What is the meaning of your unusual name ‘Alokesh’, I asked this young gentleman as we sat down for this interview. He said smilingly “It means the sun.” Meet Alokesh, a young man from Assam the north eastern state of India who is filled with dreams and desires and equal passion to fulfill them.
“I come from the rich and beautiful city of Guwahati, Assam. I have grown up alongside Brahmaputra river imbibing stories of people and sounds of nature in my journey. My schooling was from Don Bosco and then I moved to Delhi for my Graduation in English from Ramjas College, where I got interested in writing and directing street theater and that’s how this journey towards the social issues began.” He adds as we begin to unravel this talent from north east.
Having represented India in countries like Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, UAE, UK via Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Alokesh has spread the message of human rights and sustainable development through his art.
After completing his graduation Alokesh went to Mumbai to do his post-graduation in mass communication and advertising and journalism. To sustain himself he started making documentaries and corporate films. Soon after his post-graduation he got TEACH FOR INDIA fellowship and his journey with the heart of India started. This led to him travelling to interiors of the country. Alokesh suddenly lost his father in 2012 changing the dynamics of life around him. He had to manage a lot of the things on the home front as well as work but he managed to pull through difficult times.
He has also worked with three state governments where he was consulting with them for their community based projects in the most interior of the states.
In 2014 Alokesh was given an opportunity to visit Uganda for a period of one year where he taught and developed his network and saw policy implementation first hand. After coming back to India he decided to travel as much as possible and took to making a trip every weekend to remote places of India. From Assam to Rameshwaram, Alokesh has been everywhere.
He feels people talk a lot about problems in development sector but not solutions. He feels development is not static. The communities need to be given autonomy for the way of life they wish to live. He started his work from Rajasthan in 2016. He wishes more and more people like him to work in villages. “This is exactly how an organization becomes a living organism.” He feels.
His organization started ‘I-Discover’ to discover local talent from the villages where he was working to help them turn them into stalwarts. 30 people were chosen in the first phase. This model is now being worked out in different villages he is involved with in different states.
Alokesh wishes to focus on enhancing the productivity of self-employed people and their connectivity with markets. Eventually he wants to make every collective he started into a self-sustained organism. By 2030 he is planning to develop 30 such communities all over India.
Alokesh is also the founder of Anekarthi films. His company uses films as a medium to reach out to middle grade students in the villages that he is working to enhance creativity, develop problem solving skills and develop concentration. This also helps in developing real life connect with situations and issues that are grappling the world.
He has recently published his first set of stories and he is also starting a YouTube channel to reach to a wider audience. He wishes to share his experiences with the world. “My challenges in the years to come are to rebuild my teams in different set of villages and also live more with my mother.” He says smilingly.
Alokesh has been felicitated with several awards and scholarships prominent among them are Pravah Change-loom fellowship, Global Action Against Poverty fellowship and Tech for Good fellowship.
On being asked that how he sustains himself, he says, “my friends and my donors sustain me through my work. I am now preparing for my PHD that will help me teach more number of people. Something I am very fond of. “
What do you do to unwind? I ask him finally as I end this interview. “Oh I love to dance, sing and play guitar.” He says.