Young India Fellows 2015-2016

  • Itika

    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: Bachelors in economics, Daulat Ram College, Delhi University

    Itika was born in the city of Karnal in Haryana. Besides being brilliant in academics since her childhood, she was deeply involved in various extra curricular activities ranging from debating, storytelling, rangoli-making to captaining the Kho-Kho team and the basketball team.

    Being very curious as to how the economies really works, Itika went on to pursue a major in Economics at Delhi University. In search of new opportunities she got involved with Teach For India as a volunteer, where she engaged with under-privileged children in backward areas of Delhi, helping them with their education and organising sports events for them. With this she developed a keen interest in the social sector of the economy which led her to a programme 'Lead The Change' organised by Youth Alliance where she came face to face with problems in areas such as human trafficking, sex workers, education, policy making etc. Later on she joined Youth Alliance as a core team member. There she organised various events like Change Festival which was about celebrating entrepreneurship among youngsters and Gramya Manthan which was about rural immersion in the villages near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. She feels that if you are not making someone else's life better then you are wasting your time.

    For her, studying economics at the university was never about connecting theory with the real world which led her to Young India Fellowship, which she thinks can become a stepping stone in understanding the practical application of the concepts. She feels that YIF is much above the rat race in which everybody around her was running in the college. 

    She believes that: 
    "People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do" - Steve Jobs

  • Nikita

    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.A. Economics Hons, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi

    As a theatre enthusiast, Nikita actively took part in collegiate theatre. She acted in street plays as well as stage plays, and also directed skits in LSR. She went on to become the president of the LSR Dramatics Society. Her plays were well renowned in the DU theatre circuit. 

    Studying economics made her explore and adore the works of economist and political philosopher Karl Marx. Nikita is curiously interested in understanding human behaviour and thoughts, which is why she loves to study gender studies, history, political philosophies and applied psychology. 

    Nikita, struck by wanderlust, dreams of travelling every nook and cranny of the world. Her passion for travelling made her co-found Junketeers, a travelling initiative, with her college friends. And from there began her journey of exploring historical monuments of Delhi with other travel fanatics. Travelling, adventure and long walks always leave a room for good food, and hence she proudly calls herself a foodie. In her days in LSR, she came across this popular quote- ‘That alone is knowledge that leads to liberation’. Believing in it, Nikita hopes to learn as much as she can as a Young India Fellow.

    Her Favourite Quote is:
    ‘All the world’s a stage’- Shakespeare

  • Ojas

    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.A. (H) Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce.

    With her parents in a transferable job, Ojas has always been moving from city to another, grasping whatever she can from different schools and adjusting to their different cultures. In class XIth she joined Welham Girls’ School, which offered her subjects she loved as well as the unforgettable experience of a boarding school. 

    Drawn towards Economics and the relevance it had in the real world, she took it up at undergraduate level at SRCC, one of the most prestigious institutions of the country. College not only made her familiar with concepts like Pareto efficiency but the commerce-oriented environment of the institution also helped her gain a whole new perspective of things. For all three years of her graduation she was involved with the SRCC chapter of an international non-profit organization called Enactus, which focuses on solving social problems through the power of entrepreneurship. She had the opportunity to lead one of its projects, called Project ‘Azmat’ as Director. This project aimed at abolishing the practice of manual scavenging in the village Nekpur, near Ghaziabad. The project reached a successful stage as twenty women scavengers were rehabilitated into a profession of phenyl making, and finally received the dignity they deserved. 

    Given her inclination towards writing, she also joined Yamuna, the official annual publication of SRCC and was made Senior Editor in her 3rd year.To explore more the world of a journalist and get a real feel of the profession she interned with the India Today Group where she not only worked with senior journalists but also handled individual assignments. She lives on music, books and the ability to laugh at her own jokes. She hopes that the Young India Fellowship will help her further ignite her passion, for things she already loves and for those she is yet to discover. 

    Her favourite Quote is:
    “We can easily forget a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light” –Plato 

  • Nivedita A

    Nivedita A
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology (Hons.) in Mechanical with specialization in Energy Engineering, VIT University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

    Nivedita was born and raised in remote village in South India and she finished her schooling in a local government school. From the very beginning she has been achieving excellence in academics, sports and other extracurricular activities. Her unstinted interest in learning new things led to her selection in Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology’s Young Student scientist program. She had been practicing regularly since she was 11 years old with an aim to be selected in the National Sub-Junior Championship which she ultimately gained with her constant endeavor and zest, and got a chance to represent Tamil Nadu for the first time when she was 15 years old. 

    Though she had done her schooling in a local government school, she had secured District Third rank in both SSLC and HSC exams. Due to her hard work and dedication towards studies, she earned a complete scholarship to study B.Tech through STARS (Supporting the Advancement of Rural Students) scheme in VIT University, Vellore, where she will be completing her Bachelor in Technology. There, she had discovered an excitement in learning with diverse group of people. There she also served as an Event- Coordinator for a student’s Chapter called Health club. In 2014 she received an award for her significant dedication towards social service from the Honorable Chancellor of VIT University, Vellore.

    Her enthusiasm to take up challenges, led her to explore new ideas in Energy sector. She is interested in renewable energy and this interest goaded her to do Honors in Renewable Energy. She is passionate about dogs, nature, food and cultural diversity of people. To develop and strengthen theses avenues, Nivedita believes that YIF will a good platform to explore new things, and to work for the under privileged people in India.

    Her Favourite Quote is: 
    “Man needs difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success” – Wings of Fire
    In the words of Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam, one has to face difficult situation and should be excited about their goal then only at the end they will enjoy their winnings. 

  • Kopal Agarwal

    Kopal Agarwal
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: BA (H) English, Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi University

    Kopal likes to observe interactions, how people interact with the world around and the world with people. In all probability, she will be found in yellow lit spaces, glued to her earphones. She has loved her three years of literature at Indraprastha College for Women, so much so that attending classes constituted one of the primary joys of her life. The other joys of her life involved working with Make A Difference, where she fashioned her formative ideas about education and learning. Her initial struggle was to figure out the basics of being a teacher. Once the basics were figured, she proceeded to handling operations at Arya Anathalaya and managing logistics for MAD Delhi’s inceptive Dream Camp.

    The immediate year after college, Kopal went scurrying around, looking at sundry possibilities. This college year has snippets from a few months of Masters in English Literature and moving on; to briefly engaging with traditional arts; and venturing on to the Shiv Nadar Foundation to work around communicative English; and finally designing curriculum and content for an education based organization, Cuelearn.

    Kopal has been fervently dissatisfied with how learning was dealt with at her school level and wants to change this interaction between learners and the organized institution of education. She has thoroughly enjoyed working on her school Chronicle as the Editor and running for leisure. She has lived in an ancient fragment of Lucknow for 18 years of her life, and spent the next 4 surviving Delhi. Apart from her acts of survival, Kopal can make coffee, spot sarcasm, walk a lot and intermittently write letters.

    Her favourite quote is:
    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
    - Lews Carroll, Alice in the Wonderland

  • Mayuri Agarwal

    Mayuri Agarwal
    Age: 21

    Born and brought up in the town of Lucknow, Mayuri stepped out of the city when she was 18 for her Post graduation in Delhi and it was then that she was exposed to the challenges and the beauty that the world had to offer. Typically an introvert, Mayuri came out of her comfort zone after joined a Youth run international organization called AIESEC.

    It was here that Mayuri developed her leadership skills and came out of her shell. She led 5 teams over a period of 2 years and became the Vice President for the Incoming Global Community Development Programme where she facilitated internships for 300 global citizens in Delhi on issues like healthcare, environment and education. She also organized an event against tobacco called “Discovering Hope” in an attempt to raise awareness about the effects of smoking. She facilitated various conferences in AIESEC and held training seminars for the new recruits. After successfully completing her term in AIESEC she interned at a Customer Loyalty Startup where she handled Business Development and Brand Acquisition for them.

    Mayuri started playing Flute when she was 14 and it is now one of her hobbies. She is also interested in photography and travelling. She believes that the most important thing in her life is to reach her highest potential and for that it is necessary to keep challenging herself in various fields. Through YIF, she hopes to explore her interests and take up a career which challenges her and makes her grow every day.

    She believes that- 
    “If you don’t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

  • Shreya Agarwal

    Shreya Agarwal
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Economics; St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata

    An introvert in school, Shreya would stay out of group activities and concentrate on academics and produced good grades. It was only after becoming a part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme that she truly discovered herself, simply because she was pushed to pursue what she loved, music, trekking, sketching and serving the society. 

    Studying economics at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata was a life changing experience for Shreya because the college, the course and the people she met taught her so much that she grew, not only intellectually but also personally. She learnt to grab opportunities and make the most of them. She honed her photography and designing skills at various college events. She also headed the marketing vertical of the national economics summit, Confluence ’15 hosted by the Economics Society. She is now a confident individual with a hunger to learn and assimilate.

    Along with handling managerial posts, Shreya was a member of the PR team at the youth run social organization, Make a Difference. She has worked at several other NGOs in an attempt to do her bit for the community. Shreya aspires to be a public servant one day and wishes to specialize in development studies. She hopes, that one day she will be able to understand different aspects of humanity and find solutions to the real problems at hand. She believes that it is the present that one must live wholly, and thus move ahead with a satisfaction that is sure to make the future worth living as well.  

    Her favourite quote is:
    “And in the end, its not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

  • Kriti Aggarwal

    Kriti Aggarwal
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B. Tech, Mechanical Engineering, Krishna Institute Of Engineering and Technology; Ghaziabad

    Kriti is a free spirited person, who fondly values the present moment. Inspired by nature, motivated by her soul she believes in her thoughts delightfully.  Given an opportunity, she strives to channelize her unbridled efforts into more productive avenues.

    Guided by her beliefs and values, yet open to new experiences Kriti Aggarwal has always pushed herself to excellence, be it in academics, extra-curriculars or sports she has never felt shy of participating, as she always wants to challenge herself in different domains. She has worked with Cummins Inc., world’s leading engine manufacturing organisation in Research technology and Engineering department which helped her to raise technical as well as managerial skills. She was actively involved in the non-academic workshops which supported her to develop her personality and character to a large extent and have allowed her to create opportunities for those who deserved them. She was an active participant of SAE EFFI-CYCLE competition where she contributed in designing and fabrication of a twin-trike for physically challenged people. Out of 96 teams across India and their team stood 7th overall. 

    She also participated in SAE-INDIA BAJA competition for designing, fabricating and validating All-terrain vehicle where their team stood fourth and second out of 256 teams across country consecutively. That moment of accomplishment was best in her life so far. She led Chassis design, CAE and costing department of team. She was the vice-captain of BAJA 2013 team.  She has worked on an innovation topic of re-redesigning Catalytic Convertor which was implemented and presented in a national forum. She is creative by nature and prefers listening and learning over boosting about her endeavors. She is bold and confident and often finds an elegant space among her peers.

    Her favourite lines are :
    "Why do we fall ?
    So that we can learn to pick ourselves up"- Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins

  • Mridul Aggarwal

    Mridul Aggarwal
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: Bachelors of Business Administration; Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai

    Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out. These words pay testament to the pride Mridul experiences in performing to the best of his abilities, without paying heed to the stones he stumbles upon. Hope and faith will shower positivity only if you believe that it will rain, otherwise no one can prevent you from living in sadness and pain. This sums up Mridul’s life motto. He looks at the silver lining and not the black cloud. His immense positivity dates back to his complete personal transformation.  

    Mridul overcame a series of overwhelming obstacles on the academic and personal front. Through dealing with personal losses, struggling to fit into the engineering mould and being a victim of closed mindedness, Mridul truly metamorphosed his life to something he could be proud of. Switching careers and then going on to do five internships in a year, the indomitable will to push himself came from his first internship in Italy. He was part of a first of its kind community initiative called Educhange in Naples, where he taught children about food, nutrition and India. As a result of his efforts the project was approved across 14 schools in Naples. His efforts were also covered by the Italian newspaper ‘Idee In Liberta’.  His stint with Channel V as an Event Manager saw himself lead a much experienced team than himself. His escapades with the start-up Urbanrestro saw him being the quintessential door to door salesman. He also got his creative juices flowing after doing a creative writing course from Xavier’s Institute of Communication in Mumbai.

    Men often turn old, but do they really grow? The building block that governs Mridul’s life is growth. He is curious at heart and never shy of asking ‘Why’? This fuels his will to explore different facets of life. Be it his poetry, dancing, or his officiousness to learn about cuisines of the world, Mridul is always ready to soak in optimum learning. He is a foodie at heart which resulted in him doing gourmet culinary courses in Italy and India. Mridul strongly believes in preparing for the worst but acting for the best. This resulted in him co-founding the club S.C.O.R.E where he helps people find their way in life.  His acceptance of new ideas and philosophies was accentuated in the summer of 2015, when he undertook a solo bag packing tour around Europe, in a quest to find his true self. 

    He Believes That he has joined The Young India Fellowship because:

    "Lives of great men all remind us that we can make our lives sublime,
    And departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time…"
    - H.W. Longfellow

  • Saransh Agrawal

    Saransh Agrawal
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: B.E. (Hons.) Mechanical Engineering, BITS Pilani, Goa Campus

    Life's too short for Saransh, known for high energy and drive in his endeavors, which from a young age have been too diverse to chart meaningful paths, but colorful enough to fuel his endless comic and exaggerated stories. With a penchant for offbeat ideas and ceaseless humor, he finds joy equally in backpacking, writing and all things epic-fantasy.

    In the microcosm of BITS Goa, Saransh explored different dimension, from interning at IIP, Dehradun for automotive research to being involved in diverse startups for different roles. He was involved in diverse activities in BITS, from word games for the Literary and Debating Club, to being the head of Sponsorship and Operations for TEDxBITSGoa.

    His favorite quote is:
    "Everyone lives under the same sky, but not everyone sees the same horizon".

  • Aastha Ahuja

    Aastha Ahuja
    Age: 24
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Instrumentation, Thapar University, Patiala

    Aastha’s gratitude to life makes existence of boundaries very obscure to her. An enthusiastic talker and observer, she has always believed that she would make a great detective. Her ever evolving interests, however, have kept her busy with other things. At school, Aastha had a tuition-scholarship for 7 years, and also participated in dancing, singing, debating etc. among other things. During college, she ventured into theater, as an actor and as an organizer. Later during her engineering internships she witnessed gender inequality for the first time; besides learning the more obvious “engineering” activities for the first time. Her first job as a Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte, on the contrary, was pleasant that way.
    Aastha has manifested her “people integrator” streak repeatedly. She was on the organizing committee of multiple fests & theater-club events in college. She was also chosen to be the Year-Representative for an inter-year literary fest where she managed to showcase a vast array of performances with her batch-mates and got awarded for the same. While at Deloitte, she was involved in a company-wide community welfare project called Impact Day as a location lead & core-team member. As much as she loves Math, achievement means more than numbers to her. Hence, it is her outlook towards life as well as her belief in co-existence and shared prosperity that she is proud of.
    She holds her experience with the NGO, Sewing New Futures, which financially empowers women from the less-privileged sections of the society, very dear to her because this is when analogies began to amuse her more than ever. They failed multiple times before executing the ‘first’ team building exercise at SNF but fortunately every challenge can eventually be turned into an incredible opportunity. On a lighter note, she loves to try-to-cook, design garments and travel for its meditative element. She comes in with a clean slate and looks forward to being armed to implement and lead the ideas an ecologically balanced society is made of.
    She believes that
    "The whole world would have been an idea had it not been for implementation."

  • Marianne Allely

    Marianne Allely
    Age: 24
    Degree and Institution: Public Law, Paris 1 Panthéon -Sorbonne University First year of Master's in Public Affairs, Sciences Po Paris

    Marianne was born in Marseille, in the South of France in 1991.
    When she was young, she was a dreamer and expressed her ideas by painting and drawing or writing stories.
    She likes to meet new people and broaden her horizons by travelling alone and she discovered India in 2014, during a trip in the North of India. She really enjoyed what she saw and wanted to know more about the Indians so she decided to take part in the Young India Fellowship programme.

    During her 5 years at the Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, she developed a deep interest in the public service by studying public law. Her studies at Sciences Po Paris in public economy and political sciences strengthened her wish to become a managing director in a national or regional French public service.

    Her multiple experiences in the French public administration taught her the importance of being in charge of the public good. As an assistant of justice, she managed the interns of the French State Council and really enjoyed helping each intern and working to improve the team building. Now, she is aware that the public service needs good managers and would find her place in the society by becoming one of them.

    By doing the YIF programme, she expects to complete her courses with courses different from the French one's and to know more about India which is having a tighter relationship with France.

    She Believes That:
    "Failure happens to make us choose better roads."

  • Wakif Amin

    Wakif Amin
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Accountancy; Christ University, Bangalore

    Born and brought up in a iridescent valley of Assam, Wakif has always aspired to be a social entrepreneur. He strives to create a sustainable socioeconomic business model to foster tourism and expand the market of fine arts and crafts in the North-Eastern states of India. He believes it will have a positive impact on the lives of indigenous people and contribute to balanced economic development of the country. 

    Wakif has always exhibited an academic bent of mind since childhood. He has received multiple merit scholarships for his excellent performance in AISSE and AISSCE from All Assam Students’ Union, Central Board of Secondary Education and Oil India Limited. He has been appreciated for his insights on societal development in ThinkQuest International Competition, way back in his schooldays. To understand and address various social issues, he has also associated himself with the Centre for Social Action in college. Wakif is a strong proponent of autodidacticism. He believes mentorship with a considerable space for free-thinking is the best form of imparting and gaining knowledge.

    Wakif is an avid blues rock guitarist. He is passionate about classic rock music. He believes music can transcend people, above and beyond. He loves exploring new places and connecting with people from all walks of life. His best definition of himself includes ‘altruist with a heart of gold’. Wakif firmly believes YIF would be a life-changing event, giving a definite direction to his innate desire to serve mankind. He will definitely reach for the stars and make this world a happier place to live.

    He believes that:
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix

  • Vignesh Ananth

    Vignesh Ananth
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: Bachelors in Economics, Madras Christian College, Chennai

    Affable, Attentive and Ambitious, Vignesh or Viggy as his friends call him has always been very sure of one thing, that he must find meaning in whatever he does. Raised in the typically conservative South Indian city of Chennai, Vignesh considers himself lucky to have parents who allow him unrestricted freedom in exploring the different avenues available to him and making choices for himself.
    School was a very fulfilling time for Vignesh. Fully cognizant of the value of the freedom his parents allowed him, Vignesh made the best use of it when he chose to pursue the Commerce stream. This decision gave Vignesh more time to focus on activities that he found enriching; he was an avid debater, he successfully contested the school elections and was elected head boy as well as led a team that organized a Model UN conference that was attended by over 300 delegates. The two years of economics that Vignesh studied at high school and the multiple Model UN conferences that he attended as a delegate of the Economic and Social Council made him realize that economics was what held most meaning to him and what he wanted to pursue at college.
    College was primarily an academic experience for Vignesh, he read and tried to understand aspects of economics beyond what was required of him at class. He came across and became fascinated with the field of Behavioral Economics and wrote a research paper on a phenomenon known as the “Money Illusion”. In addition to this, he was also a core member of the team in charge of organizing the annual inter college economics symposium.
    Vignesh has always believed he would make a good entrepreneur. This belief led him to undertake a summer internship at a tech start-up during his pre-final year at college. The experience reinforced his conviction and opened his eyes to the numerous ways in which disruptive innovation can impact the world. Ever since that experience, Vignesh has been captivated with the world of start-ups and has already taken his first steps towards being an entrepreneur by co-creating, an online sharing portal, currently in its beta testing phase.
    At the YIF, Vignesh seeks to find meaning, meet, inspire, and be inspired by the people around him.
    His Favourite Quote is: 
    "If something is important enough you should try it, even if the probable outcome is failure" - Elon Musk

  • Namgail Angmo

    Namgail Angmo
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: B.A. English Honours, Miranda House, Delhi University

    Namgail hails from Ladakh and has graduated from Miranda House as an English Majors. She takes keen interest in studying History in general and Ladakhi History in particular. Social work is also her onus, she is working in an NGO since 3 years where counselling, voluntary teaching and enriching, inspiring youth is her role and achievement . 

    Namgail was the former President of the youth club of that NGO for which she won a fully funded leadership training in Thailand. Her objective in life is to make Ladakh an intellectually sound as well as culturally vivid with 'secular ethics' at its base. She also works with Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation, where she got an opportunity to work as a research assistant for a pictorial book (Lost World of Ladakh­ Photos by Rupert Wilmot) of 1930's Ladakh, published in London now. Namgail, coming from an underprivileged family, quotes her inspiration as ,''Persevere because where there is a will, there IS a way''.

    Her Favourite Quote is:
    ''There is a way if you are strong-­willed and perseverate''.

  • Adnan Ansari

    Adnan Ansari
    Age: 24
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering with Minor in Management, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gujarat

    It was June 2014, when Adnan quit his job after realising he wanted to contribute more to the society he was living in, and decided to join a social venture initiated by a group of friends. In retrospect, this wasn’t an entirely accurate decision as the venture did not take-off as expected; yet, Adnan considers it as the second most important decision of his life where, directionally, he made a correct choice. The first was joining a newly established IIT Gandhinagar in 2008. A college in the first year of its inception presented Adnan with more opportunities than obstacles. He acquired team-building and leadership skills through organising events and playing for the cricket team. He coordinated events at the institute’s maiden inter-college cultural festival and represented the institute in Inter-IIT Sports. His inclination towards dramatics developed here and he directed and acted in plays which won accolades. Prior to joining Underwriters Laboratories full-time, he worked with the organisation for two years as a student undertaking research on Fire Safety and went on to establish a Fire Protection Laboratory for his college. 

    Born and brought up in the city of Sangam, Allahabad, Adnan imbibed and started adhering to the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb from an early age. It is the ideology that he lives by, it is the recurring theme in the poems he tries to compose, and the threat posed to this ideology in recent times fuels his interest in politics. In his free time, he likes reading Urdu poetry, science fiction and Sufi writings. Being engaged in a social venture, he has closely observed the state of economically weaker populace and has attempted to comprehend the societal issues that mar their lives, and in the process, developed an interest in sociology. His team also won top honours at the Social Entrepreneurship Events organised by ISB Hyderabad and IIT Bombay. He has traveled extensively and was a participant at Jagriti Yatra 2014.

    Adnan hopes that YIF will give him exposure to courses he did not have the opportunity to study in college. The year that has gone by has set Adnan on a path of self-discovery and he hopes that the Fellowship will become his guiding light on that path.

    He believes that:
    “However, I continue to try and I continue, indefatigably, to reach out. There’s no way I can single-handedly save the world or, perhaps, even make a perceptible difference — but how ashamed I would be to let a day pass without making one more effort.”
    –Isaac Asimov

  • Sri Lakshmi Anumolu

    Sri Lakshmi Anumolu
    Age: 27
    Degree and Institution: Indian Institute Of Technology(IIT) - Madras

    For a young girl, playing in her grandparents’ house in a small village in the lush fields on the banks of Krishna River was next to perfect. Coming from an agro based family, Sri Lakshmi has innumerous memories of her free time going with her parents to the farms where they produced variety of crops in vast acres of land. This is probably one of the reasons why topics such as agriculture , farmers , clean water and many related issues are very close to her heart and you would often see her passionately discussing the same. As a kid, Sri Lakshmi was extremely curious and would constantly question things. Her parents and teachers recall that they had a difficult time answering some of the fundamental questions she asked. 

    Sri Lakshmi was attracted to Science and Math in her high school and she had a natural flair in those subjects. She worked hard to clear the IIT entrance exam as she wished to spend her important time of her life at place where she can learn the most and meet similar minds. After joining IIT madras, it is where she developed a panoramic personality and created a unique identity for herself. Never in four years she was in the rush to get grades or grab lucrative corporate careers but instead she preferred experiences where she thought she could learn or contribute the most. Being the captain of the women sports team or going across the country to present technical papers, she always knew what her priorities were and how to balance them with her academic life.

    Post-graduation, Sri Lakshmi took a job as a data scientist in a private firm solving complex business problems for fortune 100 companies using math equations and algorithms. She excelled in her job while bagging many awards and could have built a very successful career but her deep passion to contribute directly to the society pulled her away from the corporate career. For the last one year, she along with her father led an agitation against the government in Andhra Pradesh where fertile farm lands were grabbed in order to build the capital city for the newly formed state. Working alongside of Retired IAS officers and some of the well known names in civil society her commitment towards social issues increased many folds and gave a clear direction on how she 
    wants to spend her rest life. She looks forward for a great year in YIF where she could learn things that will help her battle many issues she would fight against in the coming years.

    When not talking about serious issues in life, you can see Sri Lakshmi ardently cheering for Roger Federer to win his 18th Grandslam or secretly wishing to meet some of her real life hero’s, Elon Musk and Rahul Dravid  . Tennis and Movies are something that can never be enough for her. She was also bitten by a travelling bug long ago and hence tries sneaks out to places across the country the moment she gets a chance to. She traveled pretty much across the north to south states and wishes to finish the west to east stretch across India soon.

    She believes that:
    'My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so 
    with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style'. 

  • Manya Arora

    Manya Arora
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.A (Hons) Economics, Maitreyi College, Delhi University

    Hailing from a defence background, Manya is a motivated and enthusiastic young individual who enjoys learning, constantly on the lookout for new experiences. Her heart was set upon the mystifying and diverse subject of economics at the age of fifteen. The ability to find reason behind the working of the world is what intrigued her the most about the subject.

    During her college years, in her endeavour to try new things she interned with an MNC (Tech Mahindra), a start-up (SnapLion), an NGO (Ashiana), an online newsletter (The Indian Economist) as well as in the office of a Member of Parliament (Rajeev Chandrasekhar). Through these internships she was able to ascertain her dormant love for writing and is resolute towards refining the skill in the near future. However, her one true love remains dancing. She has been dancing since the age of five and has tried her hand (and leg) at bharatnatyam, various folk dances (Bihu, bhangra and Ghoomar) , jazz and modern contemporary. She has danced throughout her school life and was also a part of her college dance society– Zeal which went on to win two national competitions and 25 inter-college competitions.

    The role of founding president of the placement cell and core member of the economics council of her college inculcated within her the ability and skill to lead a team. It also brought to light her directorial skills- She was amongst the core organizers of the annual economics fest of her college- Ekonomiska for two consecutive years and organized various career counselling as well as placement sessions for students. In her free time Manya enjoys reading, swimming, collecting stationary and tries to click a decent picture. Through YIF she hopes to widen her perspectives, hone new skills and become a better version of herself.

    Her Favourite Quote is: 
    "Two roads diverged in a wood, and 
    I took the one less travelled by,
    And that has made all the difference."
    - Robert Frost

  • Spriha Atray

    Spriha Atray
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: Bachelors of Arts in Economics (Hons); Punjab University, Chandigarh.

    From a very young age, Spriha’s heart was set upon service- as a child, she dreamed of serving as a nurse in Africa! Growing up, she read voraciously and penned down her thoughts in stories and articles for The Times of India and The Indian Express, though that couldn’t satisfy her urge to serve and ‘be of some real help’! In June 2013, as she volunteered with New Concept Information Systems, Spriha was exposed to India’s throbbing developmental sector and then there was no looking back.

    Brought up in one of the highly respected families of Chandigarh, Spriha had always led an extremely protected and luxurious lifestyle. This was until she decided to walk out of her comfort zone, and stepped into the scorching heat in the villages of Uttar Pradesh, as part of a rural immersion program. Working in those electricity-deficient villages, Spriha’s life changed as she was introduced to the notion of Simple Living and High Thinking. Having labeled herself as a Free Soul, she went on to undertake the Jagriti Yatra in December 2014, where she travelled across India with some five hundred global social entrepreneurs! A literature enthusiast at heart, Spriha has thoroughly enjoyed attending several versions of the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival, and worked meticulously to organize the first of its kind Literature Festival in her own college!

    One of the biggest blessings in her life is her association with Youth Alliance, an organization that designs leadership programs to facilitate passionate youth in their journey for social change across India. Having worked with their wonderful team in delivering such programs, Spriha strongly believes that nurturing empathetic and ethical leaders is the backbone for a better economy. While working at the grassroots level, she realized that women’s menstrual hygiene is a cause of great concern and wishes to work incessantly towards the same.

    Here’s a thought-provoking quote by Rumi, one of Spriha’s favorites:
    ‘And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?’

  • Pia Bakshi

    Pia Bakshi
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts (Honors in English), MCM DAV College for Women, Panjab University, Chandigarh

    A synergy of words, colours and experiences, Pia is an accomplished speaker who was chosen to represent India at the South Asian Universities Festival for Elocution and Debate after successfully crossing the intermediate National levels. She has been the Roll of Honour, Elocution at Panjab University as well as her college. All through her academic career, she was found center stage anchoring and compering, as the head girl of her alma mater, Carmel Convent School, while being a consistent academic topper. 

    A writer, Pia has been a student editor for Indian Express and Times of India and has had her work published in the columns of these esteemed newspapers. She has over one year work experience as Creative Head at The Idea Box and has single handedly scripted an entire production sponsored by Mercedes staged in Chandigarh. Pia finds happiness in the works of Bukowski, Pablo Neruda, Chitra Banerjee and Khaled Hosseini. Her love for literature manifested in her onus in organizing the first Literary Festival of her college as its Convener. She is presently working on her own anthology. An art enthusiast and a monochrome artist herself, she admires Ivan Shishkin. Pia replicates the finer nuances and intricacies of his work into her pen work- landscapes and abstracts. Testimonies to that are her successful exhibitions ‘Shades’ and ‘Muse’, widely covered in newspapers and magazines(India Today) across the tricity. She believes that art is universal and the single most powerful force for integration which has encouraged her to start her own venture- PhilARThropy- Art With a Cause. 

    Musical at heart and a lover of old classics, she being  a solo guitarist and a singer, has numerous stage
    performances to her credit. She also supports the cause of education and evidence to that are the summer classes on ‘Spoken English’ she conducted in the children’s home, Ashiana. Being an Army girl and having traveled considerably she has had the opportunity to grasp the unfathomable cultural diversity presented by India and its beautiful people which has manifested in her own diverse

    She believes that-
    "Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray."
    - Rumi

  • Anuj Bansal

    Anuj Bansal
    Age: 25
    Degree and Institution: B.Sc. (Computer Science), St. Stephen’s College, University of

    “To learn, unlearn and then learn afresh” is what keeps Anuj going and matters the most to him. In a world where internet has commoditized knowledge that it tends to become obsolete too soon, he believes it is the ability to quickly learn new things that opens up newer paradigms, keep pace and outperform with changing responsibilities. Having a profound interest in logical puzzles and the algorithmic designs from early school days, his quest for programming strengthened when he represented his school at various Inter-School competitions in Delhi and won several accolades. Lessons on basics of web designing and image editing made him realize that computers could not only be used to solve complex problems but also to enhance aesthetics and nurture creativity. Consequently, it made him confident about his decision to pursue computer science as his majors for undergraduate education at St. Stephen’s College.

    Actively participating in fests and activities, learning through long discussions with team members, and immense outside classroom learning, comprised his undergraduate experience. During his third year, he was elected as Senior Secretary of Communications and Technology wing of St. Stephen’s Student Union. Besides participating in couple of MUNs, he acted as Delhi University’s Publicity Coordinator and developed event communications plans for annual workshop on Ethical Hacking and Information Security. He was also the Design Head of institute’s science newsletter.

    After his undergraduation, Anuj joined Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst wherein he gained myriad of learnings and cross-industry and cross-functional exposure spanning across technology, pharmaceutical and retail sectors. Within a short span, he learnt several technical and soft skills and in recognition of his good work, he earned the title of ‘Fire-Fighter’ from his peers. Besides his regular work responsibilities, Anuj mentored and trained over 300 employees in SQL/ excel/ VBA. After a successful two and a half years at Mu Sigma, owing to his deep interests in online space, he joined Make My Trip for an online marketing strategy role wherein he was entrusted with the responsibility of key accounts – Flights and Hotels. At a time when e-commerce is growing globally with India at the forefront, the vast learning that he gathered in the last two years at MMT about e-commerce/internet industry as a whole, has been his truest accomplishment.

    His close friends perceive him as the ‘go-to guy for ideas’ who loves bouncing ideas around and debating on topics ranging from the Indian education system to cricket to Aam Aadmi Party. In his leisure time, Anuj likes to swim, play badminton/squash and watch movies.

    His Favorite Quote is:
    ”Sometimes it's the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

  • Sakshi Bansal

    Sakshi Bansal
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Economics; Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi

    A rank-holder in all the classes from Nursery to 12Th, Sakshi held an outstanding academic record in school and fared decently in extracurricular activities like art, writing, elocution and MUNs. She held important positions in the Students’ Council and was an integral part of her school’s Kathak Dance team. She was, in the most typical of ways, an ideal school student – one whose teachers are proud of and classmates are sick of. 

    After being considered the ‘best’ in school for fourteen years, the bubble of her complacency burst when she found herself in an environment where everyone was better at being ‘the best’. Tired of studying, she found peace in the processes of learning and unlearning in the liberal spaces of LSR. She began seeking answers to questions – not just the ones printed at the back of her textbook, but also those that surfaced in her quest of understanding her self and the world. 

    In her first year, she enrolled herself in her college’s NSS programme, where she volunteered to teach and assist primary school children from government schools and witnessed the abysmal quality of education they had been receiving. After working closely with these children for a year, her curiosities drove her to research with Centre for Civil Society to understand global differences between public and private schools. Additionally, she researched about the challenges that remained in India’s skill development industry. To take the examination of public policies from the classroom and the office to the grassroots, she became a part of Asmat – an NGO initiated by her batchmates – which has adopted Village Soda, Rajasthan and has been working closely with the village community on a plethora of sensitisation and awareness issues. Now a Head Team Member of Asmat, Sakshi continues to strategise and mobilise the youth for volunteer programs in Soda. She was also closely associated with Indus Action, where she, as a volunteer, furthered its campaign by connecting and disseminating information to the families of children who, under the RTE, are eligible for reservation in private schools. 

    It was in college, as a member of Women’s Development Cell, where she got introduced to the discourse around gender. The environment enabled her to embrace femininities and understand masculinities in ways which, she reckons, are often missing even in co-educational institutes. Further, studying economics helped her form a worldview and sparked her interest in exploring the disciplines, which economics draws its principles and theories from. Her yearning for a liberal arts education and interest to understand the interconnections of the economy, society and polity were her first motivations to pursue the multidisciplinary course at YIF. 

    Sakshi, now, has a determined aim to contribute to society and a vision to ameliorate the two social problems that she feels most strongly about – education inequity and gender inequality. She believes that the Fellowship, irrespective of giving her a clearly defined plan, will expand the horizons of her vision by liberating her into unravelling the truths of the world. 

    She Believes That:
    “As long as there is a division between the observer and the observed, there must be conflict, and that is the very root of violence.”
    - J Krishnamurti.

  • Sreeja Basu

    Sreeja Basu
    Age: 24
    Degree and Institution: Diploma in Art and Design, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology; Bangalore

    The last few years of Sreeja’s life has been a slow and gradual exploration into identifying the field she wanted to study. Luckily, her college had a structure that helped her do that effectively and easily. A year later she was working on a project making a storybook on “growing up”, and the topic she chose was good-touch bad-touch. Following that she moved into a very specific field, where she did projects on health and hygiene in schools, self-love and self esteem building, and created a graphic novel to understand her own confusion about intimacy. By the end of the four years in college and during her final project that she figured that it was sex education where she wanted to apply her training as a creative practitioner. She had created a toolkit for teachers, which contained a seven session workshop for class teachers to become more comfortable with conducting sex education and build a curriculum for their own school. She wants to take this forward and create a start up around producing such boxes and other teaching aids.

    She had been personally affected by the lack of appropriate education at the appropriate time, and as she overthought her feelings and thoughts about sex, she grew more and more interested in the psychological and sociological aspect of it and realized this was something to be interested in working on for life. She is very passionate about her work and enjoys it immensely.

    Apart from work, she is very passionate about food and loves trying out all kinds of food wherever she travels. Unless it becomes a real favourite, she never orders the same thing twice. For a short while, she ran a late night food business in her college called “Yelahungry?” (the place they stayed was calling Yelahanka). Unfortunately it was shut down by the PG owner, but gained popularity and profits in its short existence, shut it down. Exercise has become an important part of her life, allowing her to eat without guilt. It’s also good for the mind and she uses that as a meditation tool to balance her life and keep herself stable. She likes to sing and dance (only for fun) and has been learnt to play western classical music on the piano and enjoys music theory. Other interests include watching T.V., talking to people and laughing.

    She Believes That:
    “One’s mind, action and dress all communication one’s quality of being.”
    -Thich Nhat Hanh (in the book Learning True Love)

  • Neha Batra

    Neha Batra
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor’s in Commerce (Honours); Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi

    Neha is fresh out of college with a Bachelor’s in Commerce from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi. . Amidst the ever-competitive college environment, she learned to maintain a balance between the academics and the extra-curricular activities. She is diligent, tenacious and always curious to learn new things. While working in teams can be challenging, she has had the best bit of it when she co-founded “Project YouTurn”, an aluminium recycling initiative in collaboration with over 10 leading schools across Delhi. 

    An exuberant Dellihite, a travel enthusiast and a history lover, Neha has the whole world on her mind. Eager to explore different cultures, meet new people and learn new languages, she participated in a summer school in June’2013 at the University of Warsaw, Poland during which she also got the opportunity to visit key historical sites in and around Kraków including Hitler’s largest concentration camp, Auschwitz. As for learning new languages, she is building her proficiency in Spanish language for which she also pursued a Certificate course from the St. Stephens College, University of Delhi.

    Her biggest moment came in November’2014 when she was adjudged one of the three winners in a National Essay Competition organised by Innovation Centre Denmark, New Delhi. She was awarded a fully paid study trip to Copenhagen Business School, Denmark in March’2015 to explore the focal elements of her essay on innovative bicycle system in Denmark, famously known as “Copenhagenization”. She looks forward to YIF with an open mind ready to absorb in all the new experiences that come across in the next one year.
    She Believes That: 
    “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do” ― Pelé

  • Pranjal Begwani

    Pranjal Begwani
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economics, Ambedkar University, Delhi

    ‘The little disadvantaged kid I teach and the unbridled joy I see on his face; a bird I chanced to spot -  that for a couple of decades hadn't been spotted in a particular reserve; the weed that I cut; the seed that I plant and the thrill in seeing it take root; the little personal goals I achieve which makes the journey to the larger goal  more attainable, and the positive ‘non-carbon’ footprint I leave behind….’

    Pranjal’s aforementioned ruminations figuratively define his ethos…. An individual with a philosophical bent of mind always looking out for myriad uplifting experiences, yet tuned in to his immediate environs – Pranjal is ever open to seeking new vistas, exploring newer horizons while being deeply rooted in inherited Indian values. He derives as much pleasure in teaching the economically underprivileged as he does working in upcoming entrepreneurial ventures at the cutting edge of technology and e-commerce.

    He was Head Boy of his school, and later the Founding Member and the President of The Economics Society while in university. Being the President was a challenging as well as an immense learning experience for him. He guided the society through its vicissitudes and led the team which launched the university’s first Economic Journal. These responsibilities brought his organizational and leadership skills to the fore. Pranjal’s commitment to the search for perfection and his sincerity are reflected in a stellar academic record. He has been a consistent academic achiever and most recently was the university topper in economics. His university further recognized his efforts with scholarships for academic excellence in all six semesters of his graduation. His academic paper on land acquisition and concerned issues (co-written) won him the Best Research Paper at the N.N.Agarwal Paper Presentation, Hindu College.

    He is passionate about history and antiquity, and anything concerning the same stimulates his faculties. He can read, speak and perorate on medieval histories for hours on end, and cogently debate the historicity of any specific event within his ken. Since his school days he has also been involved in theatre, debating and oration, gathering a few accolades along the way. He is a published poet and his poems have appeared in international anthologies and literary journals. In his leisure time he enjoys writing, travelling, ornithology, playing racket sports and the guitar, and ruminating over his stamp and coin collection-congeries. The Young India Fellowship to him is an important milestone in his journey from a spark to an eternal flame. A prose-r and a poet, a dreamer and a realist - what’s important to Pranjal is the enchantment of the journey and the exactitude of the path whilst striving towards his goals. Driven by this, he endeavors on....

    He Believes That: 
    “The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
    - John Muir

  • Varun Behani

    Varun Behani
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.Com in Marketing St. Xavier's College, Kolkata

    Born and brought up in Lagos, Nigeria, Varun spent all of his school life at the Indian Language School, which was affiliated to India’s CBSE. Sports being his first love, he had a habit of dabbling in every sport he could, which led him to play and captain his school teams in multiple sports. Despite trying almost too many things, he managed to excel in Cricket and achieve his childhood and seemingly childish dream of playing at a high level, when he graduated through the Nigeria U17 and U19 ranks to play for the senior Nigerian National Team in the World Cricket League Division 6 in Malaysia. This and his impressive academic performance led him to being felicitated with the High Commissioner’s Award for All-Round excellence and community representation by the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria.

    Moving to India for higher studies, which effectively retired him from international cricket, he pursued B.Com Honours from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata with a Marketing Specialization along with Chartered Accountancy, the latter of which he has put on hold to pursue more passionate interests. Keen to try different things and test himself, he actively participated in competitive Management fests and later on in debating. With the youth NGO Make a Difference, he found great inspiration. Joining as a fundraising intern, he soon took up multiple roles including teaching to contribute more. Drawing from his experience, he hopes to continue his association with development and education, either directly or indirectly, in the future.

    He is an avid fan of stand-up comedy (and George Carlin in particular), sports and music and is passionate about travelling, food and, like most football fans in India it seems, Manchester United. 

    He lives by the quote: 
    “You will have an infinite amount of time to enjoy inexistence. Till then enjoy life.”
    Varun hopes that YIF will help him to continue on his path of learning and passion and play a formative part in his desire and ability to contribute to society.

  • Kanika Bhachawat

    Kanika Bhachawat
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: BA in Economics Honors; Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

    A true believer in collecting varied experiences, fiercely independent, and never too shy to voice her opinions; Kanika has always explored different avenues to inculcate a rich personality. Be it academics or extra-curricular activities, Kanika has always been at the forefront. Along with being an honors holder, her active participation in various activities ranging from sports to dance; crafts to community service for the causes she believes in bear testimony to this.

    Kanika has always been passionate about hockey. She played the sport for 12 years and was selected for 
    senior nationals. She is also trained as a classical dancer (Odissi) and has participated in various ballets 
    directed by renowned directors. Inspired by her mother’s involvement in the social impact space, and strong belief in the cause of equal education for all children, Kanika developed a strong will to give back to the society. From being a part of the literacy drives in school to volunteering at ApnaGhar, an orphanage, organizing a TEDx event called Ummeed (2012) to working with Four Steps, a school for special children, she has tried to contribute in her own little way. 

    Her willingness to learn motivated her to explore various internship opportunities throughout her career. She has interned with a public policy think tank Observer Research Foundation, Delhi where she was responsible for analyzing and collating key insights on Indian government policies on climate change and socio-economic development. She also interned with a startup, Themis Consult, Mumbai where she worked across various functions including Business Development, Digital Marketing Campaign and Customer Relationship Management. Her experience at the internships equipped her to take on the real world challenges at KPMG. She has spent a year with KPMG India and was recognized for her remarkable performance.

    Kanika’s friends describe her as a driven, convivial, and an empathetic person. Her never ending quest for new experiences, meeting people from different backgrounds, and great learning is what drove her to the Fellowship. A food enthusiast, movie buff, and always ready to tell a story, Kanika wishes to make her stay at YIF a great story.

    She Believes That:
    "There is no such thing as failure. The outcome is always either great learning or success!"

  • Tahera Bharmal

    Tahera Bharmal
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B.Sc Economics, Symbiosis School of Economics, Symbiosis International University.

    Tahera, born in Gujarat and brought up in Kolkata, is currently working in Pune and is looking forward to live in Sonepat soon.

    Fascinated with music from a very young age, she showed a keen interest in singing and dancing but soon realised that she was good at none and her talents were elsewhere. She still loves to break into song whenever opportunity strikes. Always an experimentalist, Tahera turned her attention toward sports. After dabbling in to a few of them, she finally settled for basketball. She reckons it has always been hard work that got her ahead in competition. She began playing basketball in school and excelled at it. She went on to lead her school's basketball team and college team through her time there.

    Excellence is an attitude, Tahera maintains. What she did in sports, she followed in academics as well. She topped for all three years and graduated a gold medalist from Symbiosis School of Economics. While at college, she was selected a member of the Indian Delegation at the South Asian Students Economists Meet and presented a paper there. She is also an active editor at Wikipedia, a member of the Wikimedia India Community and an organizer at TEDxPune.

    Her interests are not limited to studies and sports; Tahera proudly calls herself an explorer. She loves to travel to new places, taste food she has never eaten and perform activities that give her an adrenaline rush. She is excited to be a part of the proud group of individuals that call themselves Young India Fellows.

    She Believes That: 
    “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Dan Montano

  • Karthik Bhaskara

    Karthik Bhaskara
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, NITK Surathkal

    Karthik was born in Chennai and brought up Bangalore and had a typical bangalorean childhood. Until he started his undergraduate studies, he never aimed for anything big and only looked for a job so that he can settle down with a steady income. The exposure and experiences he gained at NITK Surathkal made him realize there is so much more to life than just that. He now aims to bring about changes in the lives of the poor and the underprivileged and has associated himself with Rotary Vidyapeeta and APSA.

    Karthik wants to learn as much as he can about as many things as he can. He reads up about various topics like science, history, philosophy, current affairs, social sciences, music and many more. Karthik loves to travel. He is a biker and is a seasoned trekker. The Western Ghats is his favorite destination be it for bike trips or treks. He is also a scuba diving enthusiast and recently completed his open water certification. He also loves music and is a big fan of Pink Floyd and Queen. 

    His favorite quote is:
    “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
    -Winston Churchill

  • Sanyam Bhatia

    Sanyam Bhatia
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: School of Social Sciences; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab.

    With a heart of poet and a flair of writer, Sanyam has a distinctive ability to see the beauty in every little thing she sees. She credits her socialisation and open minded bringing up for the same, influenced by her  philanthropic lineage, where she has observed and worked with under privileged and marginalized sections of society. She adorns a curious mind and a receptive mindset which has helped her develop a strong understanding of how the society works. She is a prolific reader and has keen interest in philosophy, psycho sociology and poltical thought. 

    During her school days, she undertook several programmes and extra curicullar activities including quiz competitions, debates and declamations.She was conferred with ‘Best Student’ Award for her overall great performance in the school. Her passion for quizzes won her several awards in University too. During her graduation she worked on various aspects of social sciences and its implicative studies undertaking six projects: Coalition government experiments, UNDP and its working, Scams that shook India, Hindu Rate of growth and myths, Psycho Social analysis of human mind and Philosophy of Economics. She was part of team that made a platform for open discussions and hosted a number of events under Liberal Youth Forum. She is also part of Amritsar Policy Group and various youth empowerment platform also volunteered for ASER(annual status of education report survey) working with Pratham and won herself an internship with them.

    She has been deeply influenced by philosophy of Michel Foucault and Jacques Deridda and also writes letters to editor to various newspapers and is passionate nature lover and loves nature photography. She writes poetry and has got few of them published. She is a free spirit looking forward to channelize whatever her experiences in various fields taught her translating into effective policy making and implementation.

    Message for life:
    Knowing others is wisdom, Knowing oneself is enlightenment: Gautam Buddha
    The whole purpose of education is turning mirrors into windows: Sydney Harris

  • Palki Bhattacharyya

    Palki Bhattacharyya
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University

    From being the Head Girl of the institution that gave her her foundation, to pursuing a degree in the subject that she has always loved, from the college that she had always aspired to get into – Palki’s journey has been like a dream. However, she feels that this growth is worthless if it cannot be spread or given back to society. Her work with children at CHIP, an NGO in Kolkata, and as a volunteer with CRY made her realize that learning, more often than not, results in enormous amounts of satisfaction and happiness. 

    She received the Rashtrapati Puraskar as a member of the Bharat Scouts and Guides in 2012, which is attested by the Hon’ble President of India. Having been a Guide since 2004, she believes that Guiding has broadened her horizons tenfold, both on a personal as well as a professional level. Ever since school, she has been trying to successfully balance her academics with her extracurricular activities. College allowed her to discover her love for music, dance, theatre and designing. However, engaging with people by listening to their stories and having discussions on anything and everything still tops her list of interests.

    Palki is an ardent believer of the fact that every minute incident is influential in shaping one’s personality, albeit in a small way. She believes that people bring with them energies that are contagious, which is why she loves interacting with people, always eager to learn from them. She sees the Young India Fellowship as a significant step which will guide her in her endeavor to bring a positive change in people’s lives. 

    She Believes That:
    “There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.” – Wallace Stegner
    “Every time I force myself to go outside, something wonderful happens!” – A subject photographed in Humans of New York 

  • Sumedha Bhattacharyya

    Sumedha Bhattacharyya
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.Tech; University of Engineering and Management

    Born in a small town Berhampore in West Bengal , Sumedha had  been privileged enough to explore different places, culture and people due to her parents  transferrable job.  Her schooling was initially in Noida (NCR), Ahmedabad culminating in Kolkata. The formative years were spent in two separate stints at Jaipur’s Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls’ school wherein she learnt how to sustain a disciplined boarding life which eventually helped her learn how to face challenges of life. Belonging to a typical Bengali family, art and culture was in her blood (her mother being the first inspiration towards Dance). Academically too she was not a cropper leading her to be christened as an Electronics Engineer (from a non- IIT/NIT Institution) and a BA in Sociology (through correspondence). It was her talent and intense devotion that made her involve densely in extra-curricular activities.

    Beginning at a young age of 5, Sumedha started learning Kathak from her Guru Dr Shashi Sankhla for 10 years and later continued her learning under Guru Saswati Sen for 8 years under the overall guidance of the Maestro Pt Birju Maharajji. She has been solo-performing since then in various cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune and also in Singapore and Indonesia. Her school MGD gave her the Best Dancer award and an opportunity to perform solo in honour of Shri Amitabh Bachchan. A Nritya-Ratna awardee by the State of Rajasthan, a CCRT scholarship holder, her recent association with AIESEC through which she went for a cultural internship to Palembang, Indonesia to teach Kathak & Cultural education to Special ability kids and Tribals was her biggest achievement in her life (so far). In the words of Kahlil Gibran “It is when you give of yourself that you truly give”.

    In her leisure time, she captures world through 18-55mm. Sumedha’s photographs had been selected for exhibitions in Kolkata & Jaipur and published in Simply Jaipur magazine. This moulded her interest in film-making & cinematography. Sumedha’s painting was also selected for a noble cause by Child rights & You. Music & travelling gives her uninhibited joy and has newly ventured into writing.

    Her “Jack of all trades” title, least recognised by the corporate buffs in which she got recruited, complemented with YIF which she believes will ameliorate her to become a “Master” sometime. She looks forward to raise herself to a different genre with the right/ inter disciplinary association and environment of YIF.   

    She Believes That:

    “Science helps you sustain your life, but art helps you live it!”

  • Simran Bhui

    Simran Bhui
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.A. [Mass Communication & Journalism, English Literature, Political Science]; St. Francis College for Women, Hyderabad

    Simran is personally motivated, accepting every challenge with a promise of uncovering the opportunity it hides. She has always done everything in her power to initiate and/or be a part of peaceful revolutions for change. She was the co-founder of Jyothi, an initiative to secure the safety of women in Hyderabad, the social media manager of The Healing Island, and the President of the Dharma Jyoti club which worked with abandoned women suffering from mental illnesses. She believes that she has the potential for leadership, and can make a change in the global society.

    Voices. Stories. Freedom. 

    These three words have always stirred up something inside Simran. She believes that every person has at least one story in them, and her aim is to bring that story to the fore. She believes in the power of words. Words, when used as weapons, can create what is not, and uncreate what is.  Ever since she wrote her first story at the age of 7, Simran has been passionately working towards creating tools of free expression to elevate voices and tell these stories, without clothing them in garments of secrecy or adorning them with jewels of opinions and sensational angles. She believes that the facts need to be presented objectively, and the readers must be left free to formulate their own opinion.  

    Simran aims to play her part in the creation of a society based on the ideals of accuracy, objectivity and freedom. There are plenty of diverse voices amongst us which have never been heard. These need to be celebrated, and lessons need to be learned from them. Stories inspire evolution. If we want to forge ahead, we need to evolve and we need to elevate these voices. 

    In order to polish her writing skills, Simran has worked with several institutes including Jash Sudios, The Little Kingdom, Appoholics, The Teenage Digest and The Healing Island. Her biggest achievement so far has been to receive three international awards for poetry, and to represent India, along with 4 others, at the SUSI Program on New Media and Journalism, hosted by the University of Washington, Seattle (2014). While it was a privilege to be selected, the 5 weeks held within them the opportunity to rediscover oneself.  Placed in a foreign land and faced with daunting situations, she had no option but to push her limits and expand her comfort zone. From speaking publically in front of large groups and interviewing them, to sitting in a corner with her laptop writing stories, Simran discovered her dormant potential. Simran returned with a fresh perspective of what journalism is, and what it should be like. She experienced a culture that celebrated writers. A brief tryst with the international purview of journalism changed her as a person. 

    Her favorite quote is:
    “What if I fall?”
    Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? 

  • Medha Bose

    Medha Bose
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B.E. Mechanical ; Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka

    Medha believes that the world is a beautiful place and beautiful things have often found way into her life, work and projects. Her love for physics closely meshing with music, art, words and wisecracks make up her world. Legend has it that she was the happiest girl in the world when her school announced her as the Co-Curricular Prefect. She is proud of having received a distinction in the National Standard Examination in Astronomy and being commended by the Royal Commonwealth Society for an essay while in school. 

    Then, she fell in love with Manipal and life was never the same again. She made her way, singing and dancing, to become a proud Mechanical Engineer with loads of hot-iron burns and welding after-effects that just made her love her work even more. She has received multiple awards for movie spoof and street plays, while working in many theatrical productions as an actor or a set designer. She was appointed as the Creative Head of Red-X, a socio-tech-adventure club at her college, and spent most of her time organising charity fundraisers, gigs, Auto shows and adventure trips. When she wasn’t working, she was either at the beach or the lake or laughing at a hideous joke. 

    College taught her to dream big and that, she did. Becoming a part of the Honda family was a dream for her- working on the shop floor, assembling clutches, welding fenders, working at the Auto-Expo, organising large-scale road-safety activities and working on ad campaigns and marketing strategies. If college had been her playground, Honda was a full-fledged stadium and sometimes, she had to remind herself to catch her breath. Now she looks toward YIF, starry-eyed, wondering how much more she can fall in love with the world. 

    Her Favorite Quote is:
    “Babu Moshai, zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi.”
    “Dear Friend, life should be big, not long.”
    - Anand (Movie)

  • Rajesh C S

    Rajesh C S
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelore of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering), Sir M.Vivvesvaraya Institute Of Technology; Bangalore

    With interests spanning from philosophy, astronomy, the occasional table tennis play-off and a good ol' fashioned fantasy fiction novel, Rajesh felt that a dab of liberal arts would be the extra feather in the cap that would send him into complete disarray. Rajesh completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya Malleshwaram and decided to pursue engineering. 

    A passionate debater, he wrote a policy memo on 'Rethinking Drugs' which was shortlisted among the top 200 in the Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge. He secured a consolation certificate in the Commonwealth Essay and received a Merit Certificate for figuring in the top 1%  in English in school. Continuing from a string of workshops on RC planes, robotics and automobile technology, his final year project was the development of a solar engine in IISC.

    In three words, his friends describe him as Feminist, Anarchist and Metalhead.

  • Raghav Sridhar Chakravarthy

    Raghav Sridhar Chakravarthy
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B.Tech in Production Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Tirucchirapalli

    Often mistaken for a Bong, Raghav is intriguingly a half Tamil and a half Kannadiga. Having lived in Bangalore, Bombay, Chennai, Trichy, Hyderabad and a quaint little town called Hoshangabad, he has constantly been on the move and is consumed by wanderlust.

    Ever since he was ridiculed once in childhood for not knowing Hindi, he made up his mind to pick up as many languages that can possibly roll out of his tongue. He finds this drive to learn new Indian languages to be a form of national integration- something his alma maters (Kendriya Vidyalaya and National Institute of Technology) have long stood for. He truly believes that his under-graduation revealed to him the real pleasure of problem solving. His research project in DOMS, IIT-Madras involved working on implementing Green Logistics using a meta-heuristic based on how ideas evolve and affect our society. His first proper tryst with leadership came when he was nominated to be the Editor of the official college magazine. As a leader, he fostered a sense of togetherness, team-building and most importantly the drive to do something significant to the institute through the magazine. He felt immensely gratified when the vision, ideas and actions culminated in a successful year for the magazine. For someone who had always been a mediocre team-player, the whole experience transformed him completely. He has now found in Leadership what he calls a teacher for life.

    There is something about subtlety that Raghav likes very much: be it the kind of photographs he likes to take, the puns he likes to make or even those cryptic word puzzles you would often find him doing. Of eclectic tastes, he likes realism in photographs, post-impression in arts and idealism in people. At YIF, he wants to learn to think better, shape himself in a way that reinforces his ideals and evolve.

    His Favourite Quote is:
    "There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo ... and it's worth fighting for."
    - Samwise Gamgee, J.R.R.Tolkie

  • Saritha Challuri

    Saritha Challuri
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: Integrated Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communication, RGU IIIT Basar

    Boundaries are never defined for those who want to explore. Everyone can think of big goals but very few can achieve them. Saritha wants to become 3rd Indian women astronaut. She is from a humble family background but she always stood ahead in her studies since her childhood. Then a catastrophe shook her entire family from its very roots when she was in her 7th standard. It was a death of her beloved father in an accident. After that she realized that studies will help her to tackle all the problems. She got distinction with 95.33% in her SSC board of examination. She joined IIIT Basar and chose ECE as her career.  

    She knew the term "Astronaut" only as “Anthariksha vyomagami” (in Telugu) till then. In her engineering, she made a plan to become an astronaut and she solely went to MANIT Bhopal, BARC Mumbai, IIIT Hyderabad, IIT Chennai, NIAR Hyderabad for various projects and won many competitions. She first visited ISRO scientists and she wanted to explore further while in college. She was also selected for the fellowship at IISc Bangalore and was chosen to work on a project related to Aerospace Engineering. 

    But unfortunately in Bangalore she met with an accident that broke her wrist. She informed the doctor not to mention her condition to her mother. Three days after her surgery, she started her project again. She has given her GRE and scored pretty well and wanted to go to USA but preferred to stay back for a year to recuperate healthwise. She thought of publishing IEEE paper and do research at IISc Bangalore for one year when she came across the YIF program which has given her immense pleasure to explore with her new thoughts. She feels that that YIF will create lot of wonders in her future and leads her on a path to success.

    She Believes that:
    "Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough."
    Og Mandingo

  • Jaesica Chandan

    Jaesica Chandan
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Economics (Honours), Satyawati College, University of Delhi, Delhi

    Officially, Jaesica did her schooling from Sardar Patel Vidyalaya and completed her Bachelor’s in Economics from Satyawati College, Delhi University. However, her real source of education was and always will be her family, friends and the society at large.

    An ardent believer of ‘right to education’, Jaesica started volunteering with a youth driven non-profit, Make A Difference, in the second year of college. Initially acting as a mentor for at-risk children in matters related to career, personality and skill development, she soon joined the public relations vertical as a photographer and went on to lead the vertical for the organization’s annual Dream Camps. This is when she discovered her love for branding, campaigning and ideation, which in turn motivated her to take up the role of a Public Relations Fellow for Delhi. Armed with a team of 30 talented interns, she spearheaded social and marketing (fundraising) campaigns, mentored the new Dream Camp Team Leads, handled volunteer engagement programs for 550 volunteers of the city and supervised collateral generation.

    Jaesica is a self-proclaimed travel freak whose unquenchable thirst for new experiences takes her to the most beautiful and exotic places in the country. For her traveling isn’t just a form of recreation, it’s a journey into one’s mind and soul. It’s a journey of self-discovery.

    Her Favorite Quote is:
    “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

  • Dhruv Chatkaria

    Dhruv Chatkaria
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications; University School of Information and Communication Technology, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi

    Dhruv, a native of Delhi, is a self-motivated individual, a diligent student, a passionate learner, and a patient listener. He has been a consistent academic performer since childhood and has won several academic accolades during his schooling at Bal Bharati Public School.

    His fascination with Information and Communications technologies led him to pursue engineering in that domain. As an engineering undergraduate, Dhruv did two academic internships in the communications industry wherein he learned about the new technologies and the latest developments in the field. Most of the theoretical knowledge that he had gained during the course of his studies was put to test, which increased his sphere of knowledge to a great extent.

    His desire to bring about a change in society through the power of education steered him to become a Teach India Volunteer. As a part of the programme, he undertook a 56-hour teacher training course conducted by the British Council that trained him in the required pedagogical techniques to conduct the modern day learner-centered English classes. As a result, he managed to successfully impart spoken-English skills for a period of 100 days to the underprivileged youth. It required significant commitment and discipline on his part. The teaching experience provided him a new perspective towards life, helping him grow and evolve in the process. Being a member of AIESEC, he was exposed to an experiential learning environment which helped him nurture his leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

    In his leisure time, Dhruv enjoys playing table tennis and cricket, eclectic reading, listening old melodies along with his dad, and exploring online courses. He is confident that a multi-disciplinary programme like the Young India Fellowship will equip him with a new perspective of looking at today’s highly inter-connected and complex world and will give him the clarity and the confidence he needs to realize his full potential.

    He Believes That:
    “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Rudraneel Chattopadhyay

    Rudraneel Chattopadhyay
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Social Legal Sciences and Bachelor of Laws (B.S.L., LL.B.), ILS Law College, Pune; Diploma in United Nations and International Understanding, Institute of U.N. Studies, New Delhi

    Rudraneel Chattopadhyay is a legal professional and freelance policy writer. He has been on the leading edge of independent online legal process advisory for 4 years now, and his public policy work has received extensive recognition. Rudraneel has worked with policy-groups in formulating the legal framework for Maharashtra’s universal health coverage and public health policies. He assisted the Women’s Studies Centre of his college in drafting demystified legislative booklets under a project commissioned by a global NGO. In the field of mental health law, he critiqued India’s Mental Health Care Bill while interning at the Centre for Disability Law & Policy, Ireland, and analysed legislations for the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, Pune.

    A gratified Bengali at heart, Vasai-born-&-raised, Rudraneel attributes every positive aspect of his life to his family and their incessant love and support. His educational institutions influenced his individuality into a better leader and chiseled his fascination towards the UN into a career dream and goal. At the UN-organised Global Model UN 2011, at the Republic of Korea, he authored GMUN General Assembly resolutions which were drawn into the Rio+20 Summit's zero draft proposal. In law school, he took interest in human rights, gender studies, and international relations; he excelled in numerous advocacy skills activities and assisted in several publications involving public laws and trial lawyering. 

    Rudraneel composes poems, paints, and nurtures gastronomic abilities – all as passions. His leisure time finds him either thinking about a lifestyle and travel magazine as a simultaneous venture, or playing with his budgerigars – Goldilocks, Shamrock, and in thoughts, the Late Mr. Jeeves.
    Rudraneel considers renouncing non-vegetarian food as a cardinal realisation in his life; he believes that conscience and consciousness are elemental to his being.
    At the Young India Fellowship, Rudraneel endeavours to evolve in leadership and multi-dimensional outlook.

  • Ishani Chaudhary

    Ishani Chaudhary
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Electronics and Communication Engineering, NITK Surathkal

    Ishani can clearly remember that day in Primary school when she stood in the morning assembly, hands sweaty and cold, fingers firmly locked behind and heard her voice, “The thought for the day is…” She had never feared and loved something as much as that day. In middle school, her English teacher helped her discover beauty in the written world. She scored well academically and this led her to pursue the study of science. So, when she entered college she decided to pack her childish passions and hide them away from the world. Little did she know, that true love can never be hidden and so like all things true, they managed to creep out one by one.

    In her first year, she attended the Annual Rotaract Charity Play which pulled her into the madness of theatre. She acted in three subsequent productions and in her final year also donned the cap of Assistant Director. At her college’s technical festival, she served as the Convenor of the Creative Committee, wherein she led a team to create a lobby display and design a stage for a talk. In her second year she discovered the world of Spoken Word Poetry and she watched in awe as her childish passions came together to create magic. She gave her first Spoken Word performance at Spark Talks organised by the Institution of Engineers, NITK. The response motivated her to start a Spoken Word Poetry Club in her college. Four years flew by. And just like that college ended and she found herself at a crossroad again. But this time she chose not to hide.

    After graduation, she has decided to pursue YIF because she believes it would be a home to her diverse talents. At YIF, she looks forward to meeting unique people who will confuse her notions of right and wrong. She wants to learn to question and analyse, and find the courage to make mistakes.

    Her favourite quote is:
    "Just create something new, and there it is, and it's you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it and you know a little more about you. A little bit more than anyone else does." – Holly Kennedy, P.S I Love You

  • Puspangshu Chowdhury

    Puspangshu Chowdhury
    Age: 22

    Puspangshu Chowdhury makes an attempt to decipher his complexity through this self-description. He is acclaimed as the Lord Varys among his friends for being privy to all the gossip and secrets. He enjoys the idea of being someone whom everyone trusts. Solving puzzles and recognizing the logical flow of things have long been a passion dear to him and he has always been the type of person to seek them out.

    He was born and raised in Kolkata. Though he did his schooling in Chennai, being a proud Bong, he has stuck to the true characteristics of a Bengali like relishing fish, appreciating intellectual and artsy movies, bragging about Bengali literature and Ray’s movies and worshiping Sourav Ganguly. A state first rank holder in French and a rare feat of being the School Prefect and Hostel Pupil Leader. However he considers being selected as one of the nine students from across India as an Exchange student and a Young Ambassador to Japan under American Field Service (AFS) as the golden feather in his cap. He resided and schooled in Yokohama for a year. Through this experience, he became aware of his strengths and weaknesses. It has changed thinking and given him a broad hindsight and a deeper understanding of the contemporary world. He learnt the value punctuality as he was reprimanded often for inherently following his misplaced sense of time management.

    He yields to the belief that life is sometimes too pained by mediocrity which is insidious. Hence he opted for YIF as it has a universe of opportunities and experiences to offer and will aid him to comprehend the overarching purpose of life. More importantly, the sound sleep which he so desires can be acquired, diminishing all retrospective thoughts,  over-analyzation of past and chronic qualms of future ( especially the thought of dying peacefully in his sleep and never to awaken again)

    He believes that:
    “All you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be” – Breathe, Pink Floyd

  • Sam Solomon Dasuru

    Sam Solomon Dasuru
    Age: 25
    Degree and Institution: B.E (Hons.) Civil Engineering; Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
    Post-Graduation: M.Sc. (Hons.) Biological Sciences; Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani

    A modern day nomad, Sam has experienced life across the diverse geography of vibrant ethnic-India, his family hailing from various states of India. At high school, Sam won national level accolades in General Knowledge, Quizzing and Art among which ‘The Bal Ratna Award’ 2004 at Hyderabad city-level and a Top-115 Rank at the All India General Knowledge Test 2004 (USO, India) deserve special mention.

    At BITS-Pilani, Sam had the unique opportunity to pursue a degree in Biology in tandem with courses in Engineering .He channelized this multi-disciplinary learning into a Bio-Gas Plant V2.0 that was designed to run on the university’s food waste. He also became a best fit to drive research towards a sustainable Bio-concrete that could advance construction materials, in collaboration with multiple national research laboratories. Sam’s courses on Ecology, Environmental Engineering and his internship with the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal on Freshwater Pollution helped him better understand today’s environmental challenges. He was also a student mentor with the university’s counseling cell and worked with NSS to impart computer literacy to high-school children in Rajasthan’s villages.

    After BITS-Pilani, Sam joined Total Environment in 2012 to create sensitively designed living spaces for an unsurpassed living experience. At TE, his innovation in implementing Japanese 5S systems to a construction setting fetched him a ‘Young Performer of the Year Award’ 2012-13. He was able to make a smooth transition through various profiles at work and significantly delivered while heading the Site Planning and Management Office, at one of TE’s two million square feet residential project. During work-life, Sam enjoyed ministering to his church and Bangalore’s cosmopolitan community through a mix of music, plays, fun-activities and camps. A deep hunger to impact society worldwide and tackle today’s global issues through innovative solutions has currently led Sam to choose the Young India Fellowship over an admit at Georgia Tech’s Graduate Program in Construction Management.

    Sam brings to the table a fresh perspective to think and discover, with the experience of impact driven delivery. He also looks forward to imbibe YIF’s transformational learning to further his desire to impact lives meaningfully through effective research and innovative implementation.

    Sam hopes and prays these lines from Lincoln Brewster’s Anthem, ‘The power of Your Name’ over his life...
    “….. And I will live to carry Your compassion,
    to love a world that's broken.
    To be Your hands and feet.
    And I will give with the life that I've been given,
    And go beyond religion to see the world be changed,
    By the Power of Your Name“

  • Apratim De

    Apratim De
    Age: 24
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy; Jadavpur University

    Being born into a joint family in Calcutta, overwhelming though it was, Apratim had been introduced to a potpourri of literature, music, art, food, culture, ideas and people right from his childhood days. Getting into the school choir and taking lessons in playing the piano initially kindled and later metamorphosed his own sense of music and life. Nevertheless, his interests haven’t been restricted to his immediate cultural milieu. He enjoys much that the world at large has to offer ranging from Murakami and Manto to Kahlil Gibran, from Ella Fitzgerald and Tagore to Simon and Garfunkel, from Mira Nair and Polanski to Satyajit Ray and so on. 

    After attempting to deal with the sciences in the eleventh and twelfth standards where he was an absolute calamity at Chemistry, Apratim took up Economics in college, only to give it up owing to his inanity in understanding Mathematics. He started studying Media Science next, where much to his disappointment, he found the curriculum insufficient. After such a roller-coaster ride in academics, he took up Philosophy, something that he has been perennially passionate about, despite much discouragement from relatives but wonderful inspiration and support from his parents. He graduated in Philosophy in Jadavpur University (Calcutta) under the guidance of brilliant professors where he came to realize that Philosophy, much beyond being merely an academic discipline, was more of a development of critical thinking down the generations. He started acknowledging how all streams of study were intertwined through his participation in university seminars, paper presentations, workshops and all such activities. 

    Apratim was awarded a gold medal (Indu Bhusan Putatunda and Shanti Sudha Putatunda Memorial Award – 2013) and was congratulated by The Alumni Association NCE Bengal & Jadavpur University for having secured the highest marks in the Department of Philosophy of Arts Faculty in the 2nd Year University Examination held in 2013. He also received a scholarship and a fetching trophy in memory of the late Supriya Basu (a past president of Jadavpur University Alumni Association Mumbai Branch Trust) for securing the highest marks among all the departments of the Faculty of Arts after the 2nd year final examination held in 2013. Much to his wonder and privilege, he was invited to present a paper in a prestigious seminar to commemorate World Philosophy Day at the department along with much senior experts. Apratim proceeded to pursue his master’s degree in Philosophy in Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2014 but returned home soon after – disappointed, once again, with this new department.

    You could find Apratim walking down an avenue, reading and scribbling morphemes at home, putting delicacies in and out of the oven, playing football with his friends, presenting a paper at a seminar and returning to himself at frequent intervals. Mountains, denser forests and a warm cup of tea are probably his best treats. At the Young India Fellowship, Apratim looks forward to discover those aspects of his character which need to be knocked around, polished and perhaps put to better use. The interdisciplinary spirit of the programme excites the thinker in him to think towards the large and the panoramic through the minute and the detail. A sensitive and a wandering soul, Apratim puts it across the best that his “psyche is still under construction!”   

  • Vivek Eluri

    Vivek Eluri
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.Tech from National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal

    Having been in constant awe of the world around him for the past 21 years, Vivek Eluri has often dabbled in rather weird mix of pursuits to unravel the mysteries of life- and by extension of the world. Sadly even after taking up a job as a waiter, building a formula car, co-founding one and failing at starting up, performing poetry and running around raising money for a cancer concern, he is none the wiser.

    His love for travel is only beaten by his love for food. After co-founding a startup, in his second year of college and being selected for the Google MIT Startup Labs Program, he has learnt a thing or two about starting up. He has also taken part in parliamentary debating tournaments which has helped him hone the ability to think critically. Having organized a couple of events, having been the placement co-coordinator for his branch and after heading the NITK Debating Society for a year, he likes to think that he knows a couple of things about leadership as well.

    Vivek doesn't really know if YIF program will unravel the mystery of life or just put forth a myriad of previously unknown and unfathomable conundrums  and make his perception of life even more complex. Being a movie buff, he summoned up the grit to take up the YIF after listening to this rant by an English teacher from the movie Dead Poets Society- “We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ""O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?"" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
    He hopes to make his verse worth remembering.

    He Believes that one must: 
    "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish"- The Whole Earth Catalogue 

  • Cara Fernandes

    Cara Fernandes
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: B.Sc. Microbiology (Hons.), Gargi College, University of Delhi

    Cara was born in Bombay, and brought up all over India. An ‘Army Brat’ through and through, she has changed over fifteen schools in her lifetime. Since the beginning, she has had a curious mind and it is likely this (coupled with an inclination towards the Biological Sciences) that induced her to take Microbiology. Although the subject was quite fascinating she realized she was ill-suited to working behind the closed doors of a laboratory. Now, hopping from Microbiology to EY (an auditing and consultancy firm), in the span of a year, from ‘intern’ she rocketed upwards to ‘project manager’ and found she loved working with people, imparting training, with a certain freedom to direct operations.

    This also manifested itself during the engaging hours spent teaching students of the ‘Shiksha Kendra’ and ‘Apni Paatshaala’. Realizing the importance of a well-rounded education, after just a day, she deviated from teaching English and instead, came up with a curriculum which involved a host of extracurricular activities coupled with things like first-aid, environment-empathy, responsibility etc. which she considered an essential part of ‘learning’. She has a penchant for writing, languages, and travel. She feels writing is the best avenue for expression, and has won awards for the same on both a school and national level. Her love for languages drove her to learn Spanish, of which she has a rudimentary grasp and hopes to better via extensive travel, which ties in nicely with her dreams. Argumentative yet diplomatic, debates and discussions interest her, and she has been a proud member of the executive board and organizing committees of many Model United Nations’ conferences.

    Among her spectrum of interests it is noteworthy to mention anime & manga and dance, the passion for which is a recent discovery. Bound to books from the age of four, and seeing as her interests vary from mythology to science and everything in between (which serves to add to the spice of life but also to a decently sized mountain of confusion) she is all geared up for the experiences and learning YIF is sure to bring. The journey continues.

    She Believes That: 
    “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

  • Aayush Gandhi

    Aayush Gandhi
    Age: 24
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics & Communication, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal

    After an excellent academic run right from school up till college, Aayush was ready to get into the battle field and understand the flow of business in the corporate world. He chose a career in Sales & Marketing in order to experience one of the most essential aspects of an organization- Revenue Generation. The right opportunity came his way and he joined Philips in 2012 in the capacity of a Sales Officer- Professional Channel.

    He believes that Sales has offered him the learnings which are unparalleled. He was responsible for managing the B2B sales of an untapped and a highly competitive territory of South Gujarat for the Lighting business of Philips. It was a challenging task ahead of him as this region had a history of poor performance. Through his innovative approach, good convincing power and excellent Business relationship management skills, he was successful in doing wonders for the company by over achieving his sales targets for 8 consecutive quarters and boosting a growth of ~90% for his territory in a span of 2 years. For his performance he gained several accolades such as- Outstanding Performer, Regional Performance-Plus Champion-West, Sales Excellence Award, ‘Change For Good’ Winner-West. His strong desire to learn with experience & to explore new avenues, has encouraged him to leave a promising career with Philips and brought him to YIF where he hopes to get insights on a diverse set of fields from some of the world’s best teachers and a peer group which is so unique.

    Outside of professional interests, Aayush is a complete extrovert and loves to interact with different breeds of people and experience different cultures- a quality which shaped up during a Cultural & Pedagogical Student Exchange Program with Mauritius College organized by his school. Lately, he has discovered a love for travelling when he took an 8 day long arduous road-trip to Ladakh with his friends and is now always on the lookout for such adventures. He is an ardent fan of all Racket sports. A complete movie buff, Aayush is very passionate about food and loves to try different cuisines (Chinese being his unbeaten favorite). A strong believer in a good work-life balance, he feels it is imperative to strike a balance between the two for ‘REAL’ success in life.

    He believes that:
    ‘When everything seems to be going against you remember that the Airplane takes off against the wind, Not with it.’
    -Henry Ford

  • Malika Ghalib

    Malika Ghalib
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B.A.LLB from The University of Kashmir

    Malika Galib Shah has completed her B.A.LLB from the University Of Kashmir and is a gold medalist of her batch. During her course at the university, she tried to make the best of whatever opportunities came her way. She was an Executive Member of the Law Society and also undertook a research project of the Union of India on the implementation of various social welfare schemes in the state of Jammu and Srinagar. She interned with Jyoti Sagar Associates, New Delhi; Directorate of Prosecution, New Delhi; and some senior advocates as well. 

    However, in her struggle for academic excellence, she thought she never got the opportunity to discover her real self and where her interests actually lay. With the hope of rediscovering herself, of receiving world class education and opportunities, she decided to join YIF where she believes that her innate desire to shine would get a kick start. With YIF, Malika wants to prove to the world that with better opportunities anyone can do wonders. She prays that her journey at YIF will be one to cherish throughout her life. 

    Her Favorite Quotes are:
    “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”- Mae West
    “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all” -Oscar Wilde 

  • Shantanu Gharpure

    Shantanu Gharpure
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology (Metallurgical and Materials Engineering); Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur

    The year was 1893, in Chicago; a young saint entered the stage with a slight apprehension with a huge crowd in front of him and was anxious as to how the response would be. Though nervous, he had a charisma of his own, stars in his eyes. ‘Brothers and sisters of America’, he roared. As he uttered his first words, the crowd responded with a thundering applause which lasted long and felt like eternity.

    100 years later and 8000 miles away in the east, a child was born with stars in his eyes. His personality was quite opposite to the young saint. He was shy and under-confident. Shantanu, named after the great king of Hastinapura in Mahabharata; the name literally means ‘Sampoorna’ or 'complete'. Shantanu composed poems from a very young age and has scripted, acted and directed a few stage plays in school gatherings. High school transformed Shantanu into a confident boy who voiced his opinions and debated and discussed various issues with his friends.

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of his favourite novels and has influenced his thoughts and life. His first exposure to world outside school was a MUN conference organized by VNIT, Nagpur at its technical festival. Little did he know then that four years later he would be in the core committee of that technical festival. He considers it to be one of the biggest achievements of his life. The challenges he faced made him a better person as his thought process underwent a radical change.
    He is an avid quizzer and has won and participated in several quizzes. Shantanu has a deep interest in Indian mythology and likes to watch movies, television serials, read books and write in his pastime. He wants to try new things, explore new places and meet exciting individuals in his life.

    He feels Young India Fellowship offers the right opportunity to be a jack of all trades and then try to master some. He believes that the company of inspiring fellows from across the country and learning from their varied experiences will surely bolster his outlook and help him grow on a personal as well as on a professional level.

    His favorite quotes come from the famous poet Kabir.
    धीरे-धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय,
    माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ॠतु आए फल होय।

    - संत कबीर दास 

  • Divya Goel

    Divya Goel
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Scientific Computing, IIT Kanpur

    Divya comes from the small city of Gandhidham in Gujarat where her father is a businessman. Divya’s habit of asking questions with ‘apparently’ obvious answers combined with her ability to solve problems via logical reasoning made her pursue a major in Mathematics and Scientific Computing at IIT Kanpur.

    As a person who stands at odds with the general trend of society, Divya became the sole female member of the institute dance team in a technical institute. Dancing was a hobby that cultivated in her childhood through Bharatnatyam, but it became a passion in college where she continually won inter-college competitions in western dance held across India. For the campus community, she ensured that dance was accessible to all whether they were trained or not, through regular workshops and showcases. In recognition to her contribution to dance, she was conferred with the Cultural Excellence Award, IITK (2013- 14), an award given to only one student among all fields of art who exhibits exemplary talent.

    In an attempt to explore more about her inner-self, she resorted to Vipasana. The 10 day meditation course observing the noble silence, transformed her from the impatient aggressive leader to a more peaceful, determined and a sincere person. Her childhood experiences at the government school contrasted with the world-class education she received at her boarding school and college acquainted her with the stark differences that occur in India. Whether it was visiting orphanages, blood donation camps, blind care centers with her family or teaching underprivileged kids in adulthood, the motivation to do something for India’s development only strengthened. She hopes that YIF broadens her mind, enriches her knowledge about the humanity and eventually helps her in the social sector.

    Quotes that guide her are:
    “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.' – Mahatma Gandhi
    “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

  • Pranav Gopinath

    Pranav Gopinath
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology (Computer Science and Engineering); National Institute of Technology, Trichy

    Born in Al-Khobar, the eastern citadel of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Pranav's schooling spanned 3 countries in the gulf that eventually sparked off in him, a penchant for diversity and a certain appreciation of the cultural differences in his environment.

    Transiting from the gulf to a remote city in Tamil Nadu - Trichy, to pursue his education at NIT Trichy, was quite an ordeal in itself and it was an uphill task to adjust to the rigours of hostel life. Nonetheless, with a will to persevere and adapt, he immersed himself in activities that would complement his technical education. To augment his capabilities, he took on leadership roles and, as part of the core organizing team of Pragyan - the technical festival of NITT, led a team of volunteers to accomplish the task of marketing the fest to the student populace of India. Apart from dabbling with fests and training juniors for placements, he successfully provided direction to a crowd sourcing project that aimed to fund basic educational needs of the government welfare school at Trichy.

    His interest in finance was kindled as he went on to work at Credit Suisse as a technology analyst, and in his enlightening 2 year stint there, he worked on various applications that led him to truly understand the the economic weight of high finance and appreciate the astonishing power that technology wields. There, as part of CSR collaboration with an NGO, he volunteered to teach and mentor secondary school students on a weekly basis.

    Pranav enjoys living at the precipice of the melting pot of diversity. Be it enjoying the serene wadis at Muscat, the hustle of the high-rises at Doha, or the succor in Bangalore's diversity, he believes that experiences are what defines the innate sense of existence. An ardent non fiction enthusiast, he thoroughly enjoys financial and psychological literature. Having always believed in the power of entrepreneurship, he hopes that his experiences at the Young India Fellowship will ignite this very spark in him.

    He Believes that:
    “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” 
    ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

  • Shristi Goswami

    Shristi Goswami
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelors of Arts in Social Sciences; from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati

    Hailing from the picturesque North-East, Shristi traces an instinctive connect with nature. Ambivert and amiable in her disposition, she believes in living life to the fullest and attaches great meaning to finer sides of human personality. Anthropological and societal inquisitiveness germinate her interest in Liberal Arts.

    From an early age, Shristi considered learning from involvement more important than winning, and hence, her engagements could be observed in NCC, Taekwondo, public speaking, poetry, and the classical dance form ‘Kathak Nritya’. An enthusiast of communications, she founded TISS Guwahati’s speakers’ society, ‘Bol’. She cofounded the literary society, ‘The Muses’, and started the maiden newsletter ‘Campus Zephyr’ as Editor-in-Chief – with the belief that the pen is mightier than the sword. These initiatives allowed a platform of expression for stakeholders of her college. She was also a part of her college’s drama society which undertook several public enactments to highlight social issues. 

    On the professional front, Shristi has been a parliamentary intern with the Centre for Legislative Research and Advocacy, New Delhi, wherein she assisted the Centre on a sanitation project under the supervision of UNICEF India and Parliamentarians’ Group for Children. She has also been a co-editor for the parliamentary handbook on The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Further, her determined desire to promote human rights for all persons brought her to volunteer with the North East Network for raising awareness regarding women’s human rights. She endeavors to make the most out of life and considers the Fellowship as a platform to gain such all-round perspective.

    She Believes that: 
    “While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.”- Albus Dumbledore in J.K Rowling’s Novel, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’

  • Sahil Grover

    Sahil Grover
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Business Studies, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, University of Delhi

    Sahil Grover is a business graduate from University of Delhi who spent most of his college life immersing himself in the various activities that college had to offer, along with hatching his own opportunities beyond his academic institution. As an avid debater, he won multiple competitions in the fields of public speaking and case studies. However, he is well aware of the complications that arise in the real world, behind the curtains, and has the tenacity to make everything work, having successfully led various event management teams and societies. 

    Since childhood, Sahil has been fascinated by the intricate world of politics and diplomacy, an interest he has continuously fostered through participating in various simulations of the United Nations. He also keeps himself updated by reading various journals and opinionated books. He was awarded a scholarship to attend the Kings College London Summer School in the discipline 'International Political Economy' and considers it as a cherished achievement. 

    As an individual sensitive to the disparity and lack of awareness in the society, he has been associated with the student-run NGO Moksha Foundation for the past 2 years and been actively involved in solving the problem of lack of sanitation and hygiene among school students from the lower economic strata in Delhi/NCR region. He can be seen watching and playing sports (Cricket and Tennis being his favourites) in his free time. Through the Young India Fellowship, he wishes to rediscover himself and find out his true passion as he believes that there is nothing which can't be achieved if one combines their passion and intent. 

    His Favourite Quote is: 
    "Life begins when we decide it's going to begin for us."

  • Mohit Gulati

    Mohit Gulati
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B. Tech, Chemical Engineering, NIT Jalandhar

    At first, Mohit seems pretty much of an introvert and at times an impatient fellow whereas in reality, neither is true. His mind is always wandering in his own universe, generating strange ideas. Following the life motto, “Someday I’ll fail to lose” and so he wants to die trying. After achieving a few failed attempts with Entrepreneurship he wishes to start a company which could do some good to the society and cater his emotional heart.

    Coming from a service class family, he completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya. As he aspired to become a mechanical engineering, he landed in chemical engineering, where many surprises and some prizes awaited him. At NIT, he groomed himself into a leader by embracing various responsibilities ranging from Placement Convener [Batch of 2014] to Head of marketing functions at various Techno-managerial events organized at college level. With one leg in managerial and administrative responsibilities, he multi-tasked to keep pace with studies and presented papers in national and international conferences. He also won the Innovative design award at a National level competition, held at PushpaGujral Science City.

    Towards the end of his graduation, after a few failed attempts with placements, Mohit "failed to lose" with ITC and bagged a job there. At ITC, he was engaged in the the overall manufacturing operations of deodorants. His curiosity and zeal to explore the failures fetched him patents. He considers his professional stint as a diploma in crisis management and problem solving. Disney recognized the vivacity of the cartoon in his character and chose him for a month long programme in Crafting Creative Communications at MICA, where he accentuated his brain to the ‘right’ side in an incubated environment.

    Capturing the nature through the lens, while trekking in mystic mountains, is what arouses him. You may find him rag picking as he cherishes creativity by making useful stuff from scratch. Mohit is excited about the YIF and hopes that this year will add more colors of experience to augment his picture of life.

    He Believes That
    “Life is like a test tube, where we add chemicals of our experiences to form the ether of happiness with essence of love.”

  • Lara Gulia

    Lara Gulia
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: B. Sc. Psychology Honours; Loreto College, Calcutta University
    Post-Graduation: MA Social Work with a Specialization In Counselling; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati

    A girl who spent her formative years in the lush green tea gardens of Assam, Lara loves the calmness and serenity to life. A dream-oriented person, Lara considers herself to be strong-willed, determined and compassionate. The positive aspects of her life can be attributed to the optimism that she involves in everything she thinks and does. 
    Lara hails from Kolkata- the City of Joy; having done her schooling from Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer; she has grown up with people from different cultures; her love for being around people, understanding and observing them have taught her fundamental facets of complete acceptance of the vibrant diversity in and of life. She believes this to be one of her most important ways to learn and grow as an individual towards understanding herself as a part of the larger society, being able to contribute significantly towards it with adequate knowledge, skills and an empathetic attitude.
    Her keen interest in understanding people, took her to pursue her graduation in Psychology, to further enhance her knowledge for which she pursued her B.Sc. in Psychology from Loreto College, Calcutta University. Lara volunteered in different civil society organizations during graduation and developed a passion to work for the underprivileged factions of society with a desire to enable them to help themselves. This endeavour was further strengthened by pursuing her Masters in Social Work with a specialization in Counselling from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Lara has worked in different agencies across Civil and Government bodies in the North East and Bengal in the field of psycho-social counselling. Her experiences in working in fields such as Human Trafficking with commercial sex workers and their children, Mental Health in conflict areas of Assam, HIV/AIDS while counselling PLHIV and the Tea Tribes have given her the desire to strengthen her capabilities to be able to provide services to the marginalized sectors, wherein they are needed the most. 

    Besides doing well academically, she is very passionate about Lawn Tennis and has represented her school/ state at the National level. She has also studied Indian Classical Music and played the Sitar in various events and was awarded the Best Sitarist in school. Lara believes that the wisdom she garners from a platform such as YIF will help her look at situations with a holistic understanding; to become worthy and skilled enough to help others help themselves and find herself and her happiness along the way. 
    Her Favorite quote is:  
    “The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change. The only way we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
    – C. JoyBell C.

  • Phalguni Guliani

    Phalguni Guliani
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts in Economics (Honours), Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi

    Phalguni’s interest in Economics – the subject she claims taught her to marvel at the world – began one fortuitous dinner table conversation she had as a vivacious twelve year old. She then went onto graduate with Honours in Economics from University of Delhi. It was her time at Bishop Cottons that inculcated in her rather early an ability to don various hats be it as an elect to the Student Council (for three consecutive years) or as an athlete on the track field.

    Her love for the city of Bangalore (the city of effortless suave she’d tell you) coupled with a sobering realisation of the smallness of her words pitted against the largesse of unheard notes, and her passion for the social sector have led her to work with national newspapers and developmental organisations. Her work has ranged widely through heritage preservation projects, nurturing child rights organisations in rural Karnataka, and engaging with understanding the misnomers that plague the educational system. These experiences taught her to constantly question the comfortable.

    Phalguni has been an avid debater at the national inter-varsity level. Her laurels notwithstanding, she credits the activity for helping her realise how effervescent the personal and the political are. She enjoys experiments in writing and intellectual exploration. In her senior year her research paper, which analysed trends in South Asian trade in a context of Global Value Chains thereby making a case for regional integration and against commodity reification, was selected for presentation at South Asian Economics Students Meet.

    Phalguni spent the summer of her second year at the London School of Economics, where she read Sociology of Capital from a lens hitherto entirely unexplored by her. She is interested in spatial development and anthropology. She thus hopes the YIF will help her constructively channel her interests with other disciplines across the liberal arts. On a whimsical afternoon, Phalguni can be found throwing pronunciation to the winds and humming along to Edith Piaf, or soaking more books with cinnamon from her tea than she has time to read. She enjoys tennis and the French language.

    She believes that:
    “Incuriosity is the oddest thing there is.” – Stephen Fry

  • Aman Gupta

    Aman Gupta
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Materials Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur, Kanpur

    “Be a life long or short, its completeness depends on what it is lived for.” These famous words have always inspired Aman to become a development worker whereby he can stimulate a positive sustainable impact in the lives of people.

    Aman has recently graduated from IIT Kanpur, a microcosm, where he believes he found the greatest of treasures that provided him with an exposure to experiment with his interests and beyond. Hailing from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, he did most of his schooling in the township of Veraval in Gujarat and then Kota in Rajasthan, and has been a consistent academic performer since his childhood.

    He strives to evolve as an individual where his intellectual curiosity will foster excellence. He wants to explore how the closely linked human-made world of economics and politics, coupled with the natural world of biodiversity and climate and the designed world of 21st century technology can contribute to promote sustainability.

    He loves to play table tennis and is a quizzer too. He also likes to read about social issues and ponder over problems pertaining to energy, environment and equality. An avid traveler, Aman loved to discover new places, its people and to understand their culture.

    He Believes That:
    “It doesn’t matter how this looks to other people. If this is something you gotta do, then you do it! Fighters fight.” 
    -Quote from Rocky Balbao.

  • Asmita Gupta

    Asmita Gupta
    Age: 22
    Post-Graduation: M.Sc (integrated) Mathematics and Scientific Computing; IIT Kanpur

    A passionate girl, Asmita is known as a workaholic by all those who know her well. To master her love for logic and Mathematics, she pursued an M.Sc (integrated) degree in Mathematics and Scientific Computing, from IIT Kanpur. Asmita is a recipient of the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) fellowship. She has done a research internship at ISI-Kolkata and at Siemens R&D Lab, wherein she designed a novel mathematical model, which ultimately went for ID-filing. She has actively pursued technical endeavors and went from being part of team JUGNU, a nano satellite, helping setting up the ground station to pursuing electronics as a hobby wherein she nurtured the hobby group and organised electronics’ competitions in Techkriti - the technical fest of IITK.

    The high point in her college life was when she helped kick-start the Entrepreneurship Cell in IITK. She has been credited for bringing vibrancy to E-Cell activities by single-handedly conceptualizing, building and launching E-Cell’s website, and led the team launching the first Campus-Entrepreneurship Newsletter and campus blog. She has also engaged with the Entrepreneurship panel at Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations.

    Asmita was one of the lucky and hardworking few who secured an internship with Deutsche Bank, eventually securing a full-time offer based on her performance. It was then that it dawned on her that what makes her the happiest is making a difference in the lives of people. With her above-mentioned experiences and more, she has understood the importance of technology and entrepreneurship as tools to create positive externality. It is on a quest thus, to find a bigger role for herself that she decided to leave that “dream” job and pursue a vocation that would allow her to positively impact her environment.

    She Believes That:
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” ― Marianne Williamson

  • Nikita Gupta

    Nikita Gupta
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: B.A. Economics (Hons) , Sri Venkateswara College , Delhi University

    Every life has a purpose and that is completely unique to that person. Believing in this, Nikita grew up in the metropolitan city of Delhi looking out for her purpose in life. Born into a family of doctors, she was always motivated to go into the same profession because of it's nobility and respect. Always among the toppers of her class, she chased her passion for music and dance throughout school, completing her Prabhakar in Kathak from Prayag Sangeet Samiti by class 11th. Still there was a lot to discover, a lot to explore. Contrary to many people's expectations, she fell in love with a different subject in high school and despite studying science, decided to pursue economics at the college level. 

    College was a different story altogether. With different facets of life unfolding , she decided to challenge the areas of life that were untouched by her. Never a public speaker before, she extensively poured herself into parliamentary debating and participated in various debates, reaching the finals of the "Great Debate" organized by Delhi University and was invited to meet the British High Commissioner. She represented her college as a panellist at the 8th Sir Crawford lecture on "Australia's economic reform story", held at the Australian embassy , being the only girl on the Dias. 

    During this, she explored the world by interning with, now her most influential mentor, Mr. K.L.Thapar , former secretary of Planning Commission who taught her the  importance of multidisciplinary education and honest work in life. In the final year of college, she headed a mock parliament society called "House of Commons" to conduct more serious discussions on policy issues and organized the first simulation of a parliament session debating on the issue of 'Uniform Civil Code'. As she went ahead after college to pursue masters, she realized it was not her field of interest and much against the world opinion of "dropping out isn't good", decided to leave the course and look for something more true to herself. She realized that the strength of her inner potential isn't limited and was free to choose a life of her own. She couldn't compromise on her dream of living a life where her source of livelihood would earn her joy , more than anything else. In her quest to look for direction and discover her interests more, she is waiting to start her ride as a YIF fellow.
    Her Favourite Quotes are: 
    "Live your life in your own unique way and be true to yourself"- Josei Toda 
    "Victory lies in not getting defeated." -Daisaku Ikeda 
    “Before comparing yourself with others, win the battle with yourself.” -Daisaku Ikeda

  • Palak Gupta

    Palak Gupta
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: BA(H) Economics - Miranda house, Delhi University

    Palak, who graduated from one of the most reputed women’s colleges in India – Miranda house, identifies herself as a feminist. Her three years in college were instrumental in her transformation to a strong, independent woman who feels strongly about the prevalent gender inequality in the society.

    She was the founding member and Vice President of Enactus Miranda house, an organization dedicated to social entrepreneurship. Her first project as a member of Enactus was to provide employment to a group of women subject to abysmal poverty. She is a proud alumna of Enactus and is glad to have left a legacy behind for her fellow Mirandians to continue. Owing to her ardent drive to make a difference to the society, Palak also led the initiative to transform the face of CSR at her work place and debated with the Senior Management to build a solid framework and policy around it.

    Palak is a self-proclaimed Francophile and is currently learning French language from Alliance Française. She believes that learning a language sharpens one’s thinking ability and is looking forward to learning few other languages in future, mastering one at a time! She has recently developed an inclination towards world history and theology owing to her zeal to learn about different cultures and traditions that the human race carries with it. It fascinates her to travel and discover the quaintest of alleys in a densely populated city. She finds herself most at peace when she is relishing the aesthetic mountainous view from her grandparents’ home in Himachal Pradesh. Through YIF, Palak hopes to widen her perspective in life and be exposed to different life philosophies, learn from her peers and professors and find a mentor who will guide her to realize her true potential.

    As an optimist,she believes that:
    “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

  • Palak Gupta

    Palak Gupta
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: B.A.(Hons.) Political Science; Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi

    Palak has always felt an intrinsic need to do only that which interests her in a way that she could completely give herself to it; she finds it extremely difficult to work as per other people’s understanding of a situation unless she could recognise herself with the same. It is rather essential for her to remain self-dependent, original and unsullied. Even though she understands the need to be around people and the fact that there is something to learn from each and every individual, she requires a lot of self time and personal space to contemplate and work towards all that she has acquired from the experiences of others.

    She started working as a fine-art freelance photographer at the age of 18 and has worked on portfolios for aspiring dancers, designers and models. She has won various photography competitions across Delhi University and was the coordinator for her college's photography society. Palak spends most of her time reading, doodling, writing poetry,watching movies, and saving money for her monthly travels. She doesn’t believe in the term “biggest achievement”, moreover small everyday achievements which add up to bring about a larger difference in her way of living and perceiving and give her a sense of fulfillment are what she truly cherishes.

    Although, individuality is an indispensable part of her being, she understands the need to further expand on this idea so as to make it function in a more diversified environment - where she steps out of her comfort zone and becomes more socially competent.

    Her Favourite Quote is:
    “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people
    I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all
    the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the
    shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience
    possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

    ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath:

  • Pranav Gupta

    Pranav Gupta
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B.Tech (E&TC); Symbiosis Institute of Technology, Pune

    Pranav feels that a life well lived is a life full of enriching experiences. He believes that through these experiences we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and the world. Right from his childhood, Pranav has been interested in Music. During his college days, he started a Music Club which later went on to record and perform an anthem for their cultural fest. He also organized an inter college solo singing competition in the fest for two years. Apart from music, during the summer breaks, he gave voice to his activism by volunteering for environmental NGOs - Greenpeace India and Centre for Environment Education where part of his work involved sensitizing the masses about Environment and Sustainability.

    He started his professional life as a decision scientist with Mu Sigma, where he applied analytics to effectively solve various business problems and enable better decision making. He rose to the position of a team lead within a year and also mentored a group of new recruits in the company. This helped him hone his leadership and teamwork skills.

    His innate curiosity inevitably led to his love for philosophy, helping him discover the many facets of our complex world. His journey only reaffirmed in him the need for logical thought and a critical temper to let go of our biases and open our minds to new ideas and thoughts. In his free time, he likes reading or immersing himself in new cultures and cuisines through travelling.  He is looking forward to a great experience at YIF to learn, grow and explore more. 

    His Favorite Quote is:
    “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” - Socrates

    I Believe That:

  • Srishti Gupta

    Srishti Gupta
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelors in Economics, Daulat Ram College, University Of Delhi

    The only daughter to her parents, Srishti grew up in the city of joy- Kolkata. From childhood days she aspired nothing less than the “best”. Once asked to give a talk on “importance of books” in the school amphitheatre, she ended up with the entire school applauding to her speech. That was the time she realized the potential of public speaking in her and from then there was no looking back. Thus, establishing her forte in public speaking by winning various debate competitions, participating in Model United Nations, anchoring shows, hence getting selected to represent India at the “INTERNATIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT 2012” in LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. 

    Her excellence in academics made her win awards like- best student, best all rounder and then “Student of the year” award by Times of India. Her quest of being at the top made her realize yet another potential of leading the crowd when she became the president in school, crowned as the “RYAN PRINCESS” in school’s farewell ceremony she headed to college with a new set of dreams. Pursuing one of the most prestigious courses of Delhi University, she was an active member of her college’s various society’s like- drama, debating, economics, women development, placement cell etc. She ended up becoming the Secretary and hence the President of her college. 

    Here at YIF she is keen in exploring, enhancing the creative side of hers by exposing herself to multidimensional subjects and disciplines. She is a firm believer of the quote:
    "The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little 'extra'."

    Hence her journey of doing that “extra” just begins.

  • Sourabh Harihar

    Sourabh Harihar
    Age: 25
    Degree and Institution: B.Tech. Ocean Engineering & Naval Architecture (IIT Kharagpur)
    Post-Graduation: M.Sc. CoMEM (NTNU, TU Delft, University of Southampton)

    Always motivated by his parents to nurture his hobbies, Sourabh has grown up dabbling in various streams of interest, from writing to cooking and performing arts. This has often led him to think that he is a jack of many trades, while he hopes to be the master of one someday.

    At IIT Kharagpur, he bagged the JBNSTS and the Singapore Technologies scholarships, when he was also actively participating in events of the Hindi Drama Society ‘Pravah’. Later during his tenure as one of the Governors of Pravah, his society’s hard-hitting production of ‘Sakharam Binder’ garnered accolades at IIT Kharagpur and IIM Kolkata. In his final year, his team staged Dharamvir Bharati’s epic drama ‘Andha Yug’ with a traditional choir and an ensemble cast, which won them the Best Play. Although life at university was peppered with eclectic theatre performances, feisty elocution sessions and cherished ‘Illumination’ memories, what Sourabh remembers above all is the fantastic bunch of people he had the pleasure to interact with at IIT.

    His time in Kharagpur was followed by short stints at Deloitte Consulting and IRS Mumbai, which he then quit to pursue a Masters program in Europe under the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, giving his life an unexpected turn. During his breaks, he derived inspiration by volunteering at an Akanksha Foundation school and by penning articles for the online mouthpiece YouthKiAwaaz. Living in three different countries- Norway, Netherlands and the UK- has enriched him with memorable experiences and important life lessons but, most of all, has made him realize that his heart lies back home, in India. He sees the Young India Fellowship as an opportunity to reconnect with his interests and wishes to find his true calling along this journey.

    His Favourite quotes are:

    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." – Nelson Mandela 
    "Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. – Richard Dawkins

  • Priyank Hirani

    Priyank Hirani
    Age: 26
    Degree and Institution: BE (Hons) Electrical & Electronics; BITS Pilani KK Birla, Goa campus
    Post-Graduation: MSc Analogue and Digital IC Design; Imperial College London

    Priyank attributes his love for numbers from an early age to his being a Gujarati. His interest in physics and mathematics led him to study engineering at BITS which has shaped his personality as well as professional career but his involvement in the cultural fest at Goa in the capacity of leading a department with a hundred creative people infused in him the real confidence of being an able facilitator – one who brings out the best in others by giving them the freedom to take decisions.

    Having worked in fields from agricultural electronics to wireless sensors and from healthcare electronics to most recently space technology, Priyank has applied his skills and knowledge to aid in solving various human problems. He feels that receiving the Jubilee Scholarship by the British Council to study for a fully funded masters program in UK was a moment of pride for him. Having topped his class at Imperial, he surely did not disappoint his sponsor or his family. However an even bigger achievement was when he could let go without regret or fear, when he could gather the courage to give up on a stable, luxurious life in UK to come back to India and join YIF to give back to society and to find his real passion. 

    From skiing in the French Alps to hiking up to Norway’s Preikestolen, from sky diving in Prague to kayaking in England, Priyank has challenged himself with various adrenaline pumping experiences. He believes in cherishing memories from every new place he visits rather than materialistic pursuits. His travels have led him to explore various cultures, cuisines and people’s behaviours enhancing his worldview.

    Through YIF, Priyank hopes to test the waters before diving in, to learn a new skill, to challenge himself to become a non-conformist and above all to enjoy the simpler pleasures in life and cherish human relationships.

    I believe that:
    “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays” – Professor Harold Hill

  • Simran Jagdev

    Simran Jagdev
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts, English (Honours); Hindu College, University of Delhi
    Post-Graduation: Post-graduate Diploma in English Journalism; Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi

    A literature graduate by education, a sub-editor by profession and a lover of all things abstract by nature: that’s Simran for you. 

    An education in the field of humanities taught her the importance of accepting and respecting varied, at times even conflicting, worldviews and thought processes. The inter-disciplinary nature of literature helped her understand that nothing in this world exists in water-tight compartments. She got a chance to hone her leadership skills as the House Captain while in school and later, as the editor of the college magazine.  Her love for books and language has been a constant in her life since school. While she is not busy hoarding books at book fairs, she can be found picking them up at random bookstores. 

    She is a firm believer in the fact that compassion in an individual is the most important thing. At a time when the individual and the society has never been more fragmented, more of empathetic people is what this world requires. While at Hindu College, she realised that education is not only what you learn while sitting in a classroom, but more of what you learn from your experiences and from the people around you. That is what forms the premise of liberal arts for her. She wishes to follow this very path at YIF and hopes it will help her achieve personal growth at an unprecedented level. 

    She Believes That: 
    “The darkest hour of the night comes just before dawn.”

  • Aditi Jain

    Aditi Jain
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts in English (Honours), Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, Delhi

    Aditi identifies herself as a student of literature, a writer and someone who enjoys learning at every step of life. She completed her schooling from City Montessori School in Lucknow and then went on to obtain bachelor’s degree in English, a subject she has been fond of ever since she read her first book. She continued her passion of learning and writing and thus became one of the editors of English Literature Society- Palimpsest, Kirorimal College in Delhi University.

    While at college, Aditi was actively involved in many co-curricular activities and pursuant to that, she joined the youth leadership movement for social action - LEADERS FOR TOMORROW which is spread around 100 colleges in Delhi and NCR regions. After she was promoted as the ZONAL MANAGER, she handled the operations of all the zones of Delhi and NCR regions where LFT has marked its presence. Organizing the social action events, motivating students to take up such social action and developing more and more leaders along with her own learning, is what she learnt at LFT. She also volunteered for TEACH INDIA program, an initiative by TIMES OF INDIA where she taught English to 19-25 years of men and women, incapable of finding a job because of their poor English. Her two interns were even placed in McDonalds and Pizza Hut during the placements. Aditi always believed that integrity and confidence in oneself can fetch excellent results in every walk of life. The phenomenon of our existence is affected a lot by our own conceptions of life. She needs to be able to justify every action that she take to herself in order to live proudly.

    Through the Young India Fellowship, she hopes to gain experience, knowledge and insight which shall broaden and brighten her perspective of life. She aims to expand her intellectual horizon so that she can have concrete yet admissible opinions on a diverse set of subjects, and eventually play a crucial role by contributing to society to the best of her ability.

    She Believes That: 
    “There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky, and you ask ‘What if I fall?’ Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
    -Erin Hanson

  • Arpit Jain

    Arpit Jain
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, NITK Surathkal

    Fascinated by cars and wheels from a young age, Arpit decided to pursue Mechanical engineering. As the Head of Marketing for NITK Racing, he was instrumental in team management and fabrication of an all terrain vehicle for BAJA, an international design and fabrication contest. He explored several facets of undergraduate life, from being a management consultant, data analyst, treasurer, event manager, quiz master to assessing business plans or performing research in a multi-million dollar lab at Chicago. He is looking forward to leverage the diverse experience of his peers on his journey to be a small part of the force creating a positive impact in the world. 
    Arpit is a huge sports buff and rarely misses watching the Bulls, Arsenal or the classy Federer in action. He is passionate about lawn tennis and has represented Karnataka region in the National Sports Meet held at Hyderabad in 2008. He is also an avid quizzer who considers quizzing a mental sport - that of knowledge, timing and patience. He has won several accolades in various quizzes, notably the Tata Crucible Campus Business Quiz telecast on CNBC TV18. He believes that constant engagement in sport has equipped him with a meticulous and unerring attitude towards his yearning.

    He Believes That:
    "We cannot connect the dots looking forward, it all only becomes clear when we look at it backwards. You have to believe in something- your destiny, gut, life, whatever and trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future".  

    These words from Steve Jobs have shaped his mindset and ensure that he is upbeat about any activity that he takes up. He believes that the Young India fellowship is a direct outcome of this thinking, of his constant zeal to learn and to do what feels right.

  • Ashay Jain

    Ashay Jain
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: B.Tech in Electrical Engineering; IIT Patna

    Ashay studied in a Hindi medium, state government aided school till class ten in the small hilly town of Parasnath in Jharkhand. Despite having lived in a disadvantageous environment with minuscule resources, he considered himself blessed to be born to educated parents who always loved, mentored and supported him. With determination to prove himself, he switched to an English medium school in a city for higher secondary education in Science. Soon he found himself immersed in the intricacies of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. In his words, that experience of preparing himself for engineering was sublime. He cleared IIT-JEE as a general category student in the first attempt. 

    The experience at IIT Patna was an eye-opener for him not just professionally but personally. He won the gymkhana elections to become the maintenance secretary and was also coordinator of the committee on hospitality and services in the annual fest. He is grateful for being introduced to the wonderful world of Humanities and Social Sciences by some inspirational teachers. He spent much of his time there devouring the subjects like sociology, psychology, linguistics and philosophy.

    Ashay worked at the Bank of America in Mumbai as a software developer for 13 months, after graduating from IIT Patna. Staying true to the meaning of his name his name ‘Ashay (आशय)’ which means “meaning” he soon felt disillusioned and stuck in a rut and yearned for meaning and self-discovery. So he left the job and spent his time on soul-searching. He came to learn about YIF and Ashoka University while browsing through Quora one day. Feeling euphoric he decided to go for it, to devour liberal arts and to discover his ‘Element’, in words of Sir Ken Robinson. He loves contemplating life, reading fiction, listening to Hindi songs, spending time in nature’s lap, being spiritual and finding meaning. 

    He Believes That: 
    “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” ― Lao Tzu

  • Mansi Jain

    Mansi Jain
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Integrated BS-MS (Bachelor of Science – Master of Science); Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata (IISER Kolkata)

    Born in Lalitpur (U.P.) and brought up in the city of temples Ujjain (M.P.), Mansi has always been an all-rounder. Starting off as a bright student in school, she found her interest in badminton and gradually paved her way into professional badminton at the age of about 9. Alongside she learned many varied skills like swimming, sketching, embroidery, mehendi making and playing keyboard. She joined IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) in 2010 for an integrated MS in Geology; and besides badminton, also started participating in sports like javelin throw, marathon, volleyball, throw-ball, cycling and excelled as the best girl athlete in her college by bagging the 1st position in almost all competitions she was a part of. She is a powerful orator and an accomplished dancer and theater artist. She also loves riding bikes, driving cars, and trekking. 

    She prides herself on her ability to manage people and events. Her leadership and management skills emanated right from school life. From being the House Vice Captain and Captain she became the first Head Girl of the school. She held many positions of responsibility in college too, where she was the female representative and then the secretary of the badminton club. She has been the hospitality in-charge for the girls who participated in the first IISM (Inter IISER Sports Meet) and the manager and captain of girls’ team in the 2nd and 3rd IISM. She successfully organised the institutional department day being one of the two committee heads. 

    She has been the recipient of INSIRE Fellowship (2010-2015) and IAS Fellowship (2012). She is the departmental topper in the college and has been selected for the Overall Excellence Award from her batch (2015). She has won two national badminton titles (2004) and had been awarded the Sports Talent Award (2004) in recognition of her performance in sports by the Ujjain District Olympic Association. 

    One will find her ever ready to learn anything new and exciting that comes across her. 

    Her Favorite Quote is:
    "The world is not the most pleasant place. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass."
    - Queen Elizabeth II

  • Sunanda Jalote

    Sunanda Jalote
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: BA Honours in Psychology, Ambedkar University

    It was words which brought magic into Sunanda’s life since day one. At first, it was through the stories her family told and read to her. Then the magic shone through the words she read. Reading soon turned from a hobby to a passion and words followed the same path. Sunanda read a book about a young school girl writing her own book and getting it published and since then (which was on her 10th birthday), Sunanda started writing herself; converting words into similar magic as she had seen all her life. Now, at the age of 21, she is the author of her own personal triumph, which is her blog- where she secretly shares her emotions and life and deepest moments with the world. 

    Words have power…like magic spells. Sunanda started seeing this outside writing as well; words brought comfort and pain, made or broke someone’s self-esteem. The right words when mixed with empathy and compassion could make a person feeling broke feel whole again. And that is what Sunanda started to want to do. This brought her to the doors of Psychology where she pursued making a career out of what she thought she did best; use words and the magic in them to help people live better. Sunanda now dreams of being a Clinical Psychologist. 

    With years came more maturity about the path Sunanda has chosen; she realised she wanted to do more, be more. After some of her friends confided in her about their experiences of sexual abuse, another passion was added in Sunanda’s life. She now dreams of helping abuse survivors across the country rehabilitate their mental health and reach their highest potential for a full and happy life. After being personally affected by the loss of a friend through suicide, she added yet another mission; to help individuals with suicidal thoughts see the worth of living; something she feels everyone can use every so often. 

    Sunanda also prides herself on being a feminist. She hopes to one day bring about determination to fight for gender equality using her words in more and more people every day. Words have the power to change the world, hence they definitely do have the power to change the minds of human beings. Sunanda has a lot of interests and a lot of things bring joy to her life. She lights up when she sees anything purple because to her, the colour purple signifies all that is beautiful in life. She is a complete water baby; put her in water, in any water-related activity and she feels completely at home. This feeling led her to be certified in Scuba Diving. In her dream world, Sunanda sees herself as a part-time mermaid. 

    And of course, words have never stopped being magical for her. Sunanda’s favourite quote changes often with the new books she reads. But one is appropriate to the above description:
    “Words have power…like magic spells.” – Cinderella (2015)

  • Harshala Jambhulkar

    Harshala Jambhulkar
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B. Tech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering; National Institute of Technology Karnataka

    Hailing from a small village in Maharashtra, it was an education which helped Harshala explore an abundance of opportunities. Having seen the positive impact an educated mind can have on society,she believes that it can help in expanding our horizon to solve real world societal problems. 

    She grew up in residential schooling of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya since 6th std. Having lived in multiple such places like Gondia, Pondicherry, Bangalore; she adores and enjoys the diversity in cultures, languages, environments. In 11th std. she got selected for Dakshana Foundation coaching and went on to work later as a Senior Secretary for their alumni association. She completed her B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Karnataka. Along with studies, she believes an extra-curricular participation has instilled new qualities, helped in learning new skills from peers. She was the joint convener of workshop committee in her college technical festival, ENGINEER.

    During her summer internship in Credit Suisse at Pune, she worked with their Risk Division in analyzing market risk feeds. Along with learning new tools, this experience gave her great insights about corporate culture and various business strategies. Being sports enthusiastic at heart she represented her school team at regional level sports meet in Kho-Kho and Table-Tennis. Having a deep interest in dance since childhood, she participated in most of dance competitions in school and college. She enjoys the folk dance which beautifies the essence of local culture and represented a dance team at regional level folk dance competition. She also represented Guide Group of her school in Scouts and Guides Rajyapurskar Meet at Amravati, Maharashtra. She volunteered for National Service Scheme. She also directed a puppet play on dowry system in high school. 

    Her interests ranges from sketching, travelling, trekking to discussingpolitics, philosophy and Indian mythology. She would like to play her part in India's development and believes that YIF will provide that platform to start with.

    She Believes That:

    “Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right', start where you stand and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”- Napolean Hill

  • Harshal Kale

    Harshal Kale
    Age: 26
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Engineering In Computer Engineering; S.S.V.P.S’s B.S.Deore College of Engineering, Dhule.

    Born and brought up in Dhule, Harshal wanted to be a doctor but ended up becoming a computer engineer. He graduated from S.S.V.P.S’s B S Deore College of Engineering in Dhule and passed the engineering in 2011.

    Harshal is a passionate community worker. He is the national Youth Chairman of the Hemophilia Federation India (HFI) ( and is part of the executive committee. He is responsible for developing strategies and programs for youths suffering from Hemophilia, a genetic bleeding disorder where the person lacks the natural ability to clot. He runs Hemophilia Society, Dhule and volunteers for Save One Life, a US-based foundation that gives $20/monthly scholarship grants to children with hemophilia (CwH) to 7 needy families in his hometown. Recently, Harshal was named to the Youth Leadership Advisory Committee, World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) based in Montreal, Canada. In 2012, the University of Texas selected Harshal to represent HFI in “Step Up Reach Out (SURO),” an International Youth Leadership Program held in San Francisco, USA, where he presented “Treatment Scenarios on Hemophilia in India.”  He was again chosen in 2013 to represent HFI in Budapest, Hungary where he presented his project “Reaching the Un-Reached: Expanding Hemophilia Care to Rural parts of Maharashtra, India.” 

    Nonetheless, his community work goes beyond Hemophilia.  He is also a part of the Global Shapers Community (GSC) Pune hub, a World Economic Forum (WEF) Initiative.  GSC is a group of extraordinary young individuals who are committed to bring the change in the society through their work.   ( His active involvement in the community earned him the “Deepstambh- Yuva Prerana Puraskar” – “Youth Inspiration award” for his remarkable work in Dhule, Jalgaon and Nandurbar District of Maharashtra State. While working at the KPIT Technologies, Pune, he was recognized in SHINE Moments for his contribution to the Community along with consistent performance in the organization.

    Harshal has always managed his academics delightfully well along with his passion for community work. He won elocution competitions and was also part of Table Tennis winning team for Inter-collegiate competitions at University level. He loves travelling and being social. He believes his quest for exploring his passion in the Social sector has led him into YIF. 

    His favorite quote is: 
    “You are the masterpiece of your own life.
    You are the Michelangelo
    of your own life.
    The David you are sculpturing
    is you!!!"
    (Dr. Joe Vitale) 
    ― Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

  • Reetika Kalita

    Reetika Kalita
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.A (H) History, Lady Shri Ram College; University of Delhi

    If there were a word that could catch the essence of who Reetika is, it would be experimental. Not a settler, Reetika strives for the new and the exciting, while at the same time, remaining rooted and grounded. She doesn’t say no to a novel adventure and it is perhaps this aspect of her persona that has led her to arrive at the Young India Fellowship Programme. A student of History at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and therefore sentient to the fluidity of time, Reetika finds absolute statements and labels hard to accept. She seeks to understand the grey areas and therefore attempts to build a wholesome perspective to view the world through, at YIF.

    A member of the Voluntary Agency Placement Programme at LSR that provides interested individuals a window into the field of developmental work, Reetika began dappling with the issues relating to this field. Although she hasn’t narrowed down her field of interest yet, she firmly believes that development is an aspect that will remain attached to whichever road she chooses to pursue. In her endeavour to consolidate and further comprehend her views and knowledge of developmental fieldwork, she did a stint of work with Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sangathan. Under the guidance of dynamic leaders like Aruna Roy, this experience, vastly, if not entirely, changed her understanding of democratic function and political movement. Reetika’s interest in the social sector combined with her lifelong interaction with handloom and handicraft, led her to create her own organization – Women Empowerment Foundation for Transformation (WEFT) that promotes local Assamese weaves and natural dyes. Although the organization is at its nascent stage, she seeks to nurture it further and cement it into a platform through which local artisans and weavers can reach the markets without having to battle the atrocities of consumerism. 

    A desire to help others was perhaps inculcated in Reetika by her friend and ultimate critic, an 80 year old lady for whom she used to read and write a couple of evenings every week through high school. The lessons she learnt in those sessions, very much outside the classroom and through the forging of human relations, are lessons Reetika considers most significant in the making of who she is today. 

    Reetika believes in taking chances and seizing the moment. She believes that life is right now, and not the future that you imagine in bed every night before falling sleep. 

    Her Favourite Quote is:
    ‘’Today is the first day of the rest of my life”
    -John Denver

  • Aastha Kapoor

    Aastha Kapoor
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Instrumentation, VIT University, Vellore

    Arguing since childhood and debating since school, Aastha has been always an inquisitive person with most of her questions ending with "Why?". Having never cheated in any exam in life, she is a person with unwavering belief in righteousness and living a life of purpose. 

    Though a socially outgoing and bubbly person, she is an introvert at heart with a flair for reading, singing, travelling solo and penning down her thoughts. She wanted to explore as much before finalising what she wanted to do in life and since science and technology interested her, she decided to graduate in engineering and learnt a lot on the way. She was the manager of the Sponsorship, Stalls and Media Committee at the annual college cultural fest, Riviera 2014, which is among the top 10 college fests in the country and ran a successful show, meeting all standards and guidelines. 

    However, she also found that her strengths and true calling lied in attempting to solve real life community problems by effective management, well planned strategies and smooth operations which prompted her to join a business company such as Deloitte. She has served as an online UN volunteer for 2 organizations in the past and her core interests lie in working in the social impact consulting sector and play the role of a social intrapreneur who changes the way business is done –by introducing the element of “purpose” along with “profit”.

    Her Favourite Quote is- 
    “You have got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work” 
    -Steve Jobs

  • Hargun Kaur

    Hargun Kaur
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: BA (Honours) Social Sciences; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

    An ardent individualist, an assiduous student , an extrovert, polyglot and a happy soul are few words that best describe Hargun. Born and brought up in Amritsar, the youngest child at home, she attended Spring Dale Senior School which provided an intellectually charged environment that emboldened her not only to dream big but also chase these dreams zealously.

    The turning point in her life came when, at sixteen, she was selected as one of the two girls from all over India for a fully funded student exchange program for 5 months to Japan by Kamenori foundation and Youth For Understanding India (YFU). The obstacles that came her way during this sojourn owing to incompetency in Japanese language and being unaccustomed to the Japanese lifestyle taught her to treat challenges as adventures transforming her outlook towards life.

    While pursuing her graduation at the School of Social Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, life took another major turn when she attended a partially funded summer seminar by Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in Texas, USA as a sophomore. The initial exposure to the thought provoking ideology of libertarianism left her so intrigued that she developed a passion to proliferate these ideas back home. This vehemence led her to become one of the Local coordinators of South Asia Students For Liberty (SASFL) - an international NGO working for liberty where students are crusaders of change and  founded the Amritsar chapter. At college, she has also volunteered for annual ASER surveys by PRATHAM and has been a member of Amritsar Policy Group, a think tank affiliated to Atlas Foundation, USA to sensitize youth on public policy issues, while taking French classes as a hobby.

    She also attended another seminar by FEE titled ‘Communicating Liberty: Advanced Training’ in Michigan, USA in June 2015 that helped her quench her thirst for ideas pertaining to libertarianism and also be a better leader and an eloquent communicator. Albeit coming from a conservative town, she believes life has been gracious enough to lend her a few life transforming opportunities and YIF is a platform which will not only help her grow and learn at an unprecedented level but also channelize her talents to pay back the society.

    Her Favorite Quote is:
    “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Navneet Kaur

    Navneet Kaur
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: B.Sc. Economics Honours; St. Xavier's College, Kolkata (Autonomous)

    Found frolicking in the nucleus of all powwow and gamboling to her own tune, she is best described as the reigning queen of outlandish etiquette. Yet she feels the world is always developing too swiftly for her.  Absorbing each moment of her 21 circles around the sun, she considers that experiences are often aligned for us in life that do not fall along the conventional path of things, but end up teaching us the most important lessons. Exhibiting rarity in her travels, songs, and dances, exhibitions of her art or even her stints with modeling and pageants, this lady has touched all corners of her star of a life.

    Her university education in Economics at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata led her to explore the problems of scarcity and inequality that characterize much of the world today. She interned with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and aided the process of erecting a National Women’s Helpline which instigated her to pen a paper titled ‘Targeting Intra-Household Bias of Income: Pink Money’ that was notably distinguished. Her interest in the functioning of the ‘National Defense’ led her to intern with the Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. where she researched ‘Global Defense Procurement’ and used the exposure gained to write an article titled ‘Defended we stand, disarmed we fall?’ questioning the justification of the billions of dollars spent in the name of security worldwide.

    Every time Navneet raised her hand to an opportunity of conducting research, she added a small relic to her little basket filled with trophies that she proudly boasts of! She is good at leading her camaraderie from behind and believes that it is wrong for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.

    Her favorite quote is:
    "How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself."

  • Ajaya Kaushik

    Ajaya Kaushik
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Honours, Ramjas College, University of Delhi, Delhi

    A strong sense of responsibility resulted in Ajaya being elected as the class leader in secondary school and high school, a position which thought her to be a responsible leader while also helping and motivating classmates. She had a better hand in science from the beginning. So she pursued chemistry in her graduation. 

    She always had the urge to take initiatives and serve for well-being of the society. During her graduation, Ajaya got an opportunity to visit small scale NGOs, these were the places where she explored her desire to work for the education and welfare of underprivileged children. To nurture her desire she did an internship at Hyderabad based NGO “youth for seva”. Always enthusiastic and filled with zeal, Ajaya, in a pool of opportunities at north campus of Delhi University, took part in many events and workshops, winning prizes, and increasing her potential to learn more. She was also selected for the final TSC (THAL SAINIK CAMP) -2013 and went on to win bronze in map reading at national level. She has always proved herself to be a good leader at NCC, sports and NSS.

    Ajaya’s curiosity to explore and inquisitiveness has helped her push her boundaries. In her spare time Ajaya likes to play chess. She likes photography, spicy food and enjoys trips. Ajaya hopes the Young India Fellowship will boost her confidence and help her not just push but break her boundaries.

    She believes that: 
    “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody."

  • Sanjay Khandelwal

    Sanjay Khandelwal
    Age: 22
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor's of Engineering in Mechanical; Bangalore Institute of Technology, Bengaluru

    “Commit mistakes, learn from them but never repeat them” has been the single most philosophy of Sanjay’s life. Being brought up in a mix of Marwari and Gujrati family, Sanjay considers himself a confluence of contradiction. An extrovert at heart, he sometimes, quietly withdraws into solitude to spend time with himself. A public speaking enthusiast who loves reading and speaking but dreads writing. 

    Sanjay considers his education to be his greatest blessing in life. He strongly believes that education does what nothing else possibly can – Make one’s existence relevant. His urge to share his blessings took him to Kadam Foundation in March 2013, where he is serving as a volunteer teacher, teaching English and Mathematics. Sanjay's life took a major turn when he joined Daffodils Toastmasters club– A place where he found his first love and his biggest strength – Public Speaking. While Daffodils helped him sharpen his communication skills and build his leadership acumen, it also gave him the rare opportunity of meeting and learning from people from extremely diverse professional and cultural background. He served the club in various capacities, starting serving as the Public relations officer and moved up to the President of the club before joining YIF. He was one of the lead mentors at a club sponsored Youth Leadership Program developed for school children. He has won various awards in Public speaking contests held both at and outside Toastmasters. 

    In his free time Sanjay drowns himself in books and considers Muhammad Yunus’s biography Banker to the Poor his favourite. The student of Mechanical Engineering has a penchant for popular psychology and business books. He also has an obsession of Ted talks and dreams to be a Ted speaker one day. At YIF, Sanjay plans to find new interests, validate his beliefs, connect to the past and move ahead with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

    His Favourite Quote is:
    "In the end, it is the extra effort that separates a winner from the second " 
    -Jesse Owens

  • Devika Kohli

    Devika Kohli
    Age: 27
    Degree and Institution: B.A (H) English, School of Open Learning, Delhi
    Post-Graduation: M.A. French, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

    Devika enjoys learning, exploring new ideas and having conversations over a cup of tea/coffee. She admires diverse cultures and has been inclined towards languages since an early age. Her flair for languages led her to receive scholarship thrice from Urdu Academy of Delhi in her school while her absolute love for the English language led her to pursue her graduation in English Literature. She also holds a Certificate in Russian from University of Delhi.


    As someone who dabbles in sketching and is deeply interested in the world of Arts, she couldn’t help but be fascinated by France, the world’s fashion and cultural capital. While still pursuing her graduation, she took up French at Alliance Française de Delhi as well as St. Stephens College. Having topped the college twice, her passion for the language led her to pursue a Masters in French from the Center for French and Francophone Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Once there, she decided to rekindle her love for performance and become a part of the French Theater group ‘Amayur’, performing in Alliance Française de Delhi, Alliance Française de Chandigarh as well as JNU during the 2014 Francophone Festival. From winning a national translation competition, interviewing for a Quebecois radio and working with All India Radio (French Section, External Affairs Division), her tryst with the language is far from being over. She has also interned with Youth Ki Awaaz, an online news portal and written on cultural and political issues for the organization.


    She likes to think of herself as an eternal learner who believes in the adage “I know one thing: I know nothing”. With every passing year, she continues to come across brilliant minds, serving as a reaffirmation and reinstatement of the fact that there is always more to learn.With this philosophy in her heart, she aspires to plunge herself into the world of Liberal Arts at Ashoka University, learning from the invaluable knowledge and experience of her Professors as well as her peers. She hopes that the Fellowship would serve as a catalyst for her personal growth, lead her to rediscover her own self and simultaneously help her identify the sectors where she can make a significant contribution.


    She Believes That: 

    “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

    -Maya Angelou

  • Mahima Kohli

    Mahima Kohli
    Age: 23
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communication; IGIT (now IGDTUW), Delhi

    Born on the same day as the country's most eloquent speaker, Pt. Nehru, Mahima has forever been considered the 'prodigal daughter' in her family, though she'd certainly beg to differ. At an age when children around her were just beginning to make sense of new words, she had already taken to reading. Books, billboards, newspapers, toffee wrappers, she would read anything and everything that caught her fancy. She was quite an animated storyteller, her parents fondly recall, and a born leader too.

    While in primary school, she casually began writing poems and short stories. Her teachers realized she had a gift. But academics were bound to take a precedence, and so they did. Forgetting all about her gift, she went on to top her school with near perfect marks in both 10th and 12th standards. She also played Chess at the national level, earned a Senior Diploma in Hindustani Classical Music, and edited her school magazine. At the age of 14, Mahima wanted to be a Genetic Scientist. But fate had something else in mind. By the time she was 21, she had an engineering degree in Electronics. If that wasn't dramatic enough, halfway through her college life she realized she wasn't cut out to be an engineer and was truly a wordsmith at heart. That realization was the most significant turning point in her life. She took to writing like a fish to water, and slowly but doggedly made a place for herself on the www. Four years later, she is making a decent living as a freelance writer and editor. And yet every time someone praises her work, she still blushes. Humility and resilience are her armour against the onslaught of the world.

    Post-college, she chose to appear for the civil services exams in a bid to fulfil her mother's biggest dream. She lived for a year and a half at a residential coaching facility in Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. This was the second major turning point in her journey. She came in contact with a variety of people and ideas, and developed an ardent interest in cultural relativity, communal harmony and social upheaval. It was her first experience of stepping out of her comfort zone and living on her own, and it taught her a lot about herself and the world. Soon after, the YIF call letter arrived, and the pieces of her life's puzzle finally began falling into place. She feels that the Fellowship will act as the next step towards her dream of becoming a writer of note and a leader of repute.
    In Mahima's free time, you will often find her travelling, watching TV shows, taking up community service initiatives, delivering sermons to unwilling audience, or sitting quietly in a corner and observing people.

    Her Favourite Quote is:
    “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
    - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

  • Medha Kohli

    Medha Kohli
    Age: 20
    Degree and Institution: B.A. - Mass Communication, English Literature, Political Science; St.Francis College – Hyderabad

    Medha knew very early in her life that she “wanted to experience it all herself”. As a person who likes to have opinions of her own, she was born stubborn and a headstrong person. Having grown up in the quiet suburbs of Hyderabad, her travel to the heart of the city, to St.Francis College in Hyderabad, for pursuing her Bachelor’s in Mass Communication, English Literature and Political Science gave her the first taste of independence. Exposure to a variety of people and places saw a gradual change in her perception of life.

    She was awarded to attend the Study of the United States Institutes Program at the University of Washington, Seattle which she considers as not only her greatest achievement, but also a privilege. The experience was life-altering; to put it succinctly in her words, “I grew as a person, in understanding myself, this world, and my own place in it.”  Besides that, an avid NSS volunteer, volunteering has been a turning point in her life and has had a dire impact on her. She has worked as an anchor at CVR – an English news channel in Hyderabad and has freelanced in the capacity of a content writer, anchor and an assistant production manager for various places in Hyderabad.

    She remains wary about committing herself prematurely to a specific arena of work and is eager to elaborate and modify her thoughts and widen her perspective. She enjoys photography, spending time with children and absolutely loves travelling. Being headstrong is necessary but curiosity is an equally important factor in determining your interests in the long run. Hence, paying attention to her curiosity and the plethora of avenues life has to offer, she believes Ashoka will be the means to her path of discovery of self and much more.

    She Believes That:
    "Change is the only constant."

  • John Koshy

    John Koshy
    Age: 21
    Degree and Institution: Bachelor of Arts(Hons) in History from St.Stephens College; Delhi University

    In 2008, John began his ‘essential’ schooling at a boarding school called Rishi Valley. He has always considered  this to have been a major turning point in his life, for boarding school lifestyle helped him to understand the nuances of a life outside home. The alternate education based on the views of the school’s found J Krishnamurthi, which the school takes pride in, expanded his horizons beautifully and helped him in understanding, to an extent, the person he wanted to become in the world. 

    In 2012, he began his undergraduate studies, reading history at Delhi’s St.Stephens College. Coming on the heel of such a vibrant schooling experience, life in the classroom was often a perceived disappointment and it took him the better part of three years to fully understand the value of education he was receiving. He spent most of his time outside the walls of the classroom, taking up a serious and active interest in collegiate theatre, through participating in the activities of the Shakespeare Society, the English dramatics society of St. Stephens College. In his final year he was given the privilege of leading this Society in its various projects, a task that he took on with much relish.

    John also had the opportunity to intern with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in Rajasthan, in June 2014. Working on the ground with the organization’s Right to Hearing Campaign exposed him to a fraction of the overwhelming deficiencies in rural governance and enabled him to witness the complexities of society like never before. At the moment John hopes to juggle between starting his own theatre company, explore the fields of international security and primary education systems, while keeping his interests in marathon running intact.

    His Favourite Quote is:
    "Do not go gentle into that good night
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light"- Dylan Thomas

  • Archit Kumar

    Archit Kumar