‘The aim of the yatra is to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship’

Look what the cat brought in? Vijayawada is not one of their scheduled stops for the Jagriti Express carrying 450 “highly motivated” national and international candidates on a 15-day national odyssey to meet the unsung heroes of the country.

The 450 candidates including youth from ten countries -- USA, UK, China, Australia, Nepal, Russia, Singapore, Nigeria, Nepal and France – have all been selected in a “rigorous” online elimination process. The 450, accompanied by 80 volunteers, started from Mumbai on December 24 on the train exclusively for them.

The Jagriti Express halted at Bengaluru, Madurai and Chennai. The stop after Chennai was supposed to be at Visakhapatnam, but fate had it that the train was forced to make a stop here because there was smoke in one of the A/C chair cars.

But the spirit of the youth was by no means dampened. A brainstorming session was held on “advantage in adversity”.

The energetic minds met Effronics Managing Director and son of the soil D. Ramakrishna. Media in-charge Prayaga said that the aim of the Jagriti Yatra was to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship – both social and economic -- in the youth.

Earlier it was meant for the Indian youth, but more recently youth from other countries have been allowed to hop on. The yatra exposed them to individuals and institutions that were developing unique solutions to India’s challenges.

Unique solutions

Vijayawada boy Vishnu Vinjam, doing his fourth year in computer science in Mumbai IIT, talking to The Hindu, said that Mr. Ramakrishna, who spoke at the “role model” interaction session with the 450 ‘pilgrims’ spoke about private-public partnership model.

The visit to the Arvind Eye Care System in Madurai was very inspiring, Mr. Vishnu said. Asked how learning on the yatra was different from that in a college or institution, he said that one learnt more by “being in the place of action”. They not only interact with those who head the institution, but they also meet others who are equally important for the smooth running of an organisation.

Dressed in a variety of apparel, ranging from shorts to suits, the Yatris all sported “Jagriti Yatra” badges and ID cards. Vipul Patil from a tribal district of north Maharashtra even carried a walkie-talkie to keep in touch with other organisers. “I didn’t know what an IIT was until after I completed 12th standard and I didn’t know that I was running an NGO until I joined the yatra.

The first Jagriti Yatra, ‘journeys to build nations through enterprise,’ was taken out in 2008. A 2009 yatri went to the USA and took out his own train yatra across the country with 40 entrepreneurs. Other yatris have started smaller yatras in Odisha and Maharashtra. Yatris from France and Africa are also planning their own tours, said Ms. Prayaga.

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