The youth leader is the one who manages to mobilize young men

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It is well said that leadership is “the art of influencing people”, and not everyone can easily influence people. It is only this handful of people who have this talent. Gaurav Bakchi “The Youth Leader” is one of them. He is an emerging citizen rights leader and actor who was also the co-founding member of the historic anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. He is the founder of HelpdesQ. In an interview with The Statesman correspondent Shweta Kumari, he shared his journey and experiences, he spoke vividly about his views related to cinema. Excerpts:

1. What was the idea behind HelpdesQ’s research?

The old ways of profiting from government services and seeking legal solutions were riddled with bribes, made opaque by intermediaries and agents, and a very frustrating and harassing experience for citizens and businesses.

There was a time when citizens were frustrated by countless dealings with government departments for small aspects of life and exhausted by complex interactions when managing property and various governance issues. Super tedious legal follow-ups, opaque processes and uncontrollable systems added heartache.

A few of us lived out of the country or had to travel frequently or just couldn’t afford to make time. This made it difficult to manage or troubleshoot situations. After incurring huge costs juggling work delays, we finally analyzed the flaws. It was then that we realized our know-how to plan, negotiate and manage resources in legal and administrative work. It is now our expertise that you can put at your disposal.

HelpdesQ.in was launched to enable citizens and businesses to access government services without corruption and to facilitate access to typically complex legal, tax and compliance services across our government and court systems. We have analyzed the flaws and realized our know-how to plan, negotiate and manage resources for legal and administrative work. It is now our expertise that you can make available to everyone.

HelpdesQ.in is now incorporated as a legal startup and well-known brand in Goa having served over 500 clients including startups like 91 Springboard, Oyo Wedding, MSMEs, NGOs and others.

2. What inspired you to become an anti-corruption activist?

Then an NRI, I returned to India from the United States in 2010 and realized how widespread, realized and deeply rooted corruption was in all sections of society. One of the peaceful protest marches held in Noida to expose corruption within the Noida Authority on January 15, 2011 resulted in my unlawful arrest, along with the RTI activist and current Chief Minister of Delhi , Arvind Kejriwal and others.

This attracted media attention, including receiving the CNN-IBN Citizen Journalist Award and triggering HelpdesQ. Along with Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and others, we became founding members of the historic India Against Corruption movement and I was widely seen in the media as one of the young faces of Team Anna and on the ground leading protests.

3. Tell us about your family background and your beginnings? (What in particular contributed to making you who you are today?)

My father was in the Indian Air Force and growing up in the forces environment was a matter of pride. Being straight and honest was a natural way of growing up. This environment provided the first foundations.

Later, I was deeply influenced by an uncle who was a pioneer in the Indian IT industry who had decided that I would pursue a career in the corporate sector, and “planned” towards this future from the age of 14. years. This planning led to trying to find the necessary education funds in the United States, and I traveled to Germany and Switzerland instead, in an effort to gain international exposure and save on these opportunities, for the future move to the United States.

After a brief stint at GE Capital in Gurgaon, I moved to the US for an MBA and spent a few years in the US corporate sector, before finally returning to India. The return to India was influenced by my time with the Isha Foundation in the United States, as a volunteer.

4. Give a brief overview of your acting career (how and when did it start)?

My mother’s cousin, Prakash Mehra, had been a well-known director in Bollywood, and during a family visit to Mumbai in my teams, he provided film set visits and meetings with Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Anupam Kher, and others.

These interactions left an imprint and somewhere the desire to act remained. It was many years later, while working for a company in the United States, that I became actively involved with the Indian community, that I co-founded the local chapter of Asha for Education in Atlanta and that I got involved in theater and various cultural activities.

5. How did you come up with the idea of ​​becoming a citizen rights leader?

I don’t consider myself a leader, but I have always wanted to work for a fair society, which provides access to justice and opportunity, access to basic human needs which are the fundamental rights of every human being, from the environment and, all of this while living with nature (as opposed to the mindless and rampant degradation and destruction of the environment).

They are also essential elements of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An essential element to achieve this is the awareness of the rights of citizens and an awareness of the environment that surrounds us and the obvious possibility of embracing nature to the fullest.

HelpdesQ enables citizens to access citizen services, and I have used opportunities to speak out to influence government behavior as such opportunities have arisen. I thank the public and the media for their support in this regard.

The energy that led to the India Against Corruption movement and later the formation of HelpdesQ was a natural result of this approach.

6. Tell us about your organization (when and how did it start)?

The incident that ultimately led to the formation of the “HelpdesQ” brand and entity was coincidentally another personal experience of corruption with Noida Authority, during the sale of an apartment in Noida in 2019. The purchase of a property in Goa had also revealed the various unscrupulous details of abuses committed by the builder lobby with the backing of government officials and politicians.

After exploring Noida on a few services, we started marketing the services in Goa, our new home where we had moved. Corruption is extremely entrenched in this little Goa and therefore meant a big market to tackle. As word spread about us, the demand for services only increased and hasn’t stopped since.

7. What are your plans to join politics (will you ever join in the future)?

The trip with HelpdesQ gave me a deep and enriching insight into governance and our political system. We have been in a unique position to deliver something that governments have failed to do – to provide pleasant, time-limited, corruption-free and transparent delivery of citizen services and legal services. It’s something that most beliefs don’t exist and often can’t even vaguely imagine possible.

However, with the wealth of knowledge we now have, we are able to share these ideas and learn from and support governments in improving service delivery to citizens. For governments with the right intention, we would be happy to partner with this goal.

I have no intention of joining electoral politics. Politics, instead of becoming a means to serve, unfortunately, has become the means of blatant abuse of power, breaking all laws by the very lawmakers elected to uphold the laws and hoarding ill-gotten wealth under the very nose of our justice system. . While sensible citizens must enter politics, I have chosen to engage with government at various levels and make an impact.

8. In what area do you favor acting or social work (have you ever wanted to compromise your acting career for your social upheaval)?

Working for better governance for citizens is the priority to which I devote most of my time.

Acting has always been a creative outlet, although I don’t consider it a career. I am grateful for the opportunities that come my way and ensure my full involvement in the projects.

I’ve done a few cameos that allow for screen presence and acting exposure and yet don’t take too many days of shooting. Interestingly, the move from Mumbai to Goa has resulted in some quality web and film projects, such as Netflix Bombay Begums, Zee5 Naxalbari & Sunflowers and recent Telugu/Hindi star Prabhas Radhey Shyam.

9. As an actor, what is your position on OTT platforms (sensor and all)?

OTT platforms are a refreshing change from the highly regulated world of television as we have known it. These platforms respond to the needs and demands of modern society by providing credible content in touch with the realities of changing societies.

However, with freedom comes the responsibility to ensure the absence of obscene, pornographic or illegal content and not to harm minors. These platforms also violated Section 19(2) of the Constitution which provides for reasonable restriction of freedom of speech and expression in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the state security, public order, decency or morality, etc. In short, some form of regulation is necessary to fill the gaps, while keeping in mind the needs of the population.

10. As an actor, do you think OTT platforms will take over the industry in the future?

Personalized on-demand content accessible anywhere, anytime on any device in the future. To the west, it is already there. In India, for various economic and social reasons, it will take a few more years to become a mass.

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