There are many things I learned from JY17. If I go through an explanatory exposition, I can write ten thousand words. But I want to write a summary, for myself and my friends who have asked me this question. I will write in points.
1. First and most important thing I learnt from JY is that there are really many people who are working at ground level. By nature I am a very skeptical person, an adjective, which when I am trying to show off converts into a showy term called ‘perfectionism’. I get dissatisfied easily because I tend to find contradictions between one word of a person with another. On this trip, this changed a bit. I realized that people can think about the world as they say they do (they are considerate of inherent exploitation of others in their actions and are not just pretending to be socially inclined) and still have elements in life which may oppose it. I mean I was usually unhappy with people enjoying lifestyles which were based on exploitation of a major section of the population, like ‘how can you sit and talk about environmental protection when you are eating food in plastic containers and throwing them away?’ And ‘the cheap chapatis we eat are cheap because many farmers are being fooled and we are indirectly the cause of their suicides, each one of us! (Too much reading may be bad. Lol)’ But in this trip, my skepticism softened a bit. Even Marx used to own property and live a bourgeoisie life. Perhaps the point is to be a part of the world and yet try to change it (not a massive change. Doing your work honestly is change enough… which is a huge thing in itself today). Of course there are fakes, who don’t even know that they are fakes because they are able to fool themselves. But there are a few who know it and yet are trying to bring about a change. This trip helped me see more of the non-fakes.
2. My belief in one year compulsory army training as part of education got more impetus. I firmly believe in a physical activity based practical educational pedagogy in which in addition to basic skills like cooking and relationship management (with parents, with gf/bf), one year of rigorous army like training should be included, best after tenth (high school). Practical non vocational skills which will make citizens who don’t waste their time in relationship management, personal management and all personal relation management. If the child, instead of fucking her body and mind with equations of maths, and long names of chemistry and biology and all that stupid muck… gives proper attention to her body/mind, then she can be good to both: herself and the world. Maths and science, in my opinion, will come more easily when the body is fit and students will become better students if they have one year break from conventional studies and just play. (Maths and science should become important part of education till high school, without them today’s world cannot be imagined. After that choices begin. You don’t calculus to become a guitar player which is a hard I know but how hard statistically is getting through a govt. clerical exam in India?) And learn karate and yoga or running, swimming, horse riding, basic surviving skills, cooking skills (women today are NOT empowered if they don’t know how to cook in my humble opinion. So please do not use the word ’empowerment’ if you do not know a basic skill like how to cook)… A good body goes a long way… Whereas right now most of the eleventh standard students are suffering from depression and are being mentally fucked by their parents and society for not being ‘strong’ (?) enough to live up to their ridiculous meaningless standards. Army like training will impart discipline, team spirit, attention to detail… the list is long and I really don’t need to list them all. In jagriti yatra, I clearly saw how much unlearning we have to do after schools. How much ‘disturbed’ we were in this fifteen day extravaganza. It was enjoyable as hell, yes… but the alarms and the early bed rising, the colonel taking rounds, the way we tried to live in ‘less’… It all made me think continuously: what if we were army cadets? Discipline was important for me even more because of my illness. I survived on dal soup mostly. I had to run and do physical warm ups to have my body heated in the evenings. I saw how in BGT (an entrepreneurial task), if there is even one person in the team who does not understand the value of team spirit (like the proverbial political leaders), than any organized effort goes to drains. Any organized effort requires all the qualities which can be learnt by a person as part of an army training, something which needs to be inculcated as soon as possible.
3. I did not attend all the lectures. I hated going to presentations that were boring which I had to leave midway. One great mind in the trip said that it is up to the presenter whether we see/hear her or not. We are not fools to miss a good presentation. If you are worth it, we will listen to you. We have not come to waste our times. I am being very honest here. I could already guess what they were going to say. I had not gone to yatra to get ‘inspired’. I did not like that in Sri city I was made to listen to ‘success stories’ of people (Sri city is used as an example). I have read better stories in great biographies. I would have loved to go through more of the factories in the industrial sector, window shopping the workers and machines. I loved the seminars in Bangalore though and the Tilonia speech by Mr. Bunker and the speech of Anshu Gupta (Goonj). I was happy to find that such people exist in this world.
4. During the trip I made contacts with villagers. In Ganjam I played cards (to have a convo with them) with bus drivers under their bus and they told me they really don’t care about gram vikas because they are from bigger cities, they have come out of the villages. In Tamana (Behrampur) I talked with a villager called Malik (all the villagers in Tamana are Maliks. Ha ha) and he told me about the visit of Rahul Gandhi to his house and how it is that the government servants (officers) who eat all their profits from paddy (dhaan). And in a local school on the last day of 2017, I was forced by the coach of the school and a student of his, who took me to a corner (only me?) while everyone was dancing, celebrating new year; (why do people take me so seriously?) and explained me how there is a girl who travels for 23 kilometers everyday to practice for gymnasts and represents Odissa in Weightlifting, and hopes to represent India at Olympics. (Why the fuck is she being forced to travel so much?) The student explained me his daily routine and they told me how they are getting less protein than they should (they thought I would help them, and I intend to, in my own way)… And many such issues. And in Deoria, while uprooting sugarcanes in the fields, I tried to look how the villagers were living, I had a long conversation with a man whose sons are drivers in Oman….. the list is long and details many and if I divulge all my private adventures, Shashank and other organizers might get angry. He he… But I have to say that jagriti Yatra opened my eyes in many ways… Despite its many shortcomings. The villagers would have taken a lot of days before opening up to me if I had gone by myself. This is an important point. And one has to remember every effort has shortcomings, and YY17 had too, and I do not intend to open them in public. I am mental enough to list them all in front of the jagriti sansthan as brutally as possible, which I will do in time.
5. I saw a little more of the world. My luck has not always been on my side. A lot of my time has been spent in mucking around hospitals, and with a fear that something might happen to me. For the first time in my life I had a glimpse of the south. Madurai, Vizag, Kanyakumari, Kerala, Bangalore and a railway station called Panjim where I had deboarded for a while were my favorite places, even though I just pecked them. Ha ha. Colonel Bhaya would be angry if he reads it but in my defence, I had thought that it was allowed.
5. On a personal level, I found that there are people who are as mental as me. Who dislike birthdays and who had severe hearbreaks and who also feel empty despite being IITians and all those bullshit ‘ian/ite’ terms. I was most inspired by the ladies of internetsathi. And the people who would be called ‘uncool’ in a pretentious city like Delhi, the ones who cannot speak english but are doing more work than any english-shitting person who does not know left from right and is still swimming in the muck of theory… I am sorry english speakers (including me) but unless it is the language which your parents/family/friends conversed with you when you were young and made it ‘your’ language, your english speaking does not impress me; it clearly shows that you are trying to be a sheep (meh meh lol). I met real winners who are working for poor children in Bihar (which is still a metaphor for underdevelopment. Why?) and one or two from north east (Why so less from that area?) who really need guidance from organizations like jagriti sansthan to convert their little dreams of enterprise development. I urge to include more potential change makers from the villages… And small cities.
7. All in all it was an experience of a lifetime. And since I came out without an infection (which is usually a result of giving into desires) I gained more confidence… And it made me happy. (I remember jogging for twenty minutes continuously in Deoria when I had comparatively less clothes on me and had to generate body heat in sumptuous cold of 7 degrees) So it was a personal achievement of a kind too.
All in all, JY17 rocked! Yaaron chalo.