SBI Youth for India Fellowship Programme: Unveiling My Journey of Empathy and Understanding

SBI Youth for India Fellowship Programme: Unveiling My Journey of Empathy and Understanding

It feels like just yesterday when I took the leap, leaving my job behind to embark on a transformative journey as part of the sbi youth for india fellowship programme. My decision was driven by a multitude of reasons, each intertwined with a deep-rooted desire to make a difference in the lives of rural communities. Yet, doubts and uncertainties plagued my mind, fueled by questions from others, my own self, and societal expectations.

Challenging Assumptions: Dissolving Dichotomies and Labels

One recurring question echoed in the background: 'Will this benefit your career?' It seemed to be the primary concern of those who had the luxury of contemplating my life choices and offering well-meaning advice. To appease their doubts, I wove tales of how this experience would enhance my prospects for higher studies, highlighting the value esteemed universities place on such endeavors. However, deep down, I questioned whether these reasons truly resonated with me or if they were mere façades.

Other inquiries surfaced, demanding clarity on my motivations. Why was I undertaking this endeavor? This question persistently haunted me, particularly in encounters with important individuals and delegations. Each time, my response seemed to morph, growing more incredible and less believable.

A Year into the Fellowship: Shattering Illusions and Embracing Unity

Now, after a year immersed in the fellowship, I have something to share. No matter how extensively scholars attempt to articulate the plight and struggles of this nation and its people using flowery language, it will always fall short. Nothing can compare to what one witnesses, feels, and hears firsthand.

Also Read: The Crisis of Farmer Suicides in India: Understanding the Issue and Exploring Solutions

A year into the fellowship, all the definitions and dichotomies dissolved, washed away by a torrent of experiences. No longer could I perceive others through the lens of rural or urban, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, upper caste or Dalit. Everywhere I looked, as far as my eyes could reach, I saw people—people with common needs and desires, hopes and aspirations, stubbornness and inertia, efforts and struggles.

The Humbling Journey: From Superiority to Shame

Gone were the illusions of 'uplifting' them, of molding them in our image. In their place, I felt a profound sense of shame, recognizing my own superficial sense of superiority that had led me to believe that my way of life was inherently superior and should be imposed upon them.

The grass always appears greener on the other side, but what works elsewhere may never work here. We are unique, like everyone else, neither better nor worse.

Also Read: Traditional Knowledge Facing the Barrier of ‘Conventionalism’

Inclusion through Understanding: Serving with Compassion

Inclusion is not achieved through criticism or rejection; it stems from deep understanding. I have quieted that part of me that believed I could save the world and help the poor, for I now realize that I am the one impoverished in comparison. The only way I can genuinely assist is by serving them, but only after I have truly comprehended their world. Only when I have trodden the same paths, savored the same sustenance, rested in the same spaces, breathed the same air, and shattered the illusions of my knowledge, can I begin to dream of meaningful service.