“Parivartan wins, it wins once again,” the text message reads. It is from one of our coaches in ICRW’s Parivartan program.
I was stunned to receive such a message early in the morning. My surprise eventually led to curiosity and I couldn’t resist calling the coach immediately. Barely able to conceal my excitement, the moment he picked up the phone, I said, “what happened?”
I am sure the coach was quite taken aback by my sudden call, and perhaps unsure of what to say. “Hello madam,” he said, almost in a whisper. “We won again.”
His soft voice then turned emotional. “My team won the tournament,” he said, “and all this is because of Parivartan lessons.”
Now I was taken aback. Not knowing what else to say, I mumbled, “thank you, sir,” and hung up. His name is Nagesh Thakur.
I still remember when we launched Parivartan last year in Mumbai. The program draws in boys and young men through the popular sport of cricket to teach them to see women and girls as their equals, and treat them with respect. I spent months contacting different coaches to urge them to join the initiative. Nagesh was one of the first coaches I approached – he had been recommended by the Mumbai School Sports Association as one of the most experienced coaches at the school level. He also was one of the first to join Parivartan.
I remember my initial discussion with him where I, along with other colleagues, introduced the program and urged him to get involved. We spoke about why we wanted to work with the sports system and cricket coaches in particular. Nagesh listened to us patiently, and I think his attitude can be summed up in something he said to us then: “For me, cricket and my boys are everything.” This inspired me immensely, and I immediately shared with my team that this is exactly the kind of attitude and spirit we were looking for and that whatever it took, we had to get him on board.
To this day, Nagesh’s name brings lots of joy and hope for Parivartan. He is one of our core coaches who not only went through the entire training program but also took it upon himself to spread Parivartan’s messages about non-violence, equality and respect throughout the school and sports community. He fervently believes that the principles of Parivartan can be applied everywhere.
When I see and talk to him I feel that Parivartan indeed lives up to its name. “Parivartan” – the word literally means “change.” And I can now see that it has made an impact. People like Nagesh are the biggest inspiration and achievement of the Parivartan program. Having a mentor and coach like him is a blessing for our young generation to prosper. He is a true role model and ambassador of Parivartan.
Change for the better, it is.