21 under 21

DU 21 Under 21: Aspirations beyond Achievements

All of us have come across some incredibly talented and passionate individuals who have achieved great feats at a tender age and many more who are striving hard, their achievements are celebratory and their stories inspiring. DU Beat thus brings you 21 notable mentions who have made it even before tasting 21 years of their life.

They are brilliant expressions, they are innovative minds, they are iconic voices, they are determined hands, they are dedicated souls, they are conscious efforts and they are a perfect manifestation of the ‘young and the restless’. With a huge reservoir of talent that the University of Delhi possesses, these 21 achievers are a paradigm of the potential these dynamic students hold to challenge skeptics, critics and the older status quo.

1. Aanand Negi, Kunal Vats, Ojas Jhamb, Raghav Nath and Sparsh Sehgal, Winners, Harvard Global Case Competition 2020

Aanand Negi, Kunal Vats, Ojas Jhamb, Raghav Nath and Sparsh Sahgal
Aanand Negi, Kunal Vats, Ojas Jhamb, Raghav Nath and Sparsh Sahgal

The Global Case Competition at Harvard is the world’s most prestigious case competition organized by the Harvard GSAS Business Club. It brings together students from across the world to compete on an M&A Strategy case at Harvard University, Cambridge. This year, the prelims (comprising approximately 140 teams) went live on February 24th and concluded on March 21st, while the Finals (Top 10) commenced on April 7th and concluded on April 25th, seeing presentations form esteemed institutions such as MIT, HEC Paris, London Business School and Johns Hopkins University. However, this year due to the pandemic situation, the competition was organised through video submissions and video conferencing.

The team from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Delhi comprising of Aanand Negi, Kunal Vats, Ojas Jhamb, Raghav Nath and Sparsh Sehgal, emerged as the winners of the prestigious competition.

The team talking to us quoted, “When the final results were announced, our elation was such that we could not process it for quite some time and were unable to even form complete sentences for a while; we were awestruck, it was a huge moment for all of us.”

The team members have diverse interests and goals, however, a penchant for finance and consulting binds them together. While Aanand, Sparsh, Kunal and Ojas have participated in numerous case competitions before, Raghav is a quizzer who has won over 25 quizzes in his college life but alloys well with the team due to the shared interest in finance.

As the team would be entering its final year of college, the future plans of each of the teammates revolve around placements and higher education. The teammates aim to get into different functions of finance encompassing working at Hedge Funds, Investment Banks, and Venture Capital etc. after pursuing MBAs from Ivy League B-Schools.

2. Akul Jindal, Co-Founder, Red Herring Ventures

Akul Jindal
Akul Jindal

Dejection creeps in whenever a new initiative doesn’t pan out as successfully as you planned it to, but some enterprising people use such failures to get better ideas and build something bigger, with Akul Jindal being a prime example.

Originally a native of Patiala, Jindal is currently in his final year of study at Shaheed Sukhdev College Of Business Studies.

His first start-up Digital DAdd which aimed to tackle cell phone addiction, couldn’t attain fruition, partly due to the fractured start-up ecosystem around him, which prompted him to “plug the gap”.

Consequently, in 2019, he co-founded Red Herring Ventures, which describes itself as “India’s first student led pro-bono advisory initiative that is integrated with a network of investors to help fledgling collegiate enterprises in their pursuit of success”. It aims to serve as a first cheque partner for all investors in collegiate startups.

Besides that, Jindal has a stellar academic and extra-curricular record. He has given MUN training to over 1500+ students and also served as the Secretary General of Delhi University Model United Nations. He was also selected as a Mentor of Change for the Atal Innovation Mission.

Jindal considers his mother’s value-based and principle-driven approach to life as an inspiration and also admires the work of Andrew Yang and Steve Jobs.

3. Anoushka Chakraborty, Co-Founder, Phoolvari

Anoushka Chakraborty
Anoushka Chakraborty

Phoolvari was born under TiE The Young Entrepreneurs (TYE), a global programme run by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). It won the 1st position at the regional level and the ‘Best Execution’ award at the globals.
The team, led by Anoushka has created a website that offers all gardening related services and products at a single platform, which includes Gardeners, Home delivery of plants, DIY toolkits and Greenhouse facilities to take care of the greens when the owners are out of town.
They began operations in West Delhi in May 2019 and initially started with Rs. 1,200; within a month of operations their sales worth Rs. 30,000 with a profit margin of 21.07%. The team was mentored by Keshav Bansal, director of Intex Technologies as a part of TYE.

Phoolvari has been featured in several reputed platforms like Yourstory, Asian-Age and Start-up wonder and they plan on gaining market leadership in Delhi NCR and then expanding in other parts of the country as well. They also plan on tying up with government initiatives to make the city a greener place to live in.

4. Bharat Bhatt and Rajat Malik, Founder, Houseitt

Bharat Bhatt and Rajat Mallik
Bharat Bhatt and Rajat Mallik

Bharat Bhatt and Rajat Malik, final-year students of Hindu College, are the co-founders of the student housing app, Houseitt, along with their senior, Ishaan Sudan. The three of them started and established the entrepreneurship cell of their college and won many competitions. In their second year, they founded the Delhi University branch of Leo’s club, the youth organization of Lions Clubs International, an international NGO.

Facing problems with student housing on the campus, they decided to start a venture to connect directly connect the houses to the students. For the first six months, they spread the word offline and slowly brought the unstructured market of student properties online. They started the initiative a year and a half ago and recently launched their website. They now have over 500 properties, and collaborations with PGs, around the campuses of Delhi registered on their platform. They have now also started expanding their properties among the sought-after areas of Gurgaon and Noida.

5. Bhavika Mehta, Founder, The Happy Company

Bhavika Mehta
Bhavika Mehta

The Happy Company took birth on 21st June 2018, with the aim to create a safe space for anyone going through a mental health issue. Back then, it was just an Instagram page that Bhavika, a student of Sri Venkateshwara College ran anonymously- but a lot of people started reaching out, including a publisher from a Mumbai based newspaper who wanted to cover their story. They got published for the first time on 8th July 2018, within a month of beginning the operations. On 1st April 2019, the team recruited their first set of 30 volunteers. Bhavika and the team have come a long way, from an Instagram page to a company with over 70 volunteers, and have helped over 3000 people. The goal remains the same, they all wish to bring a revolution in mental health. In the near future, they’re going to make mental health assistance more accessible in rural areas and work on sensitizing places where it is still considered a taboo, along with providing help to anyone who reaches out to them.

People can reach out to us at thehappycompany.in/

6. Dhruv Tuli, Founder, InvestMentor Stocks and App Avenue Inc.

Dhruv Tuli
Dhruv Tuli

From holding over 75+ podiums in tech and commerce events to coming up with a massively successful app developing startup while still in Grade 7, Dhruv Tuli is the perfect embodiment of an ambitious and successful “man of action”, something which every enterprising young teenager strives to be. No wonder, his biggest inspirations happen to be Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.

Born and brought up in New Delhi, Tuli passed out from Modern School, Barakhamba Road and is currently a 2nd year commerce major at Hansraj College.

He started out with an app developing startup, App Avenue Inc, in 2014, which currently has over half a million active monthly users on Google Play Store.
Three months ago, along with a college senior, he co-founded InvestMentor Stocks, a financial service startup which aims to mentor and train clients in stock trading and investment. The inspiration came after he was reminded of the multiple times he blew up his capital during the initial stages of his trading career, due to a lack of proper guidance. In a very short span of time, the startup has crossed over 150+ clients and is well set for exponential growth in the coming months.

Tuli looks forward to a career in investment banking and private equity after college.

7. Eshan Sharma, Founder, Karwaan – Heritage Walks and History Initiative

Eshan Sharma
Eshan Sharma

Eshan Sharma, a second-year student of Dyal Singh College, is the founder of Karwaan, a heritage walks and history initiative, which aims at promoting history among students. He started the initiative in September 2019, along with a team of five other students- Nishant Singh, Aditya, Abhigyaa Mittal, Mansi Rautela, Nandesh Yadav. They organized their first heritage walk in Tughlaqabad Fort with one of the city’s most famous history buffs, Sohail Hashmi. Since then, they’ve conducted several walks around the city. Currently, they are organizing a series of online lectures on history. These Facebook Live Lecture Series, which started on 4th April and is still going on, are talks where they invite renowned historians and scholars.

Apart from leading the initiative, this B.A. History (Hons) student is also a published author. His first book The Teacher I Never- published at 16- is non-fiction about a boy who looks up to Abdul Kalam. He is currently working on his second book on India in 2030. He also regularly writes on issues related to youth and politics.

8. Jahnvi Sharma and Nandini Agarwal, Founders, Handy

Jahnvi Sharma and Nandini Agarwal
Jahnvi Sharma and Nandini Agarwal

Jahnvi Sharma and Nandini Agarwal, students of Maitreyi college, are the founders of Handy, an initiative that sells eco-friendly Pens. Their project aims to reduce plastic waste produced by pen bodies, which is why their pens have bodies recycled from paper. Jahnvi is a final-year student studying Economics, while Nandini is a first-year student of the same course. The two met in their college’s E-Cell Orientation and since then have been working together for Handy. They started ‘Handy’ in September 2019 and sold their first batch of products in October 2019 in college fairs. They are working towards environmental awareness on their social media pages. Moreover, they would be expanding their operations to other colleges once they reopen and bring out new products in near future.

9. Manu Bhaker, National Airgun Shooting Champion

Manu Bhaker
Manu Bhaker

It’s been a long and fulfilling journey for Manu, who used to play Power Contacts sports till she was in her primary school. As board exams and the ensuing academic pressure approached, her father advised her to take up an activity that is less time-consuming. One fine day, he took her to the School Shooting Range. She remembers the day of her first shooting practice when she scored the maximum points. What followed was a thunderous applause and four years full of guidance and mentorship under her coach and parents.

Some of her choicest achievements include a Gold and a Silver medal at The 2018 Youth Olympic Games, a Gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, five Golds at Senior World Cup, two Golds at Junior World Cup, a Gold at World Cup Finals, multiple Gold Medals in Asian Championship from 2017-19 as well as seven Gold, two Silver and a Bronze at the National championship 2019.

Currently National Rank one and World Rank two, this Lady Shri Ram College for Women student will be representing India in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

10. Md Shahrukh, State-Level Cricketer (Delhi)

Mohd. Shahrukh
Md. Shahrukh

Shahrukh, a first-year student of Sri Venkateshwar College, is a blind cricketer who plays for Delhi. Shahrukh is from Ghazipur, UP, and started playing cricket in 2007. Unfortunately, in a cricket accident the same year, he lost his eyesight. While that loss affected his academics, it didn’t hinder his determination to play the sport. He enjoyed playing cricket, as well as other sports. In fact, in 2011, he even played in a national tournament of chess in Kolkata. He started playing cricket with more seriousness when he was 17 as a means to relieve his stress, after which he soon got selected for the Delhi team
While he plays for the state, cricket is more of a hobby to him. He’s studying English in college and wants to keep pursuing the same subject for his postgraduate as well. He is also learning python and is interested in hacking while blogging and writing poems in his free time.

11. Murrad Beigh and Ishaan Arora, Co-Founders, FinLadder

Murrad Beigh
Murrad Beigh
Ishaan Arora
Ishaan Arora

“I certainly did not have a very good impression of him.” is how Ishaan Arora describes his first acquaintance with Murrad Beigh. Little did he know that they would run a successful start-up together in future.

Beigh was born in Srinagar and did his schooling from DPS, Srinagar while Arora was born and brought up in Delhi and did his schooling from Summer Fields, Kailash Colony. Both are final year commerce majors at Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Delhi.

The duo founded FinLadder, an e-learning start-up, in 2019, with an objective to spread financial literacy in the country and “bridge down the gap between what skills companies want and what skills students possess”. The idea to establish it came after they found that most courses teaching stock markets and finance cost a fortune. In their first week, they managed to teach a course to nearly 200 students via YouTube. They plan to continue running FinLadder after college.

When not running their start-up, Beigh indulges in cooking, writing research papers and stock market trading, while Arora, who captained his college sports team and was a delegate at the Harvard US-India initiative, plays chess and spends time on Quora and Linkedin. Both proclaim their admiration for Warren Buffett and Elon Musk.

12. Nasreen Sheikh, Captain, Indian National Kho-Kho Team

Nasreen Sheikh
Nasreen Sheikh

Born without certain priviliges and being derided by your own family for following your passion can break anyone down. But there are some people who take their destiny in their own hands and light up the path for others. Nasreen Sheikh, Captain of the Indian National Kho-Kho team is one such trailblazer.

Born to a steel utensil seller and a housewife, Sheikh and her large family have faced financial instability throughout their lives. She turned to sports in her teens and started playing kho-kho at the age of 13. To everyone’s surprise she was a perfect fit for the game and made her way to state team and then to the under-14 national team.
The journey was not a very rosy one since she faced constant opposition from her father and her brothers.

Nevertheless the brickbats didn’t deter her from continuing. She soon broke into the Indian National Team and a string of good performances earned her the captain’s band. She led her team to gold in the Asian Championship and the South Asian Games.

Sheikh wishes to get a suitable job and a steady income through her sporting exploits. When asked if she would allow her children to pursue kho-kho in case they wished to, she wryly gave an affirmative reply.

13. Olana Peters, Rhodes Scholar

Olana Peters
Olana Peters

When her high-school History teacher first suggested Olana to apply for the Rhodes scholarship, she thought the former was crazy. Olana remembers the nervosity she felt when she went to the Rhodes Website for the first time and terminated the page even before it was successfully loaded. A lot has changed since then, and she is thankful for all that she has learnt in these three years. She studied History at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and grew interested in questions of violence while interacting with survivors of the 1947 Partition, as part of a project with the Harvard South Asia Institute. At Oxford, she hopes to further research violence in South Asia and to explore opportunities for peace through theatre and art.

Olana feels that applying for the Rhodes has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. It allowed her to reflect on her life, on what matters to her, and to use her education to make a difference. Looking back, she is thankful for all the people who have been with her on this journey – teachers, family and friends – without whose love, encouragement and occasional pep-talks none of this would have been possible. “This scholarship belongs to them as much it does to me”, says Olana.

14. Ravneen Kaur, Founder, The Craft House

Ravneen Kaur
Ravneen Kaur

For a majority of entrepreneurs, their passion and their work often find themselves at opposing ends. But for Ravneen Kaur, the young founder of The Craft House, both mean the same. Bringing her love and talent for handicrafts and art on the table, she chopped and polished it into a fledgling startup.

Born and brought up in Delhi, Kaur did her schooling from GD Goenka, Model Town and is currently a freshman psychology major at Mata Sundri College For Women.

The Craft House was first established as an Instagram store in May 2018 and since then it has expanded its base. It provides numerous varieties of gift items – customized and handcrafted. The startup was presented in exhibitions at various college fests. Not one to get bogged down by the lockdown, Kaur introduced a new DIY series, wherein she regularly posts videos on the startup’s social media pages, teaching easy DIY craft techniques.

As for the future, Kaur professes her love for both crafts as well as psychology and intends to balance the two. She proclaims her father, who supported every decision she made in her journey, as a constant source of motivation.

15. Rohan Jain, Founder, ViralHeed Media and Host, The RoCast podcast

Rohan Jain
Rohan Jain

“As a high school student, I realised that academics wasn’t for me, and all I wished for was to earn my own living.”, says Rohan Jain, a self-proclaimed “rebel”. And rightly so, because Jain’s journey after high school can be termed anything but mainstream.

Born and brought up in New Delhi, Jain completed his schooling from BVM School and then proceeded to pursue commerce at the Delhi College Of Arts And Commerce, where he is currently in his final year of study.

Jain believes that in business, there is no substitute for experience, which is what he has in abundance. From working as a freelance photographer to a 9-5 salesman to running multiple successful motivational pages on social media and selling them – Jain learnt the basics of marketing and entrepreneurship.

Putting what he learnt to practice, Jain founded ViralHeed Marketing in 2019, a digital marketing and branding company for small businesses. The company currently has 12 employees and has been involved in over 100 projects. He aims to continue running it after college and take the number to 1000 in the next two years. Apart from that, he also functions as a life coach and hosts RoCast, a self development Hindi podcast.

Having dabbled in multiple unorthodox fields, and having found considerable success in each of them, Jain is indeed an apostle of following the road not always taken.

16. Saloni Gaur, Comic Artist

Saloni Gaur
Saloni Gaur

We all have laughed our hearts out on those perfectly enacted sketches of Nazma Aapi, although an undergrad student at Janki Devi Memorial College, Delhi, Saloni Gaur is a well established name for netizens, especially those on Instagram. Making content online across all social media platforms, Saloni shares her journey that began in 2017 when she came for college and got her first smart-phone. Inquisitive Saloni got to know about the features of posting videos on Instagram and was specifically inspired by Mallika Dua creating content for Instagram. Her friends admiring her great sense of humour encouraged her to give it a try. Initially, she had a private Instagram account, where only her friends used to watch her videos but a further encouragement allowed her to go public, soon in November 2019 her video on Delhi’s Pollution went viral and changed her life. Uncertain about her future, this sweet and honest artist would like to do standup comedy shows after everything gets back to normal.

17. Shawrya Mehrotra, Founder, Metvy

Shawrya Malhotra
Shawrya Mehrotra

Shawrya Mehrotra, a final-year student of Kirori Mal College, is the founder of Metvy, a multilingual networking application that allows people with mutual interests, in the same vicinity, to have interactions. He found the company in 2018 with his college senior, Rajan Luthra. The app got 8000 downloads when it was initially launched in 2018, and most recently, its beta version was launched in February 2020. One of the fastest startups to raise funds in the industry, the Metvy team has now grown to have 90 working members and was a finalist in Times App Search, a national competition organized by the Times group. Metvy has also graduated from Y Combinator as one of their Startup alumni, a seed accelerator that has funded companies like Reddit and Airbnb. They have also started a Metvy Student Partner Program for students from the top schools across the country, which has been a huge hit and has even received international applications.

Shawrya is also a public speaker and has also conducted over 20 talks and workshops on Entrepreneurship and Marketing in many colleges including IIT Delhi, Shri Ram College of Commerce, and Hansraj. He has won several national-level B-Plan competitions and has also judged multiple B-Plan competitions at the university level.

18. Siddhant Joshi, Filmmaker

Siddhant Joshi
Siddhant Joshi

Picking up camera in eighth standard was perhaps the beginning of Siddhant’s life long curiosity to rather understand, how to communicate visually. The idea that, one can immerse anyone in a perfectly weaved or rather captured reality, always makes this young filmmaker dive in, into the sea full of possibility. A filmmaker, who rather prefers to be called as a visual storyteller has made filmmaking a fundamental part of his world.

Working as a freelancer – sometimes as an editor, assistant director, director, project head, cinematographer and script writer, Siddhant has successfully produced films like”Shakil’s Kindness” a 360 film in collaboration with UNESCO and has earned various accolades such as Best International Film at All American High School film festfest, ‘Best Little Director’ title bestowed by Children Film Society of India for film ‘Breaking the Silence’ at International Children Film Festival, India and various other nominations, official selections and screenings across international and national film festivals across India.

Siddhant aspires to produce more films as a product of his vision and culture of dreams transcending boundaries and methods.

19. Siddharth Gulati, Innovator and two-time President’s Award Winner

Siddharth Gulati
Siddharth Gulati

He participated in Festival of Innovation, a national level competition where participants from all groups participate to receive sponsorships for their project, in 2017 and 2018. In that competition, he bagged the president’s award both the times, for presenting his model on making energy-conserving streetlights. He also explained the working of the model on DD National in 2018.

Currently, he’s working with the National Innovation Foundation and has patented the project. His project has also caught the eye of several state governments, such as Meghalaya and Nagaland. His project is a work in progress, and its completion would take around a year and a half. Siddharth is also a web designer and is working on a website. Additionally, in March 2020, he also became the Global Peace Ambassador of Global Peace Chain, an NGO.

20. Upasa Borah, Spoken Word Poet and Wattpad Author

Upasa Borah
Upasa Borah

Relatively new to the Delhi Poetry circuit, having joined only in 2018 ,Upasa has been organising various open mics and workshops (almost first of their kinds) in her hometown Guwahati for a couple of years now. Coming to Delhi, she has performed in various big and small stages, including Indian Habitat Center, IIT Delhi, etc and was a featured poet in Spoken Fest Delhi ’19 by Kommune. She has also adjudged few small poetry events in and around Delhi and is also one of the top-30 winners of Wingword Poetry Competition for two consecutive years (2018 and 19).

As for Wattpad, she has been there since 2016 and calls it her second home. With 10 published books, most of which are featured by various official Wattpad accounts, she has two short novels which have over 4 lakh readers and continues to rank on the Hotlist.

Currently, working on her third novella to be published on Wattpad. She dearly misses the open-mics but is compensating by making poetry videos at home. Further, she hopes to see her poetry books and novels in paperback formats one day and making a poetry podcast also seems like a fun idea that she is looking forward to try out in the near future.

21. Vaibhav Khandpal, Batsman, National U-19 Cricket Team

Vaibhav Kandpal
Vaibhav Kandpal

Vaibhav has been an aspiring Cricketer since childhood. His parents saw his keen interest and determination for the sport and asked him to join a coaching academy. He joined Madan Lal Cricket academy in 2009. With sincerity and commitment towards the game, he was able to give good performances.

With this hardwork & continuous practice, he was honoured to represent Delhi U-14 twice in the years 2012-13 and 2013-14, Delhi U-16 in the years 2014-15 and 2015-16, Delhi U-19 in the years 2017-18 and 2018-19 as well as India U-19 for the bilateral series against South Africa in the year 2019.

He has played for the Ranji Trophy from the year 2019-20 and was awarded the Best Junior Batsman for the year 2018-19 by the Delhi & District Cricket association.

Vaibhav has been playing this game for more than 10 years and the biggest lesson he has learnt so far is to keep giving his best and not be scared of anything. He hopes to get more consistent and be a regular member of the Ranji Trophy team. In the future, he aspires to be a part of the Senior Men’s Indian Cricket Team as well.
With many more significant stories, we look forward to acknowledge every effort in the coming editions.

Featured Collage Credits: Aryaman Jain for DU Beat.

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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history.Freedom to Express.