We have read stories on how graduates from top universities have taken initiatives to support poor but not many go and live with them. Alok Sagar, an ex-IIT Delhi professor, left his lucrative job in 1982 to serve tribals, work for upliftment of women and stay connected to nature.
Besides having graduate and masters degrees from IIT Delhi, Sagar has a PhD from Houston University in Texas, US. He has infact taught former-RBI governor Raghuram Rajan.
But all these degrees were meaningless to him and he found his true calling in one of the remotest parts of Madhya Pradesh. For the past 26 years, Sagar has been living in Kochamu — a place which has no electricity or roads.
“He is focused about nature and has been educating people on growing trees and taking care of environment. He is a simple man who does what he says and mean,” said Anurag Modi from Shramik Adiwasi Sangathan, who is closely associated with Alok.
Indeed, 64-year-old Sagar is a simple man. He would have continued to remain low key until he was forced to reveal his identity during Betul’s recent district elections. Some local authorities found him suspicious and asked him to leave the village. Alok went on to meet the police and revealed his qualifications. Till now, even the locals were unknown about his background.
Based in Delhi’s Patparganj, Sagar’s father was an IRS officer (he passed away last year) while his mother was a physics teacher in Miranda House, Delhi University. His brother is a professor in IIT Delhi.
Its been over 24 years that Alok has been trying to sensitise tribals to plant trees. He learnt the local dialect and adapted their lifestyle. “He is a highly learned man who has command over seven-eight languages. The tribals who usually remain secluded slowly started trusting him,” said Modi.
Sagar feels its only tribals that are truly connected with nature and respect it. He rides 60 kms to distribute seeds to neighbouring villages.
Sagar’s life sets an example that if you are willing to work for a cause, you do not need excuses.