Sunday, December 30, 2012

You Can “Lead The Change” ! Apply Now

Youth Alliance’s initiative “Lead The Change- Igniting Hearts” is accepting application for its February 2013 program. Youth Alliance is an organization working with a vision to “Connect EACH Youth With a Cause”. YA believes in the philosophy of sensitizing young people towards the society by showing them the real picture and connecting them to ground reality.YA also has a range of programmes like “Gramya Manthan”, ”Come Alive” meant to create awareness as well as bring change in society.
Now, Lead The Change is in a new flavor, with 4 days of residential program and focus toward ENTREPRENEURSHIP !! Past two, LTC  Programs have so far nurtured 5 enterprises.
post card back  3
Lead The Change (LTC) is dedicated to developing social leaders; well-rounded youngsters who are equipped with leadership skills to solve the challenges faced by their communities. Its core aim is to ignite young hearts with holistic concern for their society and nation.
LTC  Program will involve upto 40 youngsters in a six week  program. The program will expose them to pressing issues of our societies such as women empowerment, human dignity, education, environment, policy making and rural immersion. They will study solutions offered by role models, personalities and get a short experience in leadership education. They will be expected to apply this experience to come up with solution for a small local issue and in the process, understand how to set up an enterprise. They will emerge with the wealth of a rich network and a sound understanding of systemic social change. 
Leaders like Anshu Gupta (Goonj), Ravi Gulati (Manzil), Vivek Sharma(Gandhi Fellowship), Shaheen Mistry (Teach For India), Neeraj Agarwal (NIIT Yuva Jyoti), Rishikant (Shakti Vahini), Deep Joshi (PRADAN, NAC), Parth J. Shah (CCS) and few more have been part of Lead The Change programs which took place in March-April and September- October 2012.
You can also find in detail about the application procedure
Check out the presentation to get an idea about it:
Like our FB page to stay updated:
Call previous participants to know more: Shashank (09873427669), Divas (09811132709), Vibhuti (09582870628)
P.S.:  Lead The Change is for youngsters in and around Delhi. Please help us in reaching out to more amazing people. Share with your like minded friends.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Maitri Meet :) & Crossroad !

Dear Changeagents,

What a wonderful morning it was yesterday ! The day started with chilly waves and before that there was a light shower at night. But I was sure that the brave changeagents would surely defy the cold wave and be at Lodhi Garden ! And truly they were there. We started with around 16 people and our very own Ravi Bhaiya and by 2pm we had seen around 20 Changeagents !

It went good with an amazing start from Ravi Bhaiya and then series of sharing from all present there. It felt so good to see how everyone shared there heart out there. The best thing that came out was everyone has witnessed change in their mindset and many of us have translated that in action. There were many of us who are at the stage of deciding on what to do and how to decide among your love/passion and parents/societal pressure. Just to add my view here I would say, follow your heart, rest will fall in place. The one who are close to you and love you will understand your love and witness the spark of your happiness and the ones who dont matter and criticize just for the sake of it, will be with you when they will see the impact of what you are doing. Just one thing should be in mind that you have to take both the types of people together in future.

Ravi Bhaiya, shared some thing really amazing. He said that pain is not always bad, it is good also. Sometimes it is important to undergo the process of suffering to understand the real thing. So, we should not feel guilty that I should not give pain to my loved ones. If you feel that what you are doing is right and you really love it go for it. Many of our members are in their third year and are on this crossroads of deciding what is good and what to chose. Please share with us here about your dilemma and we might come up with a solution. 

I was also at the same cross road, at your age but I chose to follow my heart. I am thankful that I chose my passion, over family/societal pressure. It was my passion that has connected me with you all and many other amazing people.  Today nearly four years after when I made that decision, I can say that I am happy, enjoying my life and satisfied but also hungry to do more learn more. It has not been very easy but at the end it was my choice and now my family, friends everyone support me. 

I think it will be good for others who have crossed this road to share their thoughts and experience here, so that everyone can get benefited !

Thank you for coming to spread the Maitri :) Looking forward to hear more stories/ dilemmas  !!

- Love
Prakhar Bhartiya

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Dream Home : An Open Ashram : )

The mornings are so pleasant here. As we get ready for our morning walk, we can hear the birds chirping on the beautiful green trees around. The sun is about to rise and it looks so beautiful to walk along the river Ganga. Ganga is an example of continuity and it is the reason why I chose this place to live, 20 km outside the beautiful city Kanpur.

A dip in Ganga  and then spending sometime in "Bharat Temple" makes my day . When we are not travelling we spend our time here, in our beautiful "Open Ashram".

This is what I dream, when I dream of my sweet home. It would be an ashram open for all. A place which would be in harmony with nature and will be an example of openness, compassion & love.

I dream of a small ashram on the bank of river Ganga. This would be a place with many small huts, a dormitory, open air amphi-theatre, all religion temple( Bharat Temple), a big garden and a small farm land to grow some fresh organic crops. It would be a self sustainable place where nothing comes from out, everything needed for a basic living is grown here. A small beautiful garden with lovely colorful flower and a small pond make it more serene. 

And this all will be done by "Shram Daan" (donating physical labor). I dream to mobilize 100s of young people to this place and make this possible with their help, each and everything is made by volunteers, with their hardwork and sweat. Not a penny will be spend to hire labor, everyone is labor here, everyone is owner here. They have complete ownership of the space and can anytime drop in their and spend their time here. An open space where we all can have daily meditation, group lunches and circle of sharing.

It would be an open space for everyone. Anyone can drop in and be one with the place.

# Inspired by Sabarmati Ashram, Manav Sadha, Mahatma Gandhi & Jayesh Bhai : )

If you are in sync with this, lets join hand and dream together of this beautiful space !

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Should an auto driver take you with what meter reads?

"Bhaiya ! Will you go to Defence Colony ?", said the girl with a couple of big bags in her hand while coming out of Select City Walk, Delhi's one of the best shopping mall.

"Madam 80Rs. !", replied the auto driver.

"Are you insane, it is not more than 60Rs.", replied the girl. Making different faces she moved on to next auto.

"She must have spend 5000 Rs. on shopping but she is not ready to pay 80Rs, which is a reasonable price", murmured the auto driver.

This is a very common scene when we take an auto in Delhi. Sometimes auto drivers ask too much and sometimes we are so ignorant that we don't try to understand the reason why is he not taking us by meter.

I have been trying to dig this for a long time and a couple of months back I realized, its not just auto drivers' fault but the whole system is forcing them to break the law and ask more than what meter reads.

Let's go back a couple of years. In June 2010 CNG was at 21.9 Rs./kg and was increased to 27.5 Rs./kg in July 2010 and at that time the revised auto fare was set at 19 Rs. for first 2 km and then 6.5 Rs./km for every additional km. Current CNG rate is 38.5 Rs./kg, which means fare raised by 11 Rs. in last two years but there is no change in auto fares, they are still the same.

Do auto drivers get subsidy in buying vegetables or healthcare or education or rising home rent in Delhi? All these prices have changed and each item has seen a new high in last two years. On an average, our salary increases by around 10% every year. But who cares about auto drivers, private security guards, peons and many more in such types of jobs.

This is just one part of the story. The other part is far more shocking. In Delhi you need to pay a bribe of around 2 lakhs to 3 lakhs to get an auto license. So, the cost of an auto in Delhi is not less than Rs.5 lakh and may go upto 6 lakh. And after this bribe and all, every auto driver has to give something between 100 Rs. to 200 Rs. everyday as a bribe to different policemen. If we think that this is driver's fault and he is giving bribe, then I feel we are wrong. It's the system that we have created and not just the driver, we all are equally responsible for this. When we all are using that auto, why don't we share the bribe ? (I know you might find this vague but that the truth) Why should the driver bear it all ?

Do we ever think all this while taking an auto ? Do we think that most of the auto drivers are on a rented auto, for which they pay 300 Rs. for one shift ?

Then how can an auto driver take you with what meter reads ?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Journey of Youth Alliance

Dear Friends,

Hope you all are doing great ! I came to Delhi last year in May with a vision to work with young people and make Youth Alliance a place where young can dream of a better and happy India. First person I explained all this in Delhi was Divya (met in Jagriti Yatra, now a TFI fellow), we started the ground work, sat for hours to discuss the plans. We launched our Campus Ambassador program and met Vibhuti in July. Vibhuti has been an integral part of the organization since then, she has seen the whole team growing and moving forward. Eventually came Shivang, Udit & Akanksha (these were three who stayed with us from the 20 who came for our first Campus Ambassador meeting in August). Now we were a strong team of 5 who were working on ground to make things happen. We launched Samarpan (Volunteering Program), it went on well, we got good no. of applications but we failed to channelize them and keep them engaged.

By the end of August we started preparing for Come Alive '11. Everyone liked the idea and started working towards it, on the event day we had around 40 people who turned up for the event, although we have reached out to more than 500 during marketing in Campuses. Everyone enjoyed it, energy went high, team became stronger, a working group turned into a friend group. All this time Samarpan was moving at snails pace and we were unable to figure out how to go about it. 

For the month of November, December, January Youth Alliance worked like a government organization. I was struggling on whether to continue with my job or quit, if I quit how will I manage my daily expenses etc. but finally I left job in November and traveled for December. By then the team was low on energy, they used to push me to start the work and not be so lazy. A couple of them later shared they also thought to join some other NGO. They really used to call me and say,"YA ko kya ho gaya hai, hum kuch krte kyun nhi hain, humare organization ki image kharab ho rahi hai." (Why are we not doing anything, the image of our organization is being damaged). 

December and January the months after leaving the job were really tough. At this time my team, Shefali(my school friend and my strength), Kishan Bhaiya (my roommate during TFI and my biggest supporter), Ashita (my co-voyager in journey of life) and my family especially my brothers were my biggest support and they all used to encourage me a lot. Finally the plan of "Lead The Change" came into being (I was in Goa, when we finalized the name). Met many people with that plan, it got changed every time I met a new person. Swapnil (Jagriti Yatra) and Anshu Bhaiya (Goonj) were the biggest support in refining the idea. On Valentine's Day Anshu bhaiya got a hint from my face (I really dont know how, I didn't even talk about funds) and gave me a cheque as his love for the initiative.

Finally we launched application for LTC in February '12 and got whopping 270 applications and finally 18 Changeagents on board. The journey started on 12 March and since then we have never looked back. LTC 1 went really great, it strengthened our believes in each other, in the cause. LTC one was a real success and the best thing was that, it gave us committed and passionate young people. LTC made our team even stronger with the likes of Angna, Subhash, Ajay, Seema, Shashank and all the other members.  During LTC, I met Ravi Bhaiya (Manzil) and he was someone I came in sync with, someone I can relate to. His simple and pure thoughts have been a great support since then, a small chat with him energizes me to the core.

While things were moving ahead, finances were a big problem(it still is : ) ) and it was even hard to support myself. Neeraj (a two decade old friend), Anish(school friend), Dishant (college friend) and many more friends supported both me and Youth Alliance. By this time Kishan bhaiya and Subhashini (my lovely friend at NIIT and TFI fellow) had become the key part of our team. As the season changed we launched our next program Gramya Manthan, which was a huge challenge both logistically and financially. It was a National Program which attracted people from different states and finally we had 30 people from 11 different states. Again there were many small small stake-holders, someone sponsoring first two days, someone giving his ambulance for free, some cash donation and finally we pulled it across and big thanks to the people from LTC 1. Those sleepless nights of preparation and then sleepless mornings of reflection during the program. During the program we used to get up at 5:30am and work till 11:00pm, then sleep by 2am or 3am. Organizing GM was one of the best phase of this journey, being with such an amazing bunch of individuals in scorching Kanpur heat. Again we came up with some amazing plans, amazing people who became part of our team.

One thing was sure, where there is a will, there is a way ! (One of the most famous saying in YA @Shivang/Udit ). Back in Delhi we launched LTC 2 in July and the group was learning, YA was learning, making new friends, I was growing as a person and my team was taking responsibilities which are not easy. In August this year Vibhuti shared that lets make Come Alive a huge event this year, I replied, go do it. I was all busy with LTC 2 interviews and did not pay much heed to what she is saying (I really wanted her to take the lead on this). But Vibhuti was determined and she started working on it, shared idea with her friends, made a team, mobilized resources and I wasn't aware of much. I came to know a couple of weeks back that Vibhuti, Mohika-Neha (her college friends), Angna, Seema, Shashank and few others are working really hard on it. 20 days to go and the venue for 2nd October was not yet final and leaving all this undone, I left for London to attend a conference. I was pretty sure that they will put things in place and manage something and the same happened. When I called Vibhuti from London, she told C.P. is almost done, I was surprised because that was a dream location for us, later they shared all the struggles they had to face. But here also we got an angel in NDMC who supported us, good people are everywhere : )

Finally 2nd October came, last year there were 40 people, I expected around 100 this year. The program started after few glitches and when it started the amphi- theatre was jam packed with around 1000 people. I was in shock and over excited, this was like a dream come true. I was like the happiest person on earth, dancing, singing, flying kites, giving hugs doing (pulling legs of team members) and literally doing everything. They have made it large, more than any of us has imagined. One thing is sure now that the team has grown, they have taken the ownership and they are ready for larger roles and responsibility.

The journey has just started, we have to walk together, need more friends, more stakeholders. We have to work harder, plan for LTC 3 to be launched on 21st October and Learning Center to be launched by December in Tishti village. 

Yes, it is the time to celebrate the opening of our first livelihood center "Swaraj" in the village we are working and for the amazing work team has done on 2nd October !!

Will end with one line, " None of us is as strong as ALL of us" : )

Love you all !

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Beauty of London and its People!

One thing that stands apart about the English is that they respect their culture. They follow their culture not for the sake of following but they actually love it. They feel proud of their rich culture and heritage. The city has very well maintained its old monuments and respected the emotions behind each one of them. 

As I walk down the street in Central London I can witness how beautifully the 16th century city has embraced the modernity of 21st century.  One side I see the Big Ben, watch the city and on the other side of mighty river Thames I see the modern London Eye which keeps a close watch on cities movement. Both are equally important and beautiful and attract hundreds of tourists like me every day.

If I go back to my country India, I see a strong contrast. We want to become like the western people but are far away when it comes of respecting the space we live in. We don't even relate why they do, what they do or why their lifestyle is like this? What we do is that, we just try to imitate it without any logic. For example the logic behind wearing a coat throughout the year, is that here it is really cold and the wind in the evenings is really chilly, whereas in our country it is so hot in summers but we still put on a coat to go to offices. There are many such thing that I can relate back to my country now and it is astounding to see what we do in India.

As we move forward we need to understand the context before just applying things as they are. We have our own great things and we need to keep them safe and cherish them.The more we love our culture, the more we will feel proud of it. But this doesn't mean that we should be anti-west, use what is good for us and discard the things that are old  rotten in our culture. Gandhi seems a very good example here, he was very smart in analyzing things and choosing the best for him and our country.

Will keep you posted on more learning !!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A small tribute: "Happy Friendship Day"

Friendship is a very strange word. It has different meaning for everyone. For me friendship is a very strong bond, a connection from heart to heart, a relation to rely on, a relation where emotions can be shared by emotions. Friendship has no age bar, you can find a friend in your 70 year old Dada ji or 5 year old nephew. Some people have many friend but they still struggle to have that one person with whom they can pour out their heart and on the other side some have one and the best ever.

Coincidentally my work exposes me to hundreds of young people and I get a lot of opportunity to come across this relation and also witness friends working together, young people have often come up to me sharing their individual personal stories of friendship. Sometimes we take our friend for-granted but then this is what friendship is.

I really feel myself fortunate to have some amazing buddies from home to school to college to TFI to YA Team. Today I take this opportunity to thank all my friends for supporting me in my small journey of life. It is you who has made me what I am, it is you who has supported me in every walk of my life, it is you who has taken up the pain to hear my endless, meaningless talks. It would have been impossible for me to do the small things I am trying to do without the support of you all. You all gave me the confidence that what I dream is possible, you all stood by myside that yes go ahead we are with you, you all have helped me take tough decisions of my life.

Thank you all for being with me, understanding me, loving me so much, supporting me, believing in me and of course bearing my endless talks : )

Love you ALL : )

- Yours

Friday, August 3, 2012

Team Anna: The Political Alternative and its Consequences

Finally the fasting will end on tenth day and with this begins the time for preparation of "General Election 2014". If everything goes as what is shown to common man 2014 will be different but what we often see is not the true picture.It is true that people like Arvind Kejriwal should be part of system and try to bring the change from within. But the big question is, "How will they go about it?"

  • Floating a New political party
  • Going with Baba Ramdev's Party
  • Supporting existing political party
  • Starting Small with few people from their team contesting 2014
If they feel that they can launch a new political party and contest from all the seats and win, then this would be over estimating your potential. The better alternative would be selecting few corruption free people (better would be the team people) and lobbying for them in elections. Would like to bring in picture, the by-elections of Haryana last year where Team Anna supported few candidates and all those lost badly. 

If they go by supporting Baba's political party and contesting from all the seats then coming to majority would be a dream but yes they might get few seats like Haridwar. Baba has always been a questionable figure and everyone has seen the rift in the team when he became part of it. This seems to be a tough alternative but if it comes into force the loss would be more of BJP than congress because of its common vote bank with that of Baba's.

Supporting another political party takes them close to BJP but still the picture is not very clear because BJP is also full of corrupt politicians but for sure less sycophants and sometimes sycophants are more harmful than corrupt people. One thing is very clear whatever they do BJP would be at larger loss than Congress because due to anti-incumbency the votes were to swing BJP's side and with an emerging Anna options votes would be divided. It will be hard for Anna to win but it will become harder for BJP and this will surely help Congress  to take dividend from this vote division and it might emerge as UPA-3 with lesser vote percentage than what they have got in UPA 2. For sure if Congress has done the damage to the country, BJP has done larger by not being a worthy opposition and the choice country has been looking for.

It seems a tough battle in front of Team Anna, on which way to go. Politics has always been a tough game in our country. All the things have to be kept in mind because these are the things that make Nation, one decision by a man in power can change the course for future generations.

Jai Hind !!

Where did Team Anna miss this summer ?

Last year when this agitation against corruption started it started with a great support, August 2011 was a big success for not only Team Anna but entire country. Country saw a hope in the movement, all were in support, be it common man, youth or media.

But over the last one year Team Anna has lost its credibility be it because of internal fighting; Anna's statements; their alliances; their disrespect to others; their abusive language and the biggest damage was made due to their fights with media. Anna ji has come out to be a mixed of both Gandhian and Bhagatian, he embraces both non-violence and violence depending on situation.  All these things damaged the credibility and the result was low turn out in Jantar Mantar this year. Last year more than Anna's movement it was media's movement, this year media was out and so was common man.

They keep using Gandhi's name from the stage but they forget that Gandhi was never against individuals he was against system. He always maintained that if Indians can he happy and get equal rights under Britishers rule than he is fine with British ruling here. In this movement they maintained this but they started abusing individuals and more than changing the system it looked as if they wanted to shift individuals. The approach became that if you are with me then you are on right side because all other are the wrong sides. Their way has become more of dictatorial the reason can be the over-whelming support they got last year and they forgot it was due to many more reasons and not just because of the people sitting on stage.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Honorable President....non-political dilemma !

First of all heartfelt congratulations to Pranab Da for taking up the new post of President of India.

One of the few parliamentarians respected by all the parties. He has been the savior of government and specially Congress in the recent trend of Indian politics. Often called as man behind the mask, the man who has been running UPA-2 in worst of its times.

He was the one who deserved to be the PM but he was someone who can't be moderated and controlled. And this freedom loving habit of his kept him away from PM's post because in congress the top post remains with the family or someone who has excelled in the habit of nodding his head. Here is where he lacked.

Finally he is rewarded for his loyalty towards both family and then party.

Now, the big question is how will he maintain the authenticity of the top post by being non-political. President is a non-political post but in India its only on papers. If we dig in the history most of our Presidents have been from political parties, leaving a few like Mr. Kalam during Vajpayee's government.

How can a man who has been associated with one party throughout his life, has been the savior of government till a week before taking up the post of President be non-political. Its a huge challenge for Pranab Da. It takes a day to get over the jet-lag after a 20hr. flight, here its like a jet lag of a lifetime. If we go in the Hindu mythology, the Gods have been partial to their loved ones, be it Vishnu taking an identity of a dancer and serving "Amrit" to other Gods or Krishna helping Arjun on battlefield of Mahabharat. The Gods have failed but Pranab might not.

How will you be impartial "Pranab Da" ?

Its a challenge but in true spirit we hope that you will be impartial and be a non-partisan President.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where are we heading ?

Bharat mata ki, Bharat mata ki
Tum jai bolo jai Bharat mata ki jai
Bharat mata ki, Bharat mata ki
Tum jai bolo jai Bharat mata ki jai
Sone ki chidiya, dengue Malaria
Gurr bhi hai gobar bhi Bharat mata ki jai.

These are the lines from one of the bollywood film, Shanghai and they really depict the condition of our country. One side we feel proud of our glorious past, our developing economy, our metro train but what about the majority and other half. People are dying, living a miserable life, just a square meal is not enough to say that we are developing. I am privileged to have an expensive laptop, access to internet and write this small piece. What about the people who don't have access to proper sanitation, girls who don't have sanitary napkin or even undergarments to support them ?

We talk about education, infrastructure, mobile phones but what about Human Dignity, which is dying in our country. There is so much that we don't know about our own country, the problems of tribal people, the problems of naxalities, the problems of farmers. Are they not the citizen of this country ? If yes, then why are we so ignorant about them ? Why do we don't know about them or their rights ?  Why is there huge gap between someone living in a metro and someone living 100 km. away from them ?

Just think ! Where are we heading ?

There is huge moral deficit in our country. We are not bothered about things happening around, it's just that our life should be happy and healthy but why we tend to forget that we can't be happy until our neighbor is happy. We can't change the whole government system or the entire political class, we need to do something with the existing system. Something that lasts long and is sustainable. We need to reflect on our daily actions and think how did it effect others.  Little more disciplined approach, compassion, self-accountability and action oriented life style would change a lot. Small shift in our approach of putting the blame on others rather than being accountable is required. These things are hard to follow but once we bring them in practice it is possible, one small act at a time, one focus area on self transformation will change us as a person and eventually society as a whole.

At this point of time India needs 100s of local role models in our country. Someone we can rely on, someone we can think of, relate to because its difficult to turn the history pages and follow the role models of past. History books can be our reference point but not something we can rely on and close our eyes. India needs role models, who can lead us by example, who live what they say. 100s of ideal teacher, 100s of trustworthy policemen, 100s of honest judges, 100s of patriotic politicians and 1000s of true citizens.

That role model can be you, me or anyone !!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Innocent, Hopeful, Supportive...Learning from Gramya Manthan

As a kid I used to visit Ganga Deen Nivada for two months every year, it was more of fun and enjoyment. As the years passed by problems there started troubling me from inside. I always thought of coming back and working there but never had enough courage to come back.

When I was in Teach For India I worked with "Expansion Committee" on TFI Rural model. I believe without working in rural India it would be impossible for us to bridge the growing gap between two India's. No doubt its not easy to go and work in rural parts, the conditions are so different, luxuries are a rare commodities, sanitation and electricity is a problem. 

Gramya Manthan came in as a blessing for me. It has actually helped in understanding rural India or the real Bharat in a better way. No matter how much I have lived there, it was first time that my thoughts were more towards holistic growth of these areas. It was first time that I understood and tried hard to reach the roots of the problems. Before this I really used to propose the solution without actually understanding the problems. 

In rural parts you can't address one problem and ignore others, things are so inter-connected that education can't be addressed with thinking of livelihood, agriculture can't be made easy without thinking of energy. 

If I list down my major learning from the program, I would list them like this: 
  • I feel more connected with my people
  • I feel more responsible toward the plight of my people
  • I have to be one among them to solve their problems
  • My belief in Gram Swaraj has strengthened
  • Rural India needs a holistic development plan
  • Education can't be addressed without addressing livelihood and health/sanitation problem
  • Agriculture problems can't be addressed without thinking of alternative source of energy
  • Life is much better in rural India
  • People in rural parts are looking forward and ready to accept the change, they want to come out of poverty and   lead a better life
  • People are more Innocent, Hopeful & Supportive in rural India
  • It strengthens my belief that YOUTH is the biggest hope and there are many young people who want to work for rural India
  • For being a catalyst of CHANGE one must be ready to die and take re-birth
  • Farming teaches you the essence of life
  • How government system is made dysfunctional ?

It is first time in my life that I can understand the pain of a farmer because of delay in monsoons as I have seen  Ramdaas Chachcha struggling for twice a meal, Himanshu running from school after mid-day meal, Pankaj wasting his energy in his mid 20's.

I feel my-self responsible for many of these problems because when they were toiling in Sun I was enjoying in a metro and enhancing the huge gap between us !! It's never too late and I feel proud that today I am ready to work for rest of my life in Ganga Deen Nivada a village in U.P. with a population of 260 people and still without electricity.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Debut in Test Matches...Gramya Manthan !!

With so much T20 around people have forgotten the real cricket i.e. Test Matches. The long five day matches in which the winner is one who has patience, perseverance and right attitude and technique. Nevertheless it is becoming our life reality, we are also trying to play T20 to have quick success and earn good money.

Coming to our life, if we think back it has also become a T20, we are running in order to earn good money. The definition of success has changed drastically, ethics and values have taken back seat. I personally feel frustrated seeing the conditions around me, I feel morally responsible for it. Its hard to maintain your value system and follow your ideals but I have been trying to do this since last few years.

As in the Test Match there are very few spectators while the T20 stadium is full of people. Similarly there are very few people ready to work for society and even fewer who want to work in rural India. Rural India has always been the neglected one but it has been at the core of my heart.

Its been nearly two months planning for Youth Alliance's next project "Gramya Manthan" and the final day when all the "Changeagents" will come together has come. Exploring villages, meeting people, knowing there problems, thinking of solutions, talking to role-models its been a pleasant, touching and a very emotional experience for me.  I have learned so much about the villages and the life there in past 15 days, this was first time when feasible solutions came to mind.

I would surely work with my full heart and witness some changes in the villages. Its a 5 year project and there are good chances to show a significant impact here. I am poised, so is the team and participants, the responsibility is huge and we will not leave any stone un-turned.

At the end of the day my patience, perseverance and right attitude will define whether I am a Test player or a T20.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Life and Why ?

Life is so uncertain, so unpredictable. Sometimes I really feel myself sitting on a small couch and I am sinking in it, deep inside it. The huge gap in what is going inside my heart saddens me. Once side is the my work at Youth alliance which is reaching reaching new heights everyday, new people are acknowledging it, new initiatives are being planned. 

But somewhere  there is something hanging around in between, an unsolved puzzle. A deep threat of losing someone special, someone so close, so dear. Why is human heart so weak and that too of a person who claims to be at peace or atleast with a tough heart. Why do such situations arise when one feels helpless ? Why do such dilemmas come up when the choice is so hard ? One side you will be called selfish and at other side you can lose stability. What is more important the long term gain or the short term pain ? 

When you preach to someone it is easy to say follow your heart and yes it is true for work but then why is it so tough when it comes to things beyond business. Life is a long race and everyone has the capacity to win it but why at times man is unable to look long term. And that too a person who has a big vision for his life, who has well planned decade ahead.

Why are some choices so strong so difficult ? Why at times "Self" comes first and the other part loses significance ? Why at tines we are ready to compromise on big issues ? 

When will this end, when will I be with me !


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Learning from U.P. elections !!!

People say that politicians don't have to face consequences but I have mostly been against this(rather IAS officers don't have to undergo a test once they are selected, they might get transferred but they still remain IAS where ever they go). For a politicians who wants longevity in his political life he has to face results.

As the poll results are being announced in the recent elections held in five states, there is a very peculiar phenomena going around but the big question is "Will our national parties reflect on their acts and learn from the results ?" As said earlier, this election is going to set the mood for 2014 Parliamentary election. It is time for our national parties to come strong on their agendas and of course with strong leadership.

Here I would try to summarize the important message that are being unfolded as the ballot is counted:

  1. Clearly people have expelled Mayawati for the work she has not done. UP needed development not public parks. How can a hungry man go and enjoy in the park ?  Mayawati forgot that statues dont vote & voting does not happen in well carved public parks and kept constructing more and more statues, parks. She missed getting voter ids for all the statues, might have got few more seats. People want development and that has truly reflected in the result. She should have learned from Bihar's poll result but she did not.
  2. SP emerged the strongest, reason being the only choice among all, amazing work done by Akhilesh and the connect that the party has with ground workers. Assembly elections depend a lot more on local leaders rather than big names or rather surnames. Akhilesh had emerged as the new face among the youth leaders but probably Mulayam will take oath as the new CM and the challenge ahead for Akhilesh would be to keep a check on the famous Gundaraj of SP in their last government (SP fielded nearly 90 candidates with criminal records.)
  3. Congress has done a satisfactory job, it has got much more than it deserves. All involved in corruption, playing the communal card with Muslim reservation, bringing their biggest face Rahul Gandhi and even using "beauty" Priyanka to get the votes has not worked for them. This shows voters are mature enough to decide on whom to vote, they might come to see the duo but that doesn't mean that they would vote for them. Now the important thing is that whether the much hyped chopper campaign and the man behind it will once in his life come forward and take the responsibility.
  4. The party which came into existence as "Party with a difference" has to rethink on the way ahead. Completely lost without a credible leadership, they need to take a break and think on how to move ahead for 2014 election. The only party that "seems" democratic in our country has to restructure itself otherwise they will repeat similar performance in 2014 also. It will not be the failure of BJP but it would be their dis-service to the nation of not giving the people a choice other than Congress. 
  5. Both Congress and BJP have to respect the regional parties like BSP, SP in UP; AIDMK, DMK in Tamil Nadu or Trinamol Congress in WB. It is very clear from current political scenario that there will a coalition government in 2014 also. BJP needs to partner with Mamta(Trinamol Congress) and Jayalalita (AIDMK) to enhance their chances of forming government in 2014 and the good thing is that both these leaders are not very happy with current disrespect they have got from Congress. This is a chance for BJP to strengthen their alliance with regional parties. 
  6. We cant say that movements like "Jan-Lokpal" had any effect on the election but for sure Hazare should be given the credit of spreading the awareness among masses which resulted into large turnouts of voters. 

All the best to the new governement !! Let's hope for developmental work from this government.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

U.P Hungry for Change !

U.P. has always been the hotspot of politics in our country. The party that governs UP has remained largely at Centre with ease. But since last two decade we have witnessed a change in this and the result has been coalition governments at centre. BSP and SP emerging to be the largest in last two decade have played a big role in formation of government at centre. The counter effect to this is that both Congress and BJP are forced to form coalition government. BJP came to power only after sweeping in UP election and the day since it lost its hold in UP, it has been struggling to form a government at centre.

Both BSP and SP had been playing politics of caste, liquor and goons. BSP playing the cards of lower caste (dalit) vote bank and SP getting the privilege of backwards and Muslims votes have dominated in UP in last few elections. Rewinding five years and going back to 2007 elections Mayawati came up with a magical formula of Dalit-Brahmin coalition, she made S. C. Mishra party secretary and a new slogan was coined “Brahmin Shankh Bajayega, Hathi Badhta Jayega”. She gained huge advantage and came to power but the upper caste voter has alienated BSP and once fooled in 2007 is now looking for options in Congress and BJP.

Congress which has been under pressure due to alleged role of its leaders in high level corruption and the Jan- Lokpal movement is waiting for its Yuvraj Rahul Gandhi to do the magic in 2012 election. BJP on the other hand has been a party largely without focus, without leadership (but many leaders) and with an anti- Congress agenda rather than an agenda of developmental politics. One more thing which has always been against BJP is their communal image and their Hindutva agenda. In UP Muslims don’t turn out to vote for BSP, SP or Congress but they vote the party that can win against the BJP candidate. Jan- Lokpal movement was a lifetime opportunity for BJP to mend its basics and emerge as a strong alternative in front of people but they have lost this opportunity badly.

The recent voter turn-out in UP election clearly shows a huge increase in percentage voting in comparison to 2007 election. This can be majorly due to two reasons, firstly the increase in awareness among voters and secondly they are fed up of current government or system.  We can’t deny both because we have witnessed huge public movements (protests) against the system not only in India but also in different part of world in last one year.

Hopefully we will elect a better government in UP and it will follow the pursuit of development as seen in Bihar and few other states of our country. March 6 will also decide the trend for 2014 general elections in our country.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lead The Change – Igniting Hearts (6 weeks… 5 issues… 30 Changemakers… 9 Role Models…)

Youth Alliance has come up with a new program “Lead The Change”.

Apply Now:  (Last Date 28 February)
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
Lead The Change (LTC) is dedicated to developing social leaders; well-rounded youngsters who are equipped with leadership skills to solve the challenges faced by their communities. Its core aim is to ignite young hearts with holistic concern for their society and nation.
LTC  Program will involve upto 30 youngsters in a six week  program. The program will expose them to pressing issues of our societies such as human dignity, education and rural immersion. They will study solutions offered by role models, personalities and get a short experience in leadership education. They will be expected to apply this experience to come up with solution for a small local issue and in the process, understand how to set up an enterprise. They will emerge with the wealth of a rich network and a sound understanding of systemic social change.
LTC’s Core Purpose:
Youth wants to contribute but often finds it hard to figure out the right way to go about it.  We believe that by exposing passionate young people to these issues and giving them opportunities to interact with role models, we can sensitize them and sow a seed deep in their hearts.  It will also help them in making informed choices of how they shape their future.
  • It will change the outlook of young people towards issues surrounding them and enhance their skills and knowledge to address them
  • It will provide the young with the ability to seek holistic long term solutions and provide them great alternate career choices
  • Turn the direction of conversation among youth groups  from mere discussion of problems to solution oriented talks, and eventually action oriented plans
  • Develop a pool of social leaders and build a strong network
  • Create a community of youth who could serve as role model for their contemporaries
  • Inspire  to act, cause attitudinal shift in mindset
About Youth Alliance:
Youth Alliance is an organization working with a vision to “Connect EACH Youth With a Cause”. We believe in the philosophy of sensitizing young people towards the society by showing them the real picture and connecting them to ground reality.We also have a range of programmes like “Samarpan”;”Come Alive” meant to create awareness as well as bring change in society.  It is an initiative of a  Teach For India alumni from 2009 batch.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Agnipath !! Agnipath !! Agnipath !! अग्नि पथ! अग्नि पथ! अग्नि पथ!

Just loved this poem...A lovely composition !!!

वृक्ष हों भले खड़े,
हो घने, हो बड़े,
एक पत्र-छॉंह भी मॉंग मत, मॉंग मत, मॉंग मत!
अग्नि पथ! अग्नि पथ! अग्नि पथ!

तू न थकेगा कभी!
तू न थमेगा कभी!
तू न मुड़ेगा कभी!
कर शपथ! कर शपथ! कर शपथ!

ये महान दृश्य है, चल रहा मनुष्य है,
अश्रु श्वेत् रक्त से,
लथ पथ, लथ पथ, लथ पथ !
अग्नि पथ! अग्नि पथ! अग्नि पथ!

--हरिवंशराय बच्चन

Monday, January 23, 2012

अगर नींद से प्यारा है सपना...तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ....

अगर नींद से प्यारा है सपना, 
और ज़िद के साथ ले सकते हो जोख़िम
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर शुरू कर सकते हो अकेले,
और बढ़ने के लिए नहीं ढूंढोगे सहारा
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर भरोसा है खुद पर,
और अविश्वास नहीं है जग पर
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर चल सकते हो अनथक,
और छाव का इंतज़ार नहीं है
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर भूख लगे और याद आए भूखा,
और प्यास पर, तालाब एक सूखा
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर आँख नहीं है पर दृष्टि है,
तन का एक भाग नहीं है, पर मस्ती है
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर नहीं चाहते आग लगाना,
और चिंगारी है एक मकसद
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ...

अगर नींद से प्यारा है सपना,
और ज़िद के साथ ले सकते हो जोख़िम
तो यह जगह तुम्हारी है ... 

- अंशु , 1/1/12

By Anshu Gupta (Founder GOONJ.. )
I and many of us at GOONJ, believe in it and we want the community to grow !! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ups and down before I came to this world...B'day Special ; )

My life was in danger when I was in my mother's womb, being the fourth child she never wanted to bring me to this world. As my family belonged to a typical Indian village family having four siblings was a common thing. She was in the cart on  the way to hospital for abortion but my Grand Paa was the one who fought against everyone to bring me to this world. He had a great vision that there would be a baby boy and claimed that he had three sons so my son will also have three sons. As far as I know he hated girls. Luck was on grand Paa's side and he won, mom did not go to hospital and came back with a heavy heart.

Soon my father got transferred to Kanpur city and I was the first among my four siblings to be born in a city. Finally after all those ups and downs I was there before this mighty world. Youngest one in the house, I have been the most loved one since then. My upbringing has been done in the best possible way, whatever may be the financial situation, I was admitted to best convent school of the city. As I grew up  I saw my family dreaming with me, they have dreamed big and always believed in my potential. Today also they have such high hopes from me.

Till date I have never been able to give them their desired happiness(be it IIT or job or MBA), they have always compromised by finding happiness in my happiness. Sometimes I feel that our(me and my family) goals(success parameters) in which we see happiness are really different. But I am really sure that one day they would see the larger picture and understand what I have been working for !!

Nevertheless I will make them really proud one day : )

"Service before Self"
Prakhar Bhartiya