A flourishing career, out of the box thinking, in-depth understanding about his subject, amazing presentation and Law in blood, Ritesh had everything any lawyer could imagine. But destiny had something else in store for him.
“You earn by practicing Law simultaneously you propagate the idea of ‘free the legal system from its shackles’. How can you be such a hypocrite? A student of law barged the question to me at a moot court event.
Sometimes adversity is the perfect catalyst to invent what would be unforeseeable in normal circumstances. Though the question by the student was answered with all audacity, by me as a lawyer, but the unanswered question within was about to change my perspective about life. Soon after my core competence of court practice took a back seat and the real issues that affected masses started taking the lead.
Ever since, the journey of Journalism (Editor of Legal Mitra, News Paper) & activism has been an incredible one. ‘Through the ups and downs (downs have been plenty), there haven’t been many constants in my life— Shipra, my kids, especially my parents and friends especially Ashwani Dhanawat and Vigyan Gadodia turned out to be a true support.
“From the first day of initiation of the thought of giving up court practice, I and my wife Shipra worked together to implement the Gandhian Village model which failed miserably but it gave birth to ‘Law and Policy Advocacy’ Movement, then ‘Mitra Foundation’ in year 2009 & ‘Mai Bharat’ in year 2015.
In all these years, I had no idea how to dig my way out but the journey that begun in 2007 has gone a long way in terms of efforts and has truly created wealth for the nation.
Beginning from ‘Gandhian Village’ to ‘Law and Policy Advocacy’ work in ‘Ravines of Chambal’, today it has extended to four states with extensive coverage in Rajasthan, positively affecting thousands of families. The new experience is not only empowering and enjoyable but, it is also the best way to develop the mutual respect, cooperation and sense of common cause while actually Learning & Living Democracy.
The ‘Right to Life with dignity’, that he always pressed at his court addresses never seemed achievable in real life. Even the basics of health, shelter and education were a distant dream for the people we worked with, initially. Livelihood was difficult. Moved by the hand to mouth condition of the tribals and rural population, first came the initiative ‘Aao Gaon Chale’ a help platform created with an aim to bridge the ever widening gap between the urban & rural India.
The lifestyle of the flamboyant lawyer turned into a simple kurta and jeans clad activist one…Tweet
And today my works relating to various mass awareness activities and tech-enabled livelihood support initiatives for vulnerable sections of our society and many grass root movements. I campaigned against Land Acquisition, Labour Rights amendments, water and sanitation, Sterilization, medical ethics, Smart Gram and Gram Dan were highly successful which attracted much recognition and nominations.
Unlike other voluntary organizations we are trying to be more than just a conventional propagator. The more problems we saw the more there was to be done. We tried to raise the issues and concerns faced by people in their daily lives with the authorities but all was in vain, so we had to take things forward on our own. We often took a lead to venture into most difficult locations and initiated for the basic needs and requirements of the downtrodden communities. Our efforts soon became a visual testimony to the world at large and is still attracting many philanthropists to come forward and take interest in our initiatives, to bring about desired changes in local communities.
It worked but livelihoods at these locations was a standing issue. People had small land holdings which barely sufficed their own needs with no scope of furtherance in life often leading to migration to urban areas. We worked on various livelihood activities but they were merely an extension of handicraft, agri and animal husbandry initiatives which was more of a showoff than actually creating a long term sustainable livelihood opportunities.
Law is in my blood but my childhood passion for engineering and technology turned out as an answer to support livelihood opportunities for rural masses which gave birth to the rural R&D based entrepreneurial search.Tweet
Unavailability of uniform opportunities irrespective of the area of inhabitance has played a major role in lack of livelihood in rural India. All people enjoy the same brains but the urban take the lead due whereas the rural talent lived in dearth. This belief coupled with the passion for creating new avenues lead to the unique ‘Jugaad Factory’ initiation which would surely turn out as an answer to address the livelihood issues of rural India.
‘Jugaad Factory’ is a unique way of technological exchange from urban to rural and vice versa.Tweet
Rural innovations or desi technologies are often “Need Driven”, but fail to become commercial products for urban community. At ‘Jugaad factory’ we identify and promote such innovations and help convert them into commercial products. Similarly many technologies developed in urban set-up are often found very and get dropped by companies. This is something similar to orphan drugs with limited users, so often left un-finished. We work with original technology holders to evaluate scope of these technologies for rural India both as consumer / producer. This unique swap will not only create livelihood opportunities at the rural level but shall also provide for better living and harmonious developmental coexistence.
To cope with this ever widening technological gap SARVlife- a Technology based R&D company has been promoted as a Startup which serves this ever widening technological gap and emphasize the concept of ‘Tech-Ecological Equity – assisting all to lead a life they value without compromising the ability of others and future generations to do the same.’
“We strongly believe that there is a need for us to refuse to recede into the comfort of apathy and passive blame games. We are the privileged part in our country with access to quality healthcare, education, other fundamental necessities and many other comforts. However, the best result comes when an individual does what’s best for him and the group or locality that he is a part of.”