An Interview with Anirban Gupta, Founder of NGO Dhriiti

Mr. Anirban Gupta is the Founder and Director, ‘Dhriiti-the courage within’, a Non-Governmental Organization in the field of entrepreneurship and micro enterprises. Mr. Gupta did his Bachelors in Economics from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University and went on to do his Rural Management from Xavier’s Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. He worked with FODRA, an NGO working in north east Delhi.  A few months later, he moved on to start “Dhriiti” along with two other friends.

Mr. Gupta is an individual with a very pragmatic viewpoint towards the solutions of economic problems, solutions that do not just concentrate on stacking the ever-growing pile of ex gratia in the hands of the rich, but solutions that ponder more upon the needs and requirements of the society as a whole. He believes in the modest application of social work in the field of economic development.  Mr. Gupta nurtures strong belief in the fact that development of the society does not just call for “social service” that defines the establishment of social institutions. It rather calls for actions to be materialized in the present life of every individual to ensure a secure future. A future that does not rest on a form of education that trains you to hunt for jobs that can fill your pockets in the youthful years of your life, but a future that is guaranteed and self-made, one that respites on the comfortable stack that you have made for yourself, by yourself.

DJ: What are the activities that Dhriiti indulges in?

AG: Dhriiti is an organization that endeavors to promote a spirit of entrepreneurship in the next generation Indians. It encourages the potential that lies uncharted in the people in rural and urban India. It is an endeavor to promote and protect small and medium industries and thus charter the initiatives undertaken by them at a modest scale.

DJ: What inspired you to st art Dhriiti?

AG: Like most youngsters, I was quite uncertain about what I would like to pursue after my graduation. After trying my luck at advertising and journalism (where all that I really enjoyed was the excellent and surprisingly cheap food they offered) I went on to work with the non-governmental organization FODRA in north east Delhi. Interacting with the different genres of people who shared amazingly varied school of thoughts, and with diversified solutions towards solving the common problems that we as a society have always endured, I realized this was where I could apply all the knowledge I had gained through my classroom education and share its benefits through its practical application. After working with the organization for quite a while, I went on to start my own venture with two of my friends.

DJ: What were the initial missions of the organization and what kept you motivated?

AG: When I went on to pursue Rural Management at XIM Bhubaneshwar, my interests towards subjects other than my studies greatly gained dimensions. I always had an inclination towards acting and theater. My teachers found it incredulous that a management student should be concentrating on such areas at a point when life demanded the highest form of dedication. However, as my skills gained animation, I gained encouragement and appreciation from all my teachers and theater became quite a definition to XIMB at many fronts. It was this lesson that taught me that everything in life is worth learning. It is the courage and dedication that one decides to invest in the fulfillment of one’s dreams and likings that ultimately design your life. It was this thrust that delineated the purpose of Dhriiti. We started with the sole motive of making the wavered youth realize the importance of their dreams. The practical application of whichever field that one decides to pursue is what defines social work in entirety.

DJ: What were the difficulties that you faced as an entrepreneur in terms of inspiration and operation?

AJ: Inspiration was a motive difficult to materialize. People generally are comfortable when idyllic conventions are furthered. Change is something that is not always desired. The mindless MBA band wagon that took the minds of the youngsters by a swirl made this task a tad more difficult. The craving for plump placements in the corporate world has greatly overshadowed the opportunities that lie unexplored in most other ventures. Once the students and their parents were convinced about the pleasant change that such thoughts could induce into their lives, operation remained a task more easily accomplished.

DJ: How exactly would you define social entrepreneurship?

AG: An involvement in social service was once considered a direct result of fostering a mindset greatly inclined towards activism. It was considered a matter of personal interest, and also often as an initiative whose luxury only the affluent or the extremely strong willed could enjoy. In the past ‘community service’ was regarded a term that implied involvement of the religious institutions which worked for imparting smiles to the faces of millions, and making the basic necessities an easy access to the poor. The perspective however has greatly broadened with time. Activists are today known as ‘social workers’ and social work as profession. Social or community service today no longer implies work restricted to the rural area. Dhriiti, as an organization, endeavors to promote entrepreneurship at the grass root level. Entrepreneurship according to me is not a concept that could be restricted to one’s acumen. It depends upon a person’s desire for application of education in a way that does not merely ensure a development of the self but defines a more general and holistic improvement of the entire society. The problem of unemployment cannot be solved by creating more jobs, but rather by shifting the focus towards education for self employment.

DJ: What would be your advice to the youth today?

AG: The youth today is more focused on pursuing a course of action that ensures a luxurious future. The lust for corporate jobs is not something that has arisen out of a long nurtured desire, not for everyone. True accomplishment lies in being honest to one’s interests and desires and applying it in a way that it ensures a holistic development. Application of one’s knowledge gained through learning in any subject is what will assure a bright and vivid future for them.

Compiled by:

Dipti Jain

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