Visit to the Zenrainman’s House

[Editor’s Note: The purpose of this blog post is to acknowledge that water is a burning issue of the present. It requires the involvement and collaboration of governments, NGOs, companies, and citizens in crafting the right policies, innovating in water/sanitation infrastructure and, perhaps most importantly, effect behavior changes by citizens (homeowners and apartment dwellers). I …

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Katuri’s Question

It’s almost a year since we purchased the Reva as our second car. The borderline-giddy post Hum do humare do…bina exhaust ke on my personal blog records that event. Recently I crossed the 3000km mark and the quick math is that, on average, I drove 10k in the Reva everyday. This is not a lot …

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Grassroutes: A New Model for Rural Tourism

[Editor’s Note: Last week I had an engaging phone conversation with Inir Pinheiro, co-founder of Grassroutes, an innovative rural tourism social enterprise which aims to unveil the hidden India by connecting urban India to rural communities. This post draws extensively from our phone conversation, follow-up email exchanges, and related research.] Try Googling “India village tourism” …

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The various connotations and implications of BOP (Bottom of Pyramid)

India has a formidable chunk of its population at the Bottom of Pyramid (BOP), the poorest socio-economic group. Ever since BoP was defined by Professors C.K. Prahalad (University of Michigan) and Stuart Hart (Cornell University), and subsequently detailed in their respective books, a slew of healthy debates have raged: Is there really ‘fortune’ at the …

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Primer on Micro Financing Institutions (MFI)

When the idea for this blog was still in an early stage and I was socializing it with close friends, I was frequently asked about which “verticals” of social enterprises I’d be focusing on. My answers ranged from “Don’t know yet” to “Will start in a breadth-wise fashion and then home in on verticals later”. …

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Why India needs to give more love to off-grid power

The vote garnering slogan for leading political parties in the 1960s and 1970s used to be roti, kapada, makaan (food, clothing, shelter). In the past decade or so, the slogan has been replaced with bijli, sadak, pani (electricity, roads, water). At a felicitation ceremony last year, Nandan Nilekani commented that even the latter slogan is …

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The broad “canvas” for this blog

The tagline for this blog reads confluence of social startups & civil organizations in India. Before I outline what this blog will be about, it behooves one to define some relevant terms. At the risk of sounding redundant, I’ve included definitions from multiple sources. Social enterprises (broad definition): Social enterprises are social mission driven organizations …

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Evolution of the Human Race

If you were to drop into a bookstore or a library looking for an Arthur C. Clarke book, you’d quickly be directed to the Science Fiction area. There is however one of his works that’s worthy of also being categorized under Philosophy. Childhood’s End, published in 1954, is the work I’m referring to. The story …

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