Ideas, Innovation, Innocence—Inside Kashmir’s Eco-Entrepreneurship Fest

A peaceful shelter for thinkers, believers and writers, if Sagg were to be explained in two words, it can rightly be called a dreamer’s paradise.

By Aayat Tramboo

AFTER being fortunately misguided by a local inhabitant, I wandered through vibrant greens, hills, streams and a gorgeous cloud view of the village before I reached Sagg.

Walking in to attend the first-of-its-kind festival on Ecological Entrepreneurship—the event highlighting the growing need of incorporating eco-friendly ways in building businesses, I found positive affirmations hanging by the walls all around.

“Wound is where light enters you” inscribed on a plank of wood, welcomes visitors into a fresh perspective towards life.

As the event began with a tour around the campus, I walked by farms, swings, tree house, recycling and waste segregation systems, compost toilets, classrooms and cozy stay rooms decorated with the wisest sayings.

Stepping in one stay room, I breathed in natural air that felt clearly better and different from the city remix.

Nestled nearly 9 kilometers from the main hustle of Ganderbal village, Sagg Eco village is an entire world in itself.

Driven by the core value of ‘faith over fear’, Sagg aims at bringing positive behavioral changes in individuals through its various educational and counseling services and works towards normalizing eco-friendly lifestyle choices and businesses.

Over the years many successful businesses have been established and run at the cost of ecological stability, reducing the quality of nature to increase valuations and profits leading up to this moment where making every business eco-friendly is no longer a choice but an essential step towards reviving the stability in nature and preserving it from further disruption.

One of the most beautiful areas around Sagg was the classroom and library where learning spaces and services are provided to kids in their absolute basic learning stage.

But this learning isn’t about what’s written in the books, it’s about what no one cared to put in a book for them.

At Sagg, kids are given basic life lessons about accountability, responsibility, savings, expenditure, creativity, might, imagination and innovation.

The classrooms are covered with charts and art-pieces created by the kids themselves giving a view into how at Sagg, the young ones are made to focus on things that will bring them closer to themselves later in life when they’ll find themselves drifting away with the speed of the world.

The event was spoken at by various entrepreneurs with one common motive of bringing ecological stability into every business.

An attempt was made to resolve the commonly appearing doubts about the profitability of eco-friendly businesses. The panelists spoke about how crucial it has now become to start assessing and repairing the damage done to the ecosystem.

The panelists invited eco-friendly business ideas and offered mentoring to the young students who had come to attend the festival. They also spoke about the importance of a vast imagination in the success of any business.

During the break, a curious toddler was attracted towards the microphone and speakers set up on the stage area for the panel discussion to be held right after.

The kid reached to the mic, took it closer to his mouth and started experimenting different pitches of his voice, amused by how the mic amplified his tone. With a sparkling smile on his face, he spoke into the mic for as long as it took him to extinguish his curiosity.

It caught my attention how the organizers and the maintaining staff was standing nearby but no one thought of taking the mic away from the kid, no one thought of punishing the kid for being a kid and no one dared to expect the kid to act like an adult.

While some visitors held on to a facial expression that implied repulsion to the silly noise the kid made, I could see the organizers standing and smiling at the kid as he went through a natural process of learning.

The journey of Sagg in itself is an example of drive and dedication and resembles thousands of people who fight towards a goal no matter what.

In its establishing years, very few people stood by the idea of its foundation, many were unable to see a future it in, many questioned its possibility but Sagg was destined to thrive and here it is providing a home away from home to campers, bikers, trekkers, wanderers and explorers.

A peaceful shelter for thinkers, believers and writers, if Sagg were to be explained in two words, it can rightly be called a dreamer’s paradise.

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