Tata Jagriti Yatra : A journey through India and my Inner Self


1 Train | 13 Destinations | 15 Role Models
18 Days | 400 Youths | 9000 kms

What Jagriti Yatra is? It is a journey of 9000km with 400 youths in 18 days to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth of India. Enterprise led development is at the heart of the organizers who believe that the need of the hour is to focus on the problems and solutions of the “middle India” of 500 million people earning $3-4 per day. At the time of application, it did seem to be a really good opportunity and a journey to definitely embark upon. But what I had not realized the inner journey, the inner transformation I would go through on the 18 days.

The Participant Profiles:
My participation was confirmed only a week before the Yatra and I had not gotten enough time to do my homework and so, on Day 0, the day of induction, I was awestruck to meet 399 others who share a common passion for entrepreneurship and social impact. Most of them aged 20-25, this group of people is committed to drive the wagon for change – be it social, political or economical. And they came from very diverse backgrounds. This was the kind of group who would not smirk at you when you talk about morality and value systems, or when you talk about the problems of India and the possible solutions. In fact, this group teaches you to look at problems as opportunities and actually make use of this opportunity to create an impact. While there definitely were people like me hoping to find their passion, there were also people who are already owners of their own companies, making decent, if not handsome, money in their entrepreneurial ventures, and/or making a social impact. They were people from the villages and from towns and cities and a small set of international participants as well. Every moment you learn new things, you meet new people and listen to inspiring stories of people who have been there and done that in their own space.

The Program schedule:
Yes, we ate, slept, took bath (in makeshift bathrooms) on the train for 18 days. But what we also did was meet Role Models – usually unsung heroes who have driven the wagon for change in their own way. The visits entailed a small talk by the role models followed by an interactive session with them. Apart from these, there were 4 panel discussions on topics namely, starting an enterprise, funding an enterprise, agro businesses and the power of one. These discussions were hosted and covered by CNBC and are being aired on the TV on weekends.

Major themes of discussions:
The major themes discussed during the Yatra were ethics, organic farming, government policies and their impacts, alternate funding opportunities, difference between NGOs and a social enterprise, education especially primary , village upliftment, women empowerment, opportunities for youth, innovative start up ideas, etc. On Day 0, I committed myself to interacting with as many people as I can and developing perspectives. Whether or not I have been successful, whether or not I got the best of this opportunity? I don’t really know. More important is that after the 18 days on train, I am able to ask more questions, as one of the board members of the Yatra organizing team so succinctly put.

These 18 days were characterized by learnings and un-learnings, never-ending discussions and discussions that really led us to conclusions, meeting people, gaining fresh perspectives and humble realizations. But what is needed is to carry this process forward. The real Yatra, as they say, begins now.

Fees (as of 2010):
Rs. 4000 as the registration fee
Rs. 34,000 as the Yatra fee

Scholarship, application and other details can be found on www.jagritiyatra.com. For further queries, feel free to contact me at ankurtulsian@gmail.com (that is, after you have gone through the website.)

Ankur Tulsian