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Home » Business Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Jagriti Yatra

Essential reading material

Submitted by on November 17, 2008 – 04:078 Comments

As I sit here in my hotel room in San Franciso, on a warm autumn evening, I can’t help feeling excited about the approaching Tata Jagriti Yatra. When the concept was dreamt up in the living room of one of the organisers two years ago, who would have thought that we’d have reached this point where it is all about to happen in a matter of weeks? For myself, and many of the early organisers who have been with us since the first day, it has been almost a religious affair to meet every Saturday morning at 11am to plan and discuss this years Yatra. Some of us have never missed a single one of those meetings in the two years that have passed. They started off in the living rooms of organisers in London, then swiftly moved to local pubs and bars. Later we had the fortunate use of meeting rooms at a London office and eventually when the India team got established on the ground in Mumbai, we moved our meetings to teleconferences. In the early days we had people from London, California, Dubai and India all participating in our meetings and then, slowly but surely, the gravity of momentum started to shift towards India more and more. Today, the whole operation is being run out of Mumbai, with support and guidance from the original founders, and our team is evolving at an ever increasing pace.

Tata Jagriti Yatra is about enterprise lead innvotion. Some may badge that as entrepreneurship, others may call that innovation, and yet more may look upon it as creativity. Whatever your notion is and however you perceive the goals of the yatra, one core aspect permiates through the whole concept of the Tata Jagriti Yatra venture. That concept is of ignting the spirit of enterprise through exposure to amazing role models.

Since I was a teenager, a huge role model for me has been Richard Branson, the flamboyant and crazy British businessman who loves to pull stunts and break world records. In many ways, Branson inspired me to start up my own music magazine at the tender age of 16 in a similar vain to his very own “Student” magazine of the 1970’s. The zeel to continue in the publishing business transferred to a floppy disk based computer magazine called Digital Illusions. I started that magazine in the mid 1990s with a bunch of like minded friends out of the back of a bedroom. This was when the internet and the web had not yet reached the mainstream. We developed our own “Web” browser of sorts. It was more of a magazine content reader which display images, words and played audio and presented the magazine in ways in which most people had not yet experienced – all through a compact and neat little pieceo of software that friends and I developed ourselves with no real prior experience of how to go about doing something like that. the venture was an over night success and within a year we had over thousands of subscribers. The operation expanded to include numerous paid writers, and businesses actually parted with good money to place ads in my magazine when they saw what an avid and growing following we had. We could run rings around the traditional paper based magazines and have the most up to date news and reviews because we were not limited by the traditional print run because after all, our magazine was digital and played off three 3.5 inch floppy disks. Each month we’d include free “public domain” (open source) software on the third disk which would keep people coming back for me and every year at the annual computer fair being held in London, the spotty faced teenagers who run Digital Illusions disk magazine would walk out of those fairs with bags bursting with free software to reviews and free hardware kit to write about. I look back on those days and still think how crazy it was that businesses actually trusted a bunch of scruffy looking teenagers to take away their wares for next to nothing and write about it all in a professional manner.  However, trust us they did, because ultimately we lead by example and took the leap of faith to immerse ourselves in something we were good at (computers and software), and enjoyed doing which event from the first issue of the disk based magazine. From our innovation in publishing media and presentation software to our ground breaking way of inticing people to come back each month for more through giving away open source software, the business spoke for itself and quite rapidly avid readers and advertsisers latched on to a good idea.

The reason I’m telling you about those heady days of yesteryears is because I would have never attempted what I did, had it not been for the role models I was exposed to. Branson’s almost reckless madness and risk taking in business, but also his flaboyant audacity to take on the establishment and ruffle their features was exciting to me as a teenager and it brough a starkle to my eyes. It is this sparkle we hope to capture during  Tata Jagriti Yatra and we hope it inspirs the young minds of India to think out of the box, learn how to innovate and then drive the energy and innovation in to responsible and sustainable enterprises.

For all those Yatri’s who have applied to be on the train and have been accepted, I urge you to read Richard Branson’s latest book – “Business Stripped Bare. Adventures of a global entrepreneur”. I picked this book up on my business trip out to the US and I couldn’t put it down till the plane had landed. The book is a personal story of why Branson is in business. It tells the reader about what drives Branson to innovate and continually transform himself and his businesses around the world. For all those who are looking for some inspiration in their start-up business and for some excellent food for thought before you board the Tata Jagriti Yatra train on 24th December 2008, this book comes highly recommended.

All the best,


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  • Neel

    Can you tell,if you have any last date.Could find ?

  • Tata Jagriti Yatra

    Neel, the last date for applications is November 30, 2008! Please apply right away if you havent already applied to participate in this journey. best wishes,
    Gitanjali on behalf of Tata Jagriti Yatra team

  • sunil

    any body tell last date & application.

  • Gaurav Sharma

    Hello Kaustav,

    Got to know about this wonderful initiative ( I hope it is not too late!!). I was keen on participating as a facilitator and have initiated the registration process. However, I wanted to understand the role/expectation from a facilitator. How many facilitators is ‘Yatra’ planning to take on board?

    New Delhi

  • Tsung

    Hi Kaustav,

    I applied to Jagriti Yatra on time and havn’t heard from Jagriti Yatra yet! What should I do??? Thank you!

  • Unnati Narang

    Hey I will be travelling from Delhi for the Jagriti Yatra 2008. I have already been selected. However, my family is very apprehensive due to the present circumstances in Mumbai. I’d like to know any other Delhites who might have been selected so that I would not need to travel to Mumbai without company.

  • Gaurav Sharma

    Hi Unnati , I will be traveling from Delhi; you can reach me at +91 9999049495 or