Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Trip never to forget...:) :D

It is seriously very moving and also very surprising to know that there are villages so remote that their inhabitants have not seen the glimpse of electricity in their lifetimes. And the knowledge that there are such villages just at 3-4 hour drives from Mumbai is even more appalling.

Well, so it all began by an announcement that we were supposed to visit two villages with the representatives of Project Chirag, to install solar lights. 

Project Chirag is a youth initiative to provide solar lighting to villages without electricity. This village has been successful in providing solar lights to 4726 households across 120 villages. In their 3 years, they have left their impact on more than 25,000 rural Indians.

This youth initiative aims to provide solar lights to those remote villages that do not have any access to electricity. The kerosene lamps currently used by many of these villagers not only emit poor quality light and take up a substantial part of their incomes but additionally release toxic fumes which result in an array of health and environmental problems. These fumes have lead to the death of several innocent village children.

I agreed the instant I came to know that this would be about helping people; people who had had their needs deprived from them.

The trip began on early Saturday, and we left our college; 25 of the youth of our country; all on a mission to light up the world. The journey to the village took an immense 4 hours. Sweaty and tired, everyone took in the spectacle of the village. Spread around a large radius, the whole populace of village had gathered under a jackfruit tree, which was supposedly the centre of the community.

The shock and awe on the looks of the villagers was not concealed, nor did they try to hide their feelings. As we headed off towards their homes, small huts of not more than 100 sq. feet, we were stunned that people were so cut off from civilization and we also learnt that life could be cruel; and these people had accepted that.
The representatives from Project Chirag told us that this was what their life was. These miniscule hutments and the small village- so deep in the wilderness. They had contacted the government but their wishes had not been fulfilled.

People would die from snake bites while walking around in the darkness- without an ounce of light; the children could not study after sunset-how could they without light? Their dinner would have to be consumed in the darkness, and it being a village, in the middle of the jungle, their food could have been visited by insects before it went to their stomachs. This would lead to illness and sometimes death. These were the hardships faced by them. And there was no one who would listen to their sorrows, no politicians, not a soul. How could life be so cruel with some one?

And the fact which hit me right at the bottom of the heart was that this place had network coverage to some extent, but no electricity! There was also a Videocon D2H connection in one of the house. How was it so possible?

Carrying heavy drills and equipment, soaked with excitement and the will to do something for humanity, we kept walking; deep into the jungle, towards their homes. The installation process and even explaining the usage to the villagers went on like grease. It turned out to be such an easy thing.
The lamps would be connected to a solar panel, which would get charged on light and not heat. This would allow usage all throughout the year. The panels would have to be placed on the roof by someone from the house itself, and the wires would be passed through the thatched roofs. We worked to drill holes in the wooden planks which worked as foundations for the houses, and fixed clamps which would work to hold the tube-lights (not the regular ones, but different ones which would be more suitable to the cause) and portable lanterns which could be carried around after sundown. The lanterns were also fitted with chargers for mobiles, which some of the villagers did have!

 Soaked with perspiration and our legs tired of walking (that was the only hitch which wore us down- the fact that the hutments were far from each other, and the distances were large), we returned to the buses.
A representative of the village came in to thank us. We were humbled by his use of language and words. Speaking in broken Hindi, he thanked us profusely, and told us that it was a privilege to receive light. And it was God’s blessing that had sent us here.
How can this be? Why can’t there be light? What was it that made these people so different from us? The answer stared me right in the face: we want our wants to be fulfilled and we fight to accomplish them. But, these people do not retaliate or fight even when they have needs which have not been fulfilled since decades. This separates them from us.

The modest thanking and their humble offerings made me speechless. Be it a small thank you speech, or lotus flowers, or a heart in the middle of a clearing. I just stood there, silent. The sight of the happiness on their faces, and the new gleams in their eyes made all of my troubles seem to very trivial in front of their troubles; all of the exhaustion and fatigue seeped out. We had mattered to not one person, not one family, not one village. But we had affected the future of mankind. Even if no one thanked us with gifts, or put this in the news, but we were satisfied. We were satisfied by the smiles, and the gleams of pleasure in their eyes.

It was just a first time for me. But it was something unique and different. I profusely thank my college Principal, Tanya Ma’am for arranging this trip for us. And a salute to Project Chirag- a group who wishes to light up the world, in the literal sense.


  1. I am glad to learn about such an initiative called Chirag and that you are on of those keen individuals who thinks beyond your life !! I have heard these solar panels come costly ?

    1. I do not have any idea about the costs. We had gone for this trip as my college was able to bring together a considerable sum for this cause and so we got this chance. You could find out about it all vie their Facebook page or even their website.