd yatris from a single train to 12 buses within ten minutes is the daunting task that Manish, along with Tushar, Pooja and Hariprasad, will manage efficiently this year.

Manish, the wanderlust from Indore, works for Reliance Petroleum Project as a trainer, and is pretty good in dealing with people. Tushar, the founder of the start-up Fasket and an engineer from IIT (BHU), is voluntarily in for crowd management. Next in the team is Hariprasad, another young professional from Hyderabad who was a Yatri in 2014. Pooja hails from Deoria, and has earned applause as a successful rural entrepreneur in handicrafts product making.

Register for Jagriti Yatra 2016 now!

Indeed, it is a fight against time to make this incredible journey a reality every year, and it is the proper planning and incessant commitment of the teams that makes JY an impeccable event every year! Hats off to your dedication!

Ruchika wants to change the education system

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened,” is an oft-repeated quote from Savithri Phule, who dedicated her life to educating woman. Here is our yatri, Ruchika Dandale, 26 year old, who draws inspiration from Savithri Phule, and runs an English medium school in a shady village near Amravati in Maharashtra.

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