The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others
VIKRANT NAGAICH - A person who chased his dreams and lived life on his terms
Acutely aware of the privileges life had bestowed on him Vikrant Nagaich, a twenty two year, never abused his position and was for ever ready to standup for those who could not stand up for their own rights. He was an active proponent of Minimalism in life. So very often Vikrant could be found doing things to help and cheer up others who were in difficulty or feeling down .
Born on September 30, 1995 to Dr ( Mrs )Neetu Nagaich and Col. Jayant Kumarat Mhow MP in India, Vikrant was an exceptional soul. He started his life as most happy children would, getting into his fair share of trouble, loved as much by all those he came in contact with and countless strangers he managed to put a smile on the faces simply by his infectious and ever-present grin. Being the only child, his parents put in all their effort in raising him. At the age of 7 he travelled to the United States and visited Mickey Mouse in the Disney Land. His unconditional love for his parents, and theirs in return was unquestioned.Something that helped him feel cared for throughout his life.
Progress through school was quick and fast paced. He studied ina slew of public schools at different places where his father was posted. On a typical day when his mother gave him a meal for eating at school that was very large which he could not finish he would on his return from school with the unfinished food stop by enroute to the house and feed his leftover Lunch to the neighbor hood stray cat. He loved sports and basket ball was a favourite.
He would return to the States at age 13 – all by himself. This spirit of adventure and daring would only grow in the years that followed. Academically, Vikrant excelled beyond the hopes of most parents. Despite being involved in extra-curricular activities of all kinds Vikrant placed 94 % aggregate in the science stream in High School (Delhi Public School) where he shared learning with extraordinarily bright young souls devoted solely to the pursuit of education, an amazing feat in a land of the second largest as well as the youngest population in the world. Handpicked to be School Captain he declined as he wanted to remain firmly in the camp of the student body to voice his opinion against excesses to the authority. An opportunity which he felt he would have to loose if he undertook the position of School Captain and instead agreed to be the House Captain for Tulips, this was the Hallmark of a wise and self righteous born leader Vikrant Nagaich in short For you
After graduating High School Vikrant was unsure of what he wanted to pursue post-secondary education, and so, against the advice of all adults, he took a year off to find himself. In that year in June 2013 there was a tragic cloudburst during the peak of the pilgrimage season and the and flash flood tragedy that ravaged the countryside in the state of Uttaranchal left the nation numbed. The floods took a heavy toll on the population, with thousands losing their lives and countless more being displaced. Getting the displaced supplies and sustenance was a nightmarish logistical challenge because of the many landslides that made the landscape impassable with lots of roads washed away. Vikrant wanted to be part of the small band of courageous people who did more than gawk at the horrific images that were plastered all over the television screens. Vikrant managed to team up with a band of NGOs andworked with the NGO M/s Goonj in trying to bring supplies to the disaster zone. He travelled days in trucks on barely passable roads, narrowly survived a major landslide himself and saw horror that is unfathomable to most (bodies partially buried and humanity in remote locations trying to re-piece their lives after all is lost). Vikrant lived over a month reaching out to those many of who would surely have not managed to survive without outside assistance. He worked with local Hospitals in Mussourie reaching out with consignments of medicines to areas where they were needed most.
He pursued other causes locally in the Lucknow and New Delhi areas, where he resided and alsotook time to explore his professional future. He competed for a seat in many different fields, engineering, armed forces, business management, law and more. As part of the process he managed to get himself admitted to the Indian Institute of Technology (an institution his father attempted to unsuccessfully gain entrance to, and less than 1% of applicants are privileged to be granted admission, to the Air Force Academy where he qualified to train for flying fighter jets and the top law school (National Law College in Jodhpur, India.)
Some of the words that have been used to describe Vikrant consistently have been intelligent, driven, inherently moral, full of integrity, full of purpose and full of himself. A harbinger of happiness and goodness. Vikrant was often seen to care about everyone in the world at the same time before he cared about himself. In Mumbai he met some street children begging for food and when Vikrant with his friends stopped to eat at a Roadside eatery he first bought a snack for the lonely child begging and then ended up eating one for himself. He was seen standing up for people when they couldn’t do so for themselves. He would sit down with a random batchmate sitting alone at a table and cheer them up, simply because the said person looked lonely and sad.
With a burning desire to use his position of relative privilege to make a major impact on humanity, Vikrant settled to start law school. He was admitted in 2014. As a student, he wasted no time to make a mark in the school. He made an immediate impression on the seniors at the law school who in turn immediately took him under their wings and opened doors that would only be available to the best and brightest, among them was a band that would help him revitalize an almost shuttered Legal Aid program at the school. The program which had been languishing for lack of interest and lack of funding.
Normally, the program would be available to only those in their third or later years, but not for Vikrant who not only got involved with the program but became a leader to instigate a revival of this. He often used to speak passionately of the injustice being done to juveniles whose parents were not competent or not available to look after them.
He also associated himself with the National Alliance for Peoples Movement and worked with MsMedhaPatkhar and her team for a short while trying to get the homeless and slum dwellers their right to housing. He researched and wrote for the oppression being heaved on the slum dwellers ( The Sabha.org published his views ) He was immensely moved by the illicit liquor tragedy at Malwani Maharashtra and he actively fought for getting the cause of the victims heard in June of 2015. He did amazing things with the program, including reaching out to the authorities to restore funding and then finding himself travelling to distant lands, including Chattisgarh where the government forces were wreaking havoc on the local population in the name of security (local population being more aligned with the communist party).He even took off from the Campus for a few weeks to work under the tutelage of Jean Dreze in Chattisgarh where he spent time at Jobhipat Govt Residential School in to teach the students their syllabus for the forthcoming Class ten Exams while Working under Jean Dreeze’s guidance on the PDS loopholes. Vikrant gave voice to these oppressed, managing to invite two locals who had never travelled out of the region to his home in New Delhi. And then he committed to funding the college education of both these students, not by having his parents cover the cost, but by using any money he earned as an intern.
If that was not amazing, Vikrant, an avid consumer of coca cola products in his earlier days, read about the deplorable conditions the company created for its South American workers to work in and managed to create a boycott of the product by students in his college. All the while leading the pack in academics.
When on summer break, Vikrant would find it impossible just to while his time away, instead he interred in places most students would not even know would be possible to entertain – a summer working at the United Nations offices in New Delhi working on law for Environment Conservation (during his time with the United Nations and the work he did with Sanjay Upadhayay, he worked towards the conservation of environment on various fronts.); a Winter break as an Intern at the Embassy of the Republic of Netherlands working on working on bringing visibility to the cause ofTransgeners and their rights as well as the lost nation of Tibet among various embassies (among other projects). All in preparation to better understand the world of the oppressed to understand and prepare on how he could and would find a way to ease the way for those ignored or written off by most.
Among the last programs he was working on was helping some of the local prosecution Lawyers build a case against a local mob engaged in the trade of illicit liquor. It is thought that he became the victim of foul play at the hands of this or allied local group of criminals dealing in Contraband substances and drugs though this is no confirmation of how he actually met his end. Vikrant’s remains were found in the open ground next to railroad tracks close to the college thenext day of his birthday on the Hindu calendar (August 14). He would have turned 22 on September 30th2017.
A memorial was held with a huge outpouring from his family, friends and many fans. He had managed to become a towering figure and achieve more in his 22 years than most would in a lifetime. A life cut too short. Though he will be missed by all who knew him, he will be forgotten by none.
A twenty-one year old with a conscience, Vikrant, was a socialist at heart and was involved in work ranging from pushing for housing rights of slum-dwellers in Mumbai to fighting for the dignity and rights of the labour class in Bangalore. Strongly affected by the plight of the LGBT and tribal communities in our country, he worked fervently to raise their standard of living in the society while with the Dutch Embassy. As a intern with the Delhi Govt’s Thinktank Organisation“ The Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi” he worked help bring out a revised law by the NGT and assisted in drafting the Good Samaritan and Bystanderlaw.
An individual with foresight, he was respected and admired by his peers for his constant dedication to help those who could not help themselves. He was also an active advocate for students’ welfare. An avid debater and mooter, Vikrant was also a theatre enthusiast. Vikrant lives on in hearts of the people who met him as a reliable, honest and strong person and these are the endearing characteristics that should live on as the memory of a man far ahead of his time.
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