Arushi Nishank is the daughter of Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank, but she has created a niche for herself not just with her admirable social work but also her initiatives in the field of environment, culture, dance and cinema. In an interview with Guardian 20, she tells us more about them.
For one so young, you are already an acclaimed Kathak dancer, social activist, film producer an entrepreneur. How could you achieve so much at such a young age?
I I used to see my father, Dr. Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank, Union HRD Minister and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, doing his duties so effectively. He had started his career as a teacher and now he is playing a significant role in government. We have seen him doing work for society, doing well in politics, living his passion which is writing books and taking care of family nicely. This has motivated me to strive for more.
You have intertwined your God’s gift as a Kathak dancer to that of being the ambassador of Sparsh Ganga (started in 2009 for the restoration and conservation of the holy river) .
I have been an active promoter for Namami Gange Mission which is a project started by Government of India to clean river Ganga. I have contributed my first ever Clean Ganga Initiative Kathak performance “Ganga Tujhe Salam” in Dubai, UAE, in 2016. This was the world’s first international Clean Ganga programme held outside India, to educate NRIs about the importance of river Ganga and its cleanliness drive. In 2016 itself I performed Ganga Avatran in Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur and won the hearts of many audiences.
I am also an active promoter of my own “Sparsh Ganga Campaign” which was started in 2009 by my father to promote awareness among people to save and clean Ganga. Today thousands of people are connected with this campaign to promote Ganga awareness. Recently the Government of India recognised volunteers of the Sparsh Ganga Campaign as “Ganga Heroes”.
What does your role as an active promoter of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, the govt initiative to save The Girl Child of India entail?
I have been working in activities aimed at social reforms and programmes for the uplift and empowerment of women globally. I have chaired IWEP (International Women Empowerment Programme in Dubai. I am also active globally, to promote “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”, a government of India initiative to save girl child. Recently I have chaired IWES (International Women Empowerment Summit and Awards 2019, New Delhi in association with Women and Child Ministry of India and Sanitation Ministry of India along with United Nations. The UN praised my efforts and commit to work further together.
Owing to our efforts in Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, we have seen some phenomenal changes:
Birth of a girl child in my states (Uttarakhand) is celebrated with full energy and excitement
We have raised awareness for focusing on girl child education. If you see Uttarakhand there the major focus of residents is to give their daughters complete secondary and higher education, along with vocational training so that they can become independent
Now parents of my state want their girls to get full education, along with a respectable job, then subsequently, they think of their wedding. Besides, we have also worked a lot for women empowerment. Some initiatives include:
Women living in rural areas of Uttarakhand (Garhwal region) used to prepare beautiful decorative items, shawls, woollen garments, pickles, juices, etc and contribute a lot in their family welfare. This is because of our motivation and support to them. Now they are becoming financially stronger
I am a big supporter of the circular economy. When we talk about the circular economy, we talk about two things. Firstly, we have limited resources and secondly how the economy can be developed, when we are talking about the environment. For the same, we have started making incense sticks from waste flowers from Ganga and this has given employment to more than 800 women of Uttarakhand. For avoiding the use of plastic, we have also started making jute bags which, is again, giving employment to many women and also creating awareness.
You produced your first regional movie ‘Major Nirala’, a movie written by your father. Whats it about?
‘Major Nirala’ is a unique Garhwali film that describes the pain of every Uttarakhand resident, whose son is in the Indian Army. This film not only instills a sense of patriotism but also connects them with their families. Also, Garhwali culture and the problem of migration have also been raised prominently in the film. The film was released on June 1, 2018, directed by Ganesh Veeran and featured Hemant Pandey, Himani Shivpuri, Rajesh Malguri and Rekha Badhani as lead characters.
What motivates you, what ignites your passion & what drives you to such remarkable & noteworthy heights in every sphere.
My father is my biggest motivation and inspiration, he is not only a successful politician but a great writer also. I have seen him working 24×7, always on his toes. He sleeps only 4 hours and strives hard to make each moment worth it. I have learned so much from him, how this world is full of opportunities and we need to be alert, to grab the right opportunity, at the right time. He always makes me realise that we can’t limit our boundaries, life is all about breaking all barriers and reach beyond your own expectations.