“An increase in problems raised the alcohol consumption in our village. Back in 7th standard my friend and I decided to write a letter to a few alcohol producers. Believe me, the letter was filled with frustration and anger. We requested them and threatened them to stop production. At least realizing a letter was not the solution to the problem. I come from a small village in Telangana. I come from a corner where people are not aware of their rights. For the longest time, they’ve been easy prey to injustice.
I belong to a lower-middle-class family. My father worked in Surat for forty years as a weaver. While he was earning for the family away from home, my mother was the pillar of support back home. I’ve seen the financial struggle my parents have gone through. This also brought me an inch closer to the problems my village had undergone. I’ve always wanted to help the ones in need. I realized, being aware of your rights is the strongest weapon for justice. One such incident happened when the Right to Information Act was passed in 2015. We did not have a proper bus stop in our village. It was difficult for the students to attend their schools and colleges. I began questioning the higher officials under the RTI Act about the issue. I then visited Bus Bhavan in Hyderabad. After numerous strikes and arguments, we now have our bus stop and a bus that passes through our village.
In 2009, I moved to Hyderabad to pursue an integrated degree in Chemistry at Nizam College. Those were the heated days of the Telangana Movement. Thousands of student unions came under one umbrella and fought for an independent Telangana. I remember we were at the peak of the agitation. There were days when I along with a few other union members were taken to jail too. Our education was sidetracked. But however tough the battles were, we fought. We fought until the end.
While the agitations happened, a lot of classes were canceled. This allowed me to get in touch with various NGOs. I began attending their meetings and understanding their true purpose. This is when I came across O.Y.S.T.E.R (Organisation by Youth for Social Transformation And Environmental Recoup).
It was an NGO formed by one of the seniors. I joined the organization as a volunteer in 2009. Later in 2013, I was elected as the State President and now I am the CEO. As an organization, we aim to mobilize the unseen efforts and strength of many citizens and work toward Community Development.
The path that I chose for myself brought me close to the problems and also to the solutions. I believe in the present times, social service has become a subject that is taught in a classroom. No, it should not be treated as part of your curriculum, but as an integral part of you.”