My name is Milind Thatte. I was a working journalist with a Mumbai-based Marathi
newspaper. While leading a "normal" routine Mumbai life, with usual
professional thrills (journalistic whimsies)… I came across something
entirely different. I visited Jharkhand's tribal areas as a member of a
study group in 1998. Apart from my professional tasks, I also visited non-
formal one-teacher schools (Ekal Vidyalayas) in some remote tribal villages.
After a year of fighting with myself, I decided to quit my job, my home, my
safe life and took on a mission for education of tribal children. I joined
Ekal Vidyalaya Movement as a full-time voluntary worker. Though considered
whimsical by the society (for quitting a "secure" job and home), my family
supported this venture. In fact, my parents and grandparents have given me
"selfless service" as a heritage. No big deal that I quit a "normal" life.
Apparently, my task was to train young workers and teachers of Ekal schools
in Maharashtra, but in fact, I learnt a lot about my country and millions of
my forgotten countrymen. I became "milindada" for at least a hundred of
tribal youth and children. And I was fortunate to become a son of hundreds
of tribal mothers and fathers. I spoke their language, I lived their huts, I
ate their meeth-bhakar (salt and bread). I laughed with them and I wept with
them. They showered tremendous love on me. So much that I am indebted for
this life. I can't call them tribal or adivasi or vanvasi any more… they are
simply "my people".
I returned home after three years of voluntary service in
For last year and half, i have tried to help some young NRIs to lead a Seva-oriented life in India. Now I am somewhat back to my freelance-writer's life...
Finally, I would like to mention (if not thank), my jaani-friend
for his consistent persuasion and support, without which this webpage was
Thank you all. May your good wishes help me endure.