1) What is your current position?
Currently I am a Founder & Executive Member of Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society as well as a Chief Executive in SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) (www.spicmacay.co.uk) and the owner of the JoinDots which is Communications Consultancy.
2) What are your proudest achievements?
Championing the cause of the Kashmiri Pandits and raising awareness about the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits among the Indian diaspora and British Parliamentarians. Successfully lobbying with the Parliamentarians to provide a strong counter on the Adjournment debate sponsored by David Ward MP. Within a short span of under two years, introducing SPIC MACAY in England organised interactive Indian Classical lecture-demonstrations in the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick and also a week-long festival of Music and Dance at The Nehru Centre, London. Another series of programmes in the lecture-demonstration format to be held in November in Universities of Oxford, East London and also at The Nehru Centre in London. Encouraging housewives and out-of-work young women to take up community initiatives and volunteering for charitable causes thereby helping them overcome depression and contributing community work.
3) What inspires you?
Children and their resilience despite and in spite of circumstances and richness of my cultural heritage being an ethnic Indian.
4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career?
Stereotypes of those around me and their inability to embrace progressive change.
5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
Children from lesser fortunate circumstances who have worked hard and made a place for themselves in this world, making a career and home – I have worked very closely with the rag picker children in the slums of India during my stint at the International Labour Organisation. Big influence on my career had also Mother Teresa and her tireless work for people in need. She was my inspiration for selfless service and being a community worker.
And Dr. Kiran Seth, recipient of the Padmashree award who is the founder of the youth movement I lead here in the UK now – SPIC MACAY. From him I have learnt a lot about volunteerism.
6) What is the best aspect about your current role?
Satisfaction of having done something worthwhile and the rewards in the form of smiles and blessings.
7) And the worst?
It is a tireless, uphill effort often yielding slowly or no results – can be very daunting and disheartening especially when compared to the lucrative, money-minting careers and being equated to success in material terms.
8) What are your long term goals?
Build a facilitative environment and platform for social enterprise and encourage local initiatives through empowerment, guidance and mentorship across communities. My dream is also to build heritage centres of excellence across schools and universities where students and diverse community groups engage with each other and connect to their roots. I would also like to build role models and leadership from within the community, especially women as they are natural project managers.
9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I would work towards a model of reorganisation of the economic demography of Britain – unburden London and create more opportunities in different parts of the country by setting up SEZs and Industrial Units to help spread employment generation, economic wealth and welfare of local communities.
10) If you were marooned on a deserted island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?
Mother Teresa. She has been an inspiration since I was a child but have never been fortunate enough to meet her in person so it will be an honour if I could spend time with her and get first hand insight of her inspirations, experiences and motivation. It would be a life changing experience for me!