A journey of transformation!

A journey of transformation!

A train full of passionate young people from all across the globe discussing important issues, new start-up ideas, business solutions, inspiring past experiences, playing group games, singing and some even dancing together;  I pinched myself to reassure the reality! 

Yes, I was in a train for 15 days, travelling 8,000 km across India, visiting 12 destinations. 

Those days, when nights used to be on rocking beds travelling from one place to another, and days full of learning from business and social entrepreneurs, who started different enterprises and are actually living the concept of “Be the change you want to see!”. 

Jagriti Yatra provides a platform to the yatris (participants) to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. We heard from people like Bunker Roy (Founder of Barefoot College, Tilonia, Rajasthan), who have been engaged in the nation building projects at the grass root level for the last 40 years. 

Bunker Roy thought differently: that there is a difference between being literate and educated, and many illiterate people have skills and abilities that can build our communities. He acted on this thought by teaching illiterate grandmothers from rural areas the engineering skills, those in turn, are now solar electrifying their villages. 

We visited all kinds of organisations, from multinationals like Infosys, to grassroot organisations, like Goonj (Delhi), all of which are connected by the common goal of building India. Every year 450 youth from all over the world are selected to attend this unique event that takes off on December 24. The train starts from Mumbai, travels anti- clockwise from south-east-north-west of India.

Apart from the 450 participants (called ‘yatris’), 30 organising members who are the Yatra alumni (called the Engine Room Club or the ERC) are also selected who literally run the train and its operations with the core team. 

It is essential to understand that this Yatra is not a picnic! The primary motive is to take the potential change makers of tomorrow out of their comfort zones, show them the real middle-India, and build India through Enterprise, hence promoting entrepreneurship.  
The food, lodging, medical and security needs are provided to the best. Every ‘yatri’ is allocated a birth in a sleeper compartment, which is their temporary home on wheels! 

The catering team that travels together from Mumbai serves quality and variety food four times a day on time! Also, a male and a female doctor travel along with well-equipped medical compartment in the train.
 Innovations are not only heard of in discussions but also seen in the train. Two bogies are fully converted into bathrooms with hot water available for every compartment-turned-bathroom. 

The best part about Jagriti Yatra is there is so much to learn during the journey. It’s not only the role models (the entrepreneurs at different destinations), but also the life-stories/work of fellow yatris, the resource people, the constantly-running around ERC, the always-on-time and never impatient catering team that teach one a lot. You get inspired from each and every element on the train! Time management and resource management are concepts we read of, but during the ‘Yatra’, we actually practised them. For instance, when 450 of us had exact eight minutes to board (we never derailed the train!) or when six people had to get ready in the small space in the compartment every morning at the same time.
Team work, optimal utilisation of resources, excellent time management, stress management, conflict management; I may sound like a management student, but these were things I practically learnt during the Yatra.

Be it visiting such role models, learning  good things, unlearning a few, getting inspired, brainstorming on new ideas, finding solutions instead of problems, making friends for life or taking hundreds of pictures; ‘Jagriti Yatra’ is a one-time must have life experience!

Ashwini Agrawal PGDM (First year), St Joseph’s College of Business Administration

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