Tehelka - - ROT IN THE SYSTEM -

Dhruv Lakra and Ma­hesh Bhatt in­spire students with sto­ries of courage and spir­i­tu­al­ity

NOTED FILM­MAKER Ma­hesh Bhatt and Mi­rakle Couri­ers CEO Dhruv Lakra shared their jour­neys with over 800 students dur­ing Lec­ture 7 of the Air­cel Power of In­spi­ra­tion lec­ture se­ries at the Royal Group of In­sti­tu­tions ( RGI) in Guwahati.

The ses­sion be­gan with a wel­come ad­dress by mod­er­a­tor Gun­jan Ba­tra, fol­lowed by a video on Air­cel and the launch of the Air­cel Col­lege Brand Am­bas­sador pro­gramme. Air­cel Sales Head (As­sam circle) Vish­wadeep Mukher­jee took the students through a pre­sen­ta­tion of how they could en­rol and even­tu­ally gain Har­vard cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. A mul­ti­me­dia pre­sen­ta­tion by the Te­helka Foun­da­tion played next. It was a call to the youth for ac­tion.

Lakra started Mi­rakle Couri­ers in 2008 af­ter a chance en­counter with a deaf boy in Mum­bai. It made him think and look for a way to main­stream this marginalised sec­tion of so­ci­ety. He said peo­ple of­ten pitied the deaf and of­fered alms in­stead of em­pow­er­ing them by giv­ing them “skill train­ing and a job so that they can walk with their heads held high”. “Peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties don’t need char­ity. They need ac­cep­tance and a life of dig­nity,” he said.

Lakra spoke about a heart­break­ing in­ci­dent when a deaf woman came to his of­fice look­ing for a job. She was earn­ing 9 a day by stitch­ing three blouses each day. “We fed her and then trained her and found a role to suit her. To­day, she earns up­wards of 4,000 a month,” he said.

Then it was Bhatt’s turn to come on stage. Be­fore he shared his jour­ney, he took it upon him­self to em­pha­sise what Lakra had said. “This young man has de­bunked the whole idea of char­ity,” he said. “The worst thing a hu­man be­ing can do is burden some­body else with the idea of char­ity. Giv­ing some­one a blan­ket may give you a high but it will leave the per­son wait­ing for the next fix. Let’s teach him to walk.”

“I don’t want to be re­mem­bered by the bank bal­ance I have or the awards I have won but by the num­ber of peo­ple whose lives I have touched. Apart from mak­ing movies I like to cre­ate des­tinies.”

He spoke about his tur­bu­lent 20s when his film bombed, his mar­riage was fail­ing, he was al­ready a fa­ther and in an ex­tra­mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship. All of this be­came too much to bear and he sought refuge in Osho’s ashram, but soon re­alised that he needed to look for the an­swers within. He then came in touch with philoso­pher UG Kr­ish­na­murthi, which be­came a turn­ing point in his life. From UG, he un­der­stood the real mean­ing of spir­i­tu­al­ity.

Bhatt rued the fact that though there were many places of wor­ship, spir­i­tu­al­ity seemed to be dead in In­dia. “Spir­i­tu­al­ity is be­ing em­pa­thetic and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, like he (Dhruv) is do­ing,” he said. Talk­ing about a re­cent visit to Por­ban­dar, he said, “I un­der­stood the im­por­tance of build­ing bridges with ru­ral In­dia. A coun­try needs to take for­ward ev­ery­one to­gether. It can­not grow if there are af­flu­ent pock­ets in the midst of ab­ject poverty.”

The launch of Air­cel The Power of In­spi­ra­tion book by the dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing the speak­ers, Air­cel’s Mukher­jee, RGI Chair­man AK Pansari, Di­rec­tor SP Singh and Prin­ci­pal B Banerjee. The book was given to all the students who at­tended the talk.

A vote of thanks by Gun­jan to all the part­ners brought the event to a close.

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