52 Parindey was a gap year 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 was 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 engaged the youth to explore varied, largely unexplored, career paths in alternate eco-careers and understand the skills needed for various career paths. The idea was not just to share the stories of innovators but to inspire youngsters to learn from the innovators.

Under this project, Rahul Karanpuriya, travelled across the country to cover 52 locations and spend a week at each of these locations from November 2015 to Decemeber 2016. During these stays, Rahul lived with the identified innovator, understood their way of life and documented 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

To go through the facebook page of the journey click here: https://www.facebook.com/52parindey

About Rahul Karanpuriya

Rahul Karanpuriya is an MBA walkout and former ‘Khoji’ of the Swaraj University in Udaipur, a university dedicated to self-learning and regenerating local cultures, local economies and local ecologies. Born in 1987 in Bhiwara, Rahul lives his life through constant awareness about his actions and their impact on the society and environment.

Previously, Rahul has been a learning activist at Shikshantar Sansthan where he explored the area of alternative education. As part of the organisation, he organised Udaipur’s first cycle marathon. The success of the campaign for cycling was seen in the participation of over 200 people despite a ‘Zero Budget’.

Rahul’s love for cycling also reflects in a ‘Cycle Yatra’ that he undertook in December 2012 when he completed a journey of 100 kilometres in seven days without any money, gadget, food or medicine. The idea behind the travel was to prove that money is not important for travelling and to go beyond his comfort zone to understand himself. While cycling on the outskirts of Udaipur, Rahul also documented the caste divide that he found strongly embedded in the lives of the people. He later undertook a similar but longer journey, of 1,100 km, and completed it in 28 days.

In 2011, Rahul co-founded Vinayak Enterprises for trading wooden desert coolers in Rajasthan with a seed funding of only Rs. 3,000. The company went on to pocket a profit of nearly Rs. 1,00,000. He also has experience of working as a Junior Purchase Assistance and a Salesman at textile and garment companies. His internships at Banyan Tree Publications, Sarvoday Press Service, Narmada Bachao Andolan and Swapathgami magazine has enhanced his writing and editing skills and given a platform for his poetry and prose. Rahul has also volunteered for a year at Hulchal Café, a weekly gift culture-based cafe where people of different backgrounds connect and share ideas and dreams

In March 2014, Rahul began work at Jaipur Rugs in the HR’s soft skill training department. In the next nine months that Rahul spent here, he realised that most youth are unhappy with their work and are living a monotonous, working just to earn a living and not to enjoy life. That’s when he understood the importance of new opportunities and alternate careers so that people can do what they want, work passionately and contribute for the good of the planet.

And so, Rahul decided to embark on a year-long journey to travel across the length and breadth of the country to understand the problems of the people and find 52 innovators or 52 Parindey who are making a living through alternate careers. He thereby documented the life and work of 52 changemakers who were making a conscious living through non-mainstream means in Indian towns. The aim of the project was to celebrate those people who were involved in eco-careers so that the youth could find inspiration and lead a similar path and eventually help regenerate the ecosystems in India and the world. The idea was to not just share the stories of the innovators but also to inspire youngsters to learn from the innovators.

Travelling across the country and meeting eco-pioneers during the 52 Parindey project transformed him and propelled him to take my experiments with travel to a higher level. This manifested in the creation of the ‘Travellers’ University’ a learning community to support individuals who are interested to travel and learn to deepen their knowledge and understanding of themselves and the world, and are looking for alternative choices in Education.