IIT professor who left his job to serve the underprivileged – the story of Professor Alok Sagar

He is an ex-IIT professor, now living with the tribal inhabitants of a village in Madhya Pradesh. Professor Alok Sagar, left his job in 1982 and since then he has been serving the underprivileged. He had understood that their problems were profound, so he decided to relinquish the luxury of the city life and became a part of them and started living the life they lived. He received his Bachelor’s and Master degree from IIT Delhi and a PhD from Houston University in Texas. While teaching at IIT Delhi, Professor Alok Sagar produced many gems, our ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan being one among those privileged disciples.

Alok Sagar

Alok sagar lives in Kochamu, a remote village in Madhya Pradesh with 750 tribal villagers. A village that is yet to experience the marvel of technology, a village that exists without electricity and proper roads and which has only one primary school. From the past 35 years, he has been working for people of Betul and Hoshangabad districts of Madhya Pradesh. He distributes seeds and encourages them for tree plantation. Alok has planted more than 50,000 trees in the region. The professor believes people could better serve the country by staying connected with the grass-roots level. Development in grass-roots level brings bigger impacts. In an interview with a leading news paper Hindustan Times, Alok Sagar Said, “In India, people are facing so many problems, but people are busy proving their intelligence by showing their degrees rather than serving people”. He is also involved with tribal welfare through Shramik Adivasi Sangathan.

The professor had been maintaining his low profile status, until the last election’s campaigns in Betul. The local authority of the district had grown suspicious about him and asked Alok Sagar to leave the place, due to which he decided to reveal his identity and his keen interest in serving for the betterment of the region. The ex-IIT professor belongs to Patparganj, Delhi. His father was an IRS officer and mother was a physics teacher in Miranda House, Delhi University. His brother is also a professor in IIT Delhi.

The dedication Alok Sagar shows to his cause is really laudable. He even learnt the particular tribal dialect to commune with them. Besides, he knows many other languages. Three pairs of kurtas and a bicycle that he uses to collect and distribute seeds are his only material possessions.

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