Tata Jagriti Yatra: Rediscovering India Through A Train Journey

Indian history fascinates me. All great leaders from Surendranath Banerjee to Mahatma Gandhi toured India as they decided to dedicate their life for its cause. Tata Jagriti Yatra seemed like a mirror opportunity in the 21st century. More organised, professional and miniature of India’s diversity and vitality, as represented by fellow yatris on the train.

“Travel with the purpose of Growth”

                                                                                              -Bapu

Tata Jagriti Yatra is a 15 day long train journey, which spans the contours of India with occasional halts, where it stops to pay visits to role models, the brave-hearts, who are contributing their bit, to make the country a better place to live in. What makes the experience unique is the silent presence of aspirations beyond jobs, packages and careers; discussions that raise legitimate questions of India’s development beyond cynicism; diversity of thoughts, expressions and personalities beyond the mono-cultures of shopping malls and imported brands and above all the simplicity of rural life that otherwise seems to be lost in the blitzkrieg of daily urban city life.

Cycling in countryside - Tata Jagriti Yatra

Cycling in countryside :)

The Tata Jagriti Yatra took us to a humble little Sangeet Vidyalaya being run by a foreign national in Hubli, trying to undo the elitism that has seeped into the performing arts education in India. Then there was GramVikas, in Odisha, proving rural sanitation and water solutions to tribals, in a country where basic human necessities are fast turning class privileges. Goonj in Delhi, made me aware on not-so-talked-about ‘right to clothing’ in a country where winter spells a yearly disaster to many naked skins on the roads. An IITian turned farmer in Chennai, using his mechanical engineering knowledge to enhance crop productivity, in a agrarian country where a farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes. These and numerous more, innocent stories of humble beginnings, troublesome journeys and heartening successes. Kennedy’s words that ‘Ask not what the country has done for you, but ask, what you have done for your country resounded in my ears throughout the Tata Jagriti Yatra.

The Tata Jagriti Yatra train journey in a sense, is also a journey of self-introspection, of knowing one’s own ignorance. As the train travelled between places, one could see kids chasing cycle tyres with sticks, women carrying earthen pots on heads, aged men squatting under trees and chatting, lush green fields everywhere and clear flowing waters of Godavari, Ganga and Sabarmati. The sceptic in me was laid to rest, that the imagery of India found in books is not completely imaginary and that while lot of India is fast transforming, a lot, yet retains its pristine beauty, that there exists something known as effortless laughter and happiness beyond material possessions.

Gram Vikas, Tata Jagriti Yatra

Gram Vikas, Behrampur Odisha

Tata Jagriti Yatra

Shying away from camera

Tata Jagriti Yatra

Getting welcomed to Dhol beats. Exhilarating

Field Survey during Tata Jagriti Yatra

Field Survey during Yatra

Tata Jagriti Yatra Route Map

Tata Jagriti Yatra Route Map

Majority of us indulge in needless criticism of the current establishment while there are nobler souls, who work through the. same system, to rectify it, in every way possible. As someone on the journey commented ‘it is necessary to start early, so that you finish committing your 99 mistakes, before getting it right’.

” If you have touched a man’s spirituality
Questioned his faith
Knocked at his conscience
And awakened his God
You have truly given him a trip to Paradise!”

That’s quite aptly what Tata Jagriti Yatra has done to me :-)

You can also try the cycle trip, Read details : Cycling in Western Ghats

 

 

This post was published by Bhavna Gupta

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