52 Parindey is a project dedicated to identifying and documenting the lives of 52 innovators who are making a conscious living for themselves and their planet through alternate careers in Indian towns. The aim of this project is to celebrate those people who’re involved in eco-careers, so that the youth can be inspired to lead a similar path and eventually help regenerate the ecosystems in India and the world.

The project also engages the youth to explore varied, largely unexplored, career paths in alternate eco-careers and understand the skills needed for various career paths. The idea is not just to share the stories of innovators but to inspire youngsters to learn from the innovators.

Under this project, starting end of November, a fellow, Rahul Karanpuriya, will travel across the country to cover 52 locations and spend a week at each of these locations. During these stays, Rahul will live with the identified innovator, understand his way of life and document it through videos, photographs and text.

The last 100 years of entrepreneurship and industrialisation have slowly destroyed the environment, so the next 100 years should be dedicated to regenerating the environment, restoring the ecosystem and healing the planet.

Let us now hear from Rahul why he decided to embark on this year-long journey.

For human development, education is of prime importance. The real purpose of education is to lead to individual and moralistic development of every person. Education is a source of empowerment through which children hone independent thinking and, based on one’s passion, utilise their knowledge to earn a conscious livelihood.

However, the modern education system has created such a competitive environment that children have little time to develop such skills. Today, the force of various societal factors (such as parents, relatives, school, etc.) is pushing the children into psychological pressures, which is in turn leading to drug addiction, stress in personal relations, separation from partners, tendency to hurting oneself and the thought finding a solution in suicide.

I know this because several such thoughts arose in my mind too when I was studying. There was a time when I wanted to quit everything and run away. If I was the only person going through such a phase, it would have been a different story but almost every Indian child goes through such a phase once in his formal educational years.

According to a report published in the India Express, suicides have gone up by 26 per cent annually due to increased academic pressure and, according to a report published in the Global Education Monthly, 20 children commit suicide every day on an average. This doesn’t stop here. When children grow up to be the so-called “youth power”, about 63 per cent of them think of hurting themselves in some way or the other.

A simple reason for this is that the Indian youth are not satisfied with their work and life, and they don’t have time for either themselves or their families. According to a survey conducted by the renowned Forbes magazine, only 19 per cent of the youth world over is satisfied with their work. The figure for Asia stands at a mere 6.1 per cent.

The reason for this is our messed up education system and limited career options such as medical, engineering, MBA and administrative services which provide a “better standard of living”. However, if young people come out of this rut and begin to take responsibilities for their learning, then they can find better employment opportunities to earn a conscious livelihood.               

In the last few years, I have met many youngsters who have taken such a brave step and carved out a better life for themselves and for the planet.

Taking inspiration from many such people, I have come out on this journey on which I will spend one week at one location, for the next 52 weeks, to meet people across the country who have broken the boundaries of the Indian educational system and found their passion in an alternate profession and built a meaningful life.

-Rahul Karanpuriya