The 1970s is a romantic bygone era for those born and raised in this Internet age. It is perhaps unthinkable that there was a time when email (or face book!) did not exist and India was still an insulated economy and things foreign always meant better and invoked envy.
Anil Rajvanshi is a
scientist and researcher at the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute. A
mechanical engineer by profession, he graduated from IIT Kanpur and got his
Ph.D from the University of Florida in the United States.
The 1970s was a time when people fell over themselves to emigrate from the country, looking to foreign shores for careers and a livelihood that was not possible in a license-Raj bound India. It was in this period that Anil traveled to the USA starting a very promising doctoral program in the University of Florida. He not only enjoyed the academics, but also enjoyed the living there, traveled widely, found his wife and soul mate in the campus and was all set to establish a brilliant career in the United States that would be the dream of many.
So it is very strange that Anil abruptly called it all off, packed his bags and returned home to India with his wife to set up a research center in a small town in Maharashtra. That he decided to go against the tide of those times by returning to India, speaks of his idealistic nature and courage to experiment with the new and unknown, and of course, his faith in himself.
In his book, he discusses his decision and simply puts it that he felt he had to give back to society. In India, he chose rural Maharashtra to settle down and establish and take into prominence the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute, focused on the rural economy and sustainable rural development.
In the book '1970s America', he writes with honesty: "My decision to come back to rural Maharashtra was never dictated by the altruistic desire of helping India but was due to the selfish reason of doing something meaningful with my life." This is the theme that runs through his book on a student's journey through America. He writes from his heart about the life of a student in America in those times and how much he enjoyed the country and the studies in that country. Anyone who has visited or lived in the US, especially students, will enjoy and relate to his intensely personal account of life in university and his travels around the country. In the end, despite the enjoyment of living in America and the opulence and opportunities offered by that country, there was this tugging of the heart strings to return to India.
He concludes his book on his student life in America with the following: "I have always believed that the purpose of human beings is to first become happy and self-contented and then to give back to society. Coming back to India has helped me to do both these things. As I have internally become more secure, my contentment has also increased.... To a lot of people I may have been a failure when after so much promise in the US, I left everything to come back to rural India, but I use a measure of my contentment and find that I have not done that badly...."
The story of one individual's life journey and choices, this book represents an opportunity to go back to one's own past and contemplate the choices we each made as we lived our lives.
Anil is a prolific writer as is demonstrated by the enormous number of technical papers that he has written and which are showcased on the NARI website. His writings go beyond the realm of the technical. His earlier book is titled "Nature of Human Thought" and is a treatise on the subject of thought, its origins and structure and a scientific explanation of how thoughts occur and how they can be focused. Combining ancient yogic wisdom with modern scientific theory, it is a sophisticated attempt to explain an everyday miracle of human existence.
You can find and buy Anil Rajvanshi's published books here, from our Ekkitab Collection.True to his nature, and exemplifying his life's purpose, all profits from his published books will be spent on the charitable cause of setting up a Centre for Sustainable Development at his Research Centre.