Join us on 25th March, 6PM at SN Bose

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Jagruti: A Social Initiative by Students of IIT Kharagpur


"they say that charity begins at home. What we are doing is not charity, but Kharagpur is definitely our home."

60 yrs of Independence and what have we to show for it? Whenever it is 15th August or 26th January, newspapers make such a fuss over this question and then within no time forget about it. In the year 2000, United Nations came up with a set of goals called the Millennium Goals. One of these goals was to reduce poverty by fifty percent till 2015. Well, half that time has already elapsed, and we seem to be nowhere near the goal. Our neighbor Bangladesh, on the other hand, is right on track. As perfectly put by Prof. C K Prahlad of University of Michigan “Why is it that with all our technology, managerial know-how, and investment capacity, we are unable to make even a minor contribution to the problem of pervasive global poverty and disenfranchisement?”

Why such initiative and Why in IIT Kharagpur?

As IITians, we have a bigger loan to pay off to our country because we enjoy more subsidies and better resources from tax payers' money. We are a highly educated and technologically sound community, with intelligent students and learned professors. We have an influential and very affluent alumni base. As such, we are perfectly positioned to turn around the face of, at least, rural Bengal. However, the benefits of education are not crossing the boundary of our campus; and where IIT Kharagpur should have been the epicenter of a huge social revolution; we are still just another college, another IIT.

Current scenario

There are at least nine social initiatives currently operating in Kharagpur under various names. However there is not much awareness about any of them in the Campus. While many people might be willing to help out with such projects, often they don't come into contact with the right people at the right time. As a result, most initiatives die out in the initial phases due to lack of work-force and excessive load placed on a few people.

What we can do

We need an organized platform where such groups can come together and make keener efforts towards a well defined goal. We need to combine innovation and technology to come up with specialized solutions for local problems. For this we need interested and dedicated people, with the required know-how. In campus the student's schedule is generally packed with academics and various other responsibilities. Thus we need an arrangement and understanding within the student community so that everyone can contribute; more importantly, contribute according to their capacities and choices. Some might prefer one-on-one interaction, while others may prefer group activities. Similarly, different people will want different levels of involvement. Only with proper arrangement and a single platform such a system can be achieved.

Our vision

If Prof. Yunus at Chittagong University could do it for Bangladesh, why can’t we for India? A few years down the line, we hope that the entire region around IIT Kharagpur will be home to more economically sound households. We aspire for better educational, employment, medical and vocational facilities for the people. We hope for a more involved community, where today's beneficiaries will be tomorrow's benefactors. We want that this initiative sparks a series of such initiatives in various other temples of higher education in our country so that these centers for excellence become the pioneers in ameliorating the condition of billions at the bottom of the pyramid.

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Venue: SN Bose
Date: 25th March
Time: 6 PM

Posted by Himanshu at 8:22 AM  
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