Alok Sagar, an ex-IIT professor who once taught ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, left his comfortable life to serve the tribals in the southern state of Madhya Pradesh.
For 32 long years, Sagar has been working in the Betul and Hoshangabad districts of Madhya Pradesh and helping save the environment. By now, he has planted more than 50,000 trees in Betul.
Sagar’s journey started back in 1982 when he resigned as professor to get onto a journey of a social worker because he wanted to contribute in the growth of the country and felt it was a better idea to work at the grassroots level.
Living in Kochamu, a remote village with 750 tribals that lacks both electricity and roads, and just has one primary school, Sagar embraced this difficult journey without worrying a bit about the degrees he had to his credit, that could land him in comfortable and decent jobs.
During his graduation days, Sagar was an ambitious student based out of New Delhi. He did his bachelor in electrical engineering from the prestigious IIT Delhi and got his masters degree from the institute in 1973. That’s not all. He went on to complete his PhD at Houston University in Texas, US, before returning to India to become a professor at IIT Delhi. He groomed various students, one of which was our former RBI Governor, Raghuram Rajan.
Despite all of his achievements, Sagar has maintained a low profile all his life. It was during the Ghoradongari assembly constituency elections this time, that a confusion regarding one of this district’s inhabitants came to light. The district administration, unable to track Sagar’s roots, almost asked him to leave the place. It was then that this man revealed his qualifications, and won a million hearts.
What makes Alok’s story truly inspiring is his simplicity. He owns just three sets of kurtas and a cycle, and spends his day collecting and distributing seeds among tribals. Alok can speak many languages and dialects used by tribals in the region. Closely associated with the Shramik Adiwasi Sangathan, he spends most of his time working for their upliftment.