Never shying away from lending a helping hand, always teaching a lesson of “humanity first” to the world, is Dhruv Jatti, a student of Jindal School of International Affairs and a corona warrior fighting for justice during the migrant crisis brought on by the global pandemic.
Growing up in Bangalore, Karnataka, Dhruv has always fostered the feeling of unity. “In our language, we call it ‘namma Bengaluru’, which means ‘our Bangalore’, a sentence that is used to create a sense of unity amongst people of the city,” he says with a smile.
Right through childhood, Dhruv was surrounded by thoughts that the interest of the nation was to be given priority. Brought up in a family that has served the nation for decades, his innate motivation to fulfil the needs of society is inspired by former Vice President of India, Shri. B.D. Jatti—his great grandfather. The idea of public service seems to course proudly through his very blood.
So when Dhruv’s chance arrived to serve the nation, there he was with his friends, offering food and shelter to migrant workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The migrant crisis of 2020 is a story that allowed me to understand the deep humanitarian crisis that our nation faced. Ever since the country went into a miscalculated lockdown in March, the ones who’ve built it brick by brick have had to face the consequences. It was extremely disheartening to know that crores of people have lost their jobs and have no homes to go to,” says Dhruv.
It started with a group of four friends, who initially decided to serve food. Soon the number of people coming forward to support them swelled with each passing day, allowing them to scale their operations. All unified with the same purpose—offer food to those in need, be their support in these tough times. Diligently, the young humanitarians continued. Even before Dhruv and his friends realised, over 85,000 migrants had been sheltered, fed and taken care of.
The group provided refreshment packets, rolling water in government registration camps, buttermilk, bananas for breakfast, dinner at a migrant shelter, sanitary napkins and most importantly monetary support for daily wagers to ferry themselves back home.
The migrant crisis brought together over 2,000 students within the city to form the Bangalore Student Community. The organisation mainly focuses on how students can help society. The network they have been able to build has been very helpful, remarks Dhruv.
“When the Covid-19 situation began to deteriorate in the city, we read articles about how there is a huge shortage of beds. I was able to get in touch with the authorities and they explained that they were renting beds. We realised it was costly for the state government and we needed to step in as responsible citizens.
Within seven days a crowd-fundraising team was set up and over Rs.3.8 lakh was raised—an amount enough to sow the seeds of serving thousands of those in need. The team was able to buy 536 mattresses and set it up themselves in the Covid-19 care centres.
Within a fortnight, well over a thousand people benefitted from their initiative.
“The community that now exists is capable of doing wonders. I wish, one day, we have such a commune in every city!” hopes Dhruv.
“We began to realise how the voice of students in Bangalore while compared to other cities like Delhi, Mumbai is oppressed to a large extent because of how colleges here do not allow student bodies to operate freely.
We intervene when students require our help since our networking is broad with government officials and almost every college management in the city is easily accessible to us, this way we can amicably solve issues for students. The reason as to why we remain an important stakeholder in the city is because ABVP and NSUI are the other two organisations that voice student problems, however, due to their political affiliations not many students are willing to seek their help. The city required an organisation that purely works for the common student and as well as for society and that’s what we are here for,” explains Dhruv.
Apart from being of service to the society, Dhruv writes speeches for Karnataka State leaders of the Indian National Congress. “I enjoy exhibiting my skills to my full potential. This allows me to grow as an individual and get more insight as to how organisations function. Over a while, I’ve learnt that it’s important to motivate youngsters of the nation. We need to contribute to the system as much as we can so that we get accustomed to it at an early age,” says the young change-maker.
Dhruv is thankful to his source of inspiration to be the voice for the students—Dean of Jindal School of International Affairs, Prof. (Dr.) Sreeram Sundar Chaulia. Dhruv is currently pursuing his final year of the B.A. (Hons.) in Global Affairs programme at JSIA.
Filled with gratitude and pride for his university, Dhruv says, “I take a lot of inspiration from Prof. Chaulia while representing my community on national media discussions and debates. The platform our college gives all students are unique and one of its kind and I have no doubt that more students from JGU would be inclined to serves the society, for we, in a global institution imbibe a borderless thought of service Illimitable by geography, colour, caste, or creed. We will time and again remind the world that no matter the adversity, humanitarianism exists and the students of India can do wonders if they work collectively.”