As a child, Mrittunjoy grew up in an environment and setting that often involved going for field trips with his mother, a social anthropologist herself. Those early years played a big role in shaping his interest in social work and leading upto student politics.
Mrittunjoy got to learn about Jainism as part of his mother’s doctoral research on Jain Sadhvis in North India. He fondly remembers his trips to Hastinapur and a particularly bumpy ride on a cycle as a child on a research round!
Later on he came in touch with Pratham and their drive to developing educational material and methods for children in slum areas of Delhi (particularly Nangloi, Mongolpuri and Sultanpuri), besides getting to learn about mental health and mental health institutions in Delhi during his mother’s stint with Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Science (IHBAS).
It was, however, the time with WHO during the filming of an anti-tobacco documentary that Mrittunjoy remembers most fondly. It was in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh, and the film was on tendu-leaf pluckers. Tendu leaf is the primary component of a bidi, a form of native cigarette in India. Not only was the trip very informative, but Mrittunjoy also got to see a tiger and a leopard on that trip, and got his High School examination results as well.
The one organization that Mrittunjoy most fondly remembers working with during his college days is Udayan Care. The organization’s succinctly puts forward their vision on their website:
Udayan is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Eternal Sunshine’. Udayan Care aims to bring sunshine into the lives of underserved sections of society that require intervention. Registered in 1994 as a Public Charitable Trust, Udayan Care works to empower vulnerable children, women and youth, in 14 cities across 9 states of India.
Starting with the establishment of just one small family home (Ghar) for orphaned and abandoned children in Sant Nagar, Delhi in 1996, Udayan Care has spread its work for disadvantaged groups during the last 22 years by establishing more family homes, helping girls’ education, providing vocational training etc. To date, Udayan Care has nurtured over 15,000 young minds.
Mrittunjoy made a lot of friends among the children associated with the organization and also played a key role in convening a major seminar on After-Care Services in India.
Mrittunjoy, compering and chairing the seminar on After-Care Services in India
Amnesty International, CHOP and SACH
Mrittunjoy has been a member of Amnesty International since his Stephanian days. He relishes the idea of standing up for values espoused by the organization. On various points in his student life, he has helped in rallying support for cases against intolerance, for free-speech and human rights.
In Cambridge, he was also a member of the university branch of Cambridge, and has signed petitions against torture, besides helping in writing letters for some causes.
He has also been an active member of the Cambridge Homeless Outreach Programme (CHOP) and Save a Child’s Heart (SACH).
Mrittunjoy has been the international convenor of Anant Vikas International. Anant Vikas envisions urban India volunteering and rising to the occasion, the need of the hour is to focus on inclusive rural development, through an integrated approach, addressing challenges of extreme poverty in overlapping areas like agriculture, education, healthcare, infrastructure, employment, business development and gender equality leveraging on latest technology.
An Anant Vikas International session convened by Mrittunjoy
Mind Genius Charitable Trust is a technologically powered trust that has been creating and imparting brain based learning since the last 8 years. These programmes have impacted 50,000 kids across 70 schools between age group 6 years- 15 years and equipped the students of private and government schools with the right thinking skills and mental attitude to be successful in life. In the year 2010-11 alone, this program impacted 13000 students of New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Mrittunjoy has not only helped in framing the nuances of what he and the founder of Anant Vikas – Ms. Hriitu Rana like to call Personal Social Responsibility, the guiding principle of the organization but also helped connect students of schools in India with research scholars in the United Kingdom, for exposure and learning.
Although he does not like discussing this project with most others, Mrittunjoy has adopted a girl called Indu, from Varanasi, and supports her each month with a portion of his student stipend in Cambridge. They have exchanged letters and communicated on a number of topics, from realities of life in villages to education, travel and dreams/aspirations.
Mrittunjoy has been very active in student politics right from his college days. He was a secretary on the Student Union Society of St. Stephen’s College. He was also a three-year batch representative in the college.
He co-founded a student wing of the Democratic Party of the United States of America in Cambridge (Cambridge Student Democrats), and worked closely with the Labour and Liberal Democrats parties in the U.K. during and after the Brexit referendum. He has worked closely with erstwhile and current MPs for Cambridge Julian Huppert and Daniel Zeichner. He has written on political issues, such as ‘Conservatism and the Welfare State’ in journals and platforms such as Youth Ki Awaaz. Mrittunjoy was selected for the prestigious Young India Fellowship in 2015.
Mrittunjoy speaking at the Vivekananda Festival 2018 held at the famous Logan Hall (UCL), London
In Cambridge, Mrittunjoy has been a Welfare Officer of the Cambridge University Student Union (CUSU) and an International Officer of the Graduate Union of the University of Cambridge. In 2018, Mrittunjoy was selected among the ’35 under 35 UK-India Young Leaders’ in the UK-India Young Leaders Forum, supported by the High Commission of India to the UK and Infosys.