Watch the interview above or read excerpts of the interview below!
During his time in college, Amresh Yadav witnessed unjust events that compelled him to take action. Determined to influence change, he set upon a journey to transform things for the better with the help of his classmates, faculty and college management.
“It started with an incident in the canteen where the mess workers were spoken to in a very rude tone. Yes, there was some mismanagement on their end that led to the heated discussion taking place, but regardless, everyone deserves to be treated with respect! Mess workers, cleaning staff, security guards…these are some of the most hardworking people in any organization but often their tireless efforts do not get recognized.”
Amresh approached some of his peers and together they decided to conduct an honor ceremony for the workers.
“We decided to conduct a Samman Samaroh (which is Hindi for honour ceremony), during which we emphasized the message that – “Yes we respect. Yes we care.”. The event was a great success and led to long term impact, with their wages and working conditions being improved. It was truly priceless to see the smiles on their faces during the ceremony!”
Seeing how his actions could positively influence change and improve lives for the better struck a chord of activism within Amresh. Another incident involving dogs and puppies on his campus moved him to challenge authorities to create change.
“We had dogs and puppies seeking shelter within our campus and it was a sorry sight to see them struggling in the cold winter weather. Two instances really triggered me. One night, we lost electric power on our campus due to which we were unable to use our room heaters. The cold was unbearable that night. It got me wondering how these poor animals were surviving! I used to pass by them while I walked around on the campus and it almost felt like they were pleading with me to do something for them.
One day, when I saw the dead body of a puppy, near one of our entrance gates, I couldn’t tolerate it and decided it was time to create some comfortable spots for them to live.”
While Amresh and his team initially met with some resistance from faculty who were worried that the sound of the animals would disturb the learning environment, he eventually managed to win them over!
“We started a petition which was signed by students living in our hostels and eventually got permission to create safe and warm homes for these friendly animals. We also had a ‘Dog Squad’ on campus, whose sole purpose was to remove these animals from the campus. Post our petition and discussion with the authorities, the Dog Squad was also dissolved and these animals were allowed to peacefully coexist with us.”
When asked how these experiences have shaped him into the individual he is today, he replied,
“These incidents deeply touched me. I realized that creating social change gave me real happiness and satisfaction. The lessons learnt along the way have given me a different kind of strength. It has inspired me to try to understand people on a personal level, even at work, regardless of designation. I find that this helps create a deeper level of understanding, improves communication, problem solving, and consequently leads to better productivity.”