We often come across scenarios wherein parental pressure; students follow a study line which often ends them up at good career paths, but only good in monetary terms. The personal choice of the young mind is often kept aside by their guardians, while deciding a secure future for them. And most of the times, the poor kid ends up earning well while killing his or her inner self which had been passionate about something else. Something like this is this case of 29 yrs old Sandeep Viswanath, who quit his well paying IT job to pursue his passion for photography and opted to work with tribal kids. This story is about a guy who set an example to the youth that one doesn't have to follow the Orthodox career for a goof living. The consideration of one's passion while making life changing decisions is hugely applauded. After graduating with an Engineering degree from Bangalore in 2007, Viswanath worked as an IT Consultant for two years and later joined Born-free Art School for two years as a tutor, and a film-maker. He did not want to restrict himself to Bangalore since he wanted to explore around like a free soul, he had bigger dreams. His Dreams include bringing a change in the lives of people across India and to travel the world and explore more through his camera. According to him, Art is really an ultimate source of enlightenment.
“I strongly believe that the practice of Arts should not be divorced from the socio-political realities of our society and have attempted to practice my craft in this manner. I decided to quit and devote my energies to the pursuit of film-making. The experience of working with rag-pickers and street children molded my perspective of the caste and class dynamics in our society,” Viswanath says.
And as his moves included, to work for the society, this creative mind constructed a pinhole camera which could be made by anyone easily without inferring much effort and cost. As he said, “There are many students who can’t afford equipment like a camera. This is an easy solution for that. Anyone can make this”.
And his journey had been marvelous while working for his passion-driven skills; he managed to prepare five documentaries with the tribal students in various languages. He can value the process of learning, he said, “It is a learning process. I learned Marathi while working with these children”. Furthermore, his broad concepts on learning are really thought to provoke, as he explained, “It is the attitude of learning that matters. I just want to trigger that attitude among children. Learning should start today”.
The best thing could be to work positively with the consent of your inner self and after leaving the IT job and exploring many ways, Vishwanath landed up to his desired space. He joined Agastya Foundation in Kuppam as Senior Program Manager in Media and Arts department where he teaches children to make various short films and also the science behind the camera. His work includes documentaries on NREGA later used as an awareness tool for workers, and on the water woes of Bangalore later screened at the Voices of Water International film festival.
The bigger challenge for him while working with the tribal children had been convincing the youngsters and their families. Since, his liberal thoughts about learning, as a process, had been really different from the conceptualized classroom concepts. “The children in tribal schools aren’t used to a teacher who comes to a class with a camera and doesn’t use a blackboard and a book to teach,” he says.
While discussing his future plans, he provided a vivid picture, though his utter determination was assured about something, “You will be seeing at least 30 of these out in the next six months,” he says.
Such people with inner strength and courage are the ones required for changing the face of our country. Hopefully, he inspires our youngsters as they are the building blocks of our nation ahead.