Technology strengthens connectivity and connectivity spreads progress. In that scope the technology can go a long way in transforming any society. In order to highlight the role of technology in transforming the society the Falcon is starting a new series called “Technology and Society” where we will publish the interviews and real life stories on how Technology can change the society.
In our first interview we are pleased to present a strong social entrpreneur of India Mr. Amit Choubey,and would present his life history from being born in a village of Bihar to joining the most prestigious IT company of London and taking a risk of voluntarily resigning from his job during the economical recession of 2007-8 just to pursue his social dreams. See how he uses technology for his social pursuits:
Please tell about your life, schooling and career journey.
My journey started from one of the remote area of East Champaran, Nawada-
Govindganj Panchayat of Areraj Block in Bihar. My schooling started with Govt Primary school, Ramnagar, West Champaran, where my father was a teacher too. Post Primary education it was Zila school, Motihari and then M S College for 12th/I.Sc. I was always an average student so I didn’t crack the IIT Entrance examination. AIEEE provided avenue to study at Dr. MGR Deemed University, Chennai for B.Tech ( Electronics & Communication Engineering), Presented more than 10 research papers in Jordan, China, Internship for Chip designing at Beijing, China, Newport spectra physics award by SPIE,USA, Scholarship by international optical society, USA, then one year job with Keane India Pvt Ltd now it is NTT data networks Pvt ltd in Bangalore-Chennai,
MA Governance & Development at the world’s no 1 development school“ IDS-Univ of Sussex, UK. Returned to India and started working over governance failure (which happen to be the acute issue of governments) by founded an organization Sanmat & FDS with Nitesh, Abhinav, Abhishek, Vikash, and Mukesh.
Through a user’s statement on an online professional network, I came to know you were in working for one of the top software company in the UK. During the economic crisis when people were desperate to save their jobs, you voluntarily resigned… possibly for starting your enterprise. Could you elaborate? Are you a born entrepreneur or acquired the skills later in your life.
Yes, I was working with one among top league organizations and the economic crisis made me think about insecurities of the people towards maintaining their comfort zones and happily be part of the skilled Indian IT labor pool. Since it was MNC and most of the people were not even daring to think about losing a job. It was one of the obvious reasons which cemented my thoughts to start an organization and work for the welfare of masses, not just having a good job for myself and being part of the pool of IT labors. I don’t know I am a born entrepreneur or not but I feel I am a good leader and always lead by example from the front. I never bow down to challenges. My first venture was IT Company Gazer InfoTech Pvt Ltd in Chennai during my 3rd year of UG study.
You were born in a middle-class family but rose to such a high position. What kept you motivated?
The only motivation which keeps me going & fuelling is “More to achieve” and
“History will remember you “
You seem to be highly (and positively) active on digital mediums as well. What is the role played by technology in your personal and professional progress?
Technology played a very important role and it has given me strong tools to address
Governance failures through E-governance. Many of my policy advocacy drives stood success due to it. Successful piloting for RTE-12-c in Patna was successful is the recent example of ICT.
You possess a good list of degrees like B.Tech, M.A, LLB, and others from both Indian and foreign universities. It seems that you care a lot about education. But as a thought leader advocating equal rights, do you also think that education (in modern society) also creates a difference? What could be the best remedy for this and how can technology be used to bridge the gap.
I believe there is no substitute for good knowledge. It can be earned either by academic study or by practice and by both. I feel technology can be the best tool for knowledge transfer. People who are ahead on the ladder of success can transfer knowledge through the webinar, problem-solving tools lectures and also through youtube & other social media platforms. I guess practical knowledge sharing without any additive or spicy ingredient will help start-ups & other entrepreneurs.
You have been placed among the top 100 social entrepreneurs of the nation. What is the real definition of social entrepreneurship and what are the best qualities of social entrepreneurs that distinguish them from a general businessman…in your opinion.
In my view, social entrepreneurship arises due to the need of the society/community, commoner and it addresses new or long exiting social issues. It is not just meant to earn only revenue but addressing social & societal developmental issues. Social entrepreneurs consider society on 1st priority whereas business/income comes later. Social entrepreneurs focus more on sharing of resources & participation of people.
How were you able to develop such exemplary leadership traits so early in life? Was it the influence of overseas education or were there specific events that encouraged you to play the leader’s role?
It does not impact overseas education but it is due to a series of events of my journey. Not getting selected for IIT-Jee, Not performing well in student body election at Dr. MGR Educational & Research Institute, Chennai, Faced ignored the behavior of society updated versions of my personality. Mentorship of my school teachers, Professors of Engineering college, Leading class as class representative, winning student body election in UK, Winning Court case against UKBA (United Kingdom Boarder Agency, Govt. of UK) , where I only presented my case without hiring an advocate and worldwide appreciations for my small achievements have developed leadership traits. I am sure I will have many more traits in coming days.
How difficult or easy was it for you to earn the title of Student President for Institute of Development studies UK? What traits and which people/mentors would you like to extend your thanks to?
It was really difficult for me to win but I opted for developing consensus among students and student leaders of different cultures & nationalities. It was really hard to win their trust and assure them that I will take care of your interest as a global student leader and finally, my entire opponent withdrew their nomination and I was elected unanimously but for my class representative election, I secured the win with 90% votes.
Please tell us something about your experience of the weekly tower market in Lewes Town for small farmers and how did it help those farmers?
During my course, I was supposed to do one project. So I requested for doing a real-time project. As I was aware of issues of small farmers of Lewes Town due to the opening of supermarket TESCO/Sainsbury because theses supermarkets used to sell vegetables even lower than the production cost of small farmers.
So I along with my Japanese classmate Ms. Hiroko Nakamura planned for thematic weekly market at oldest Tower in the town in association with a team of Transition Town Lewes and it gathered huge response and was a very successful intervention. I received a lot of love & respect from farmers.
To be frank, it takes courage to participate in a protest while studying in a foreign university as it could affect one’s career negatively. What motivated you to lead the campaign against Tesco when they wanted to open a store in Lewes Town.
My rural upbringing and sense to feel the immense pain of poor small farmers provoked me to raise voice to protect the rights of marginalized communities and stand by them in every situation. It never matters to me that it’s India, UK or anywhere else. So when I came across such issues of farmers, they couldn’t stop my self from joining them and tell you very frankly, I never thought that I am not in my country so I should protect myself.
Thank you for your precious time and attention is there any message that you would like to give our young readers?
If Sky is your limit then why to worry about clouds because they are part of the sky so don’t let down even if you happen to be surrounded by darkest & most dense clouds, just be with your believe and remember “clouds exist for short span of time”.