Alok Sagar, a former professor at IIT Delhi, who made the bold decision in 1982 to abandon his lucrative job and dedicate himself to serving tribals, empowering women, and immersing himself in nature.
Last Updated: October 27, 2023
Prof Alok Sagar is an extraordinary individual known for his unwavering commitment to serving tribal communities, empowering women, and advocating for environmental conservation. Born in India, he initially pursued a path of academic excellence, earning graduate and master’s degrees from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. He furthered his academic journey by obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in Texas, USA, and even had the honor of teaching notable figures like Raghuram Rajan, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
Despite his impressive academic achievements and promising career prospects, Prof Alok Sagar embarked on a remarkable journey that would define his life’s purpose. In 1982, he made a bold decision to leave his lucrative job and dedicate himself to the welfare of tribal communities in some of the most remote areas of Madhya Pradesh.
For the past 34 years (as of 2016), Prof Alok Sagar has been residing in Kochamu, a remote village in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. This area lacks basic amenities like electricity and roads, but it is home to 750 tribal residents. Prof Sagar wholeheartedly embraced their way of life, going as far as learning their local dialect to communicate effectively. His linguistic prowess extends to proficiency in 78 different languages, a skill that allows him to bridge cultural gaps and connect deeply with the communities he serves.
One of the most striking aspects of Prof Alok Sagar’s life is his commitment to environmental conservation. He has planted over 50,000 trees in tribal areas, emphasizing the importance of preserving nature. Regularly traveling 60 kilometers to distribute seeds to neighboring villages, he actively engages in rural development work, promoting sustainability and green practices.
Prof Alok Sagar’s dedication to his cause is evident not only in his actions but also in his lifestyle choices. Despite owning properties worth crores in Delhi, he sacrificed personal comfort and material wealth for the betterment of the tribals. He lives in a humble grass-thatched hut, owns just three kurtas, and relies on a bicycle for transportation to minimize his environmental footprint.
Throughout his decades of service, Prof Alok Sagar’s work remained largely unknown to the wider world. He was a silent force for the rights and well-being of tribal communities, and it wasn’t until a by-election when the Betul district administrator asked him to leave the area for security reasons that his true identity was revealed. This revelation stunned everyone, as they discovered the remarkable individual who had been silently working among them.
In conclusion, Prof Alok Sagar’s life story is a testament to the power of selfless dedication to a cause. He chose to forgo personal success and comfort to uplift tribal communities, protect the environment, and advocate for social justice. His simple lifestyle, profound linguistic abilities, and tireless efforts have made him an inspiring figure, demonstrating that true change begins at the grassroots level.