The Man Who Gave Up His Comfortable Life Just To Help The Villagers Of Uttarakhand
May 13th, 2018
Harshit Sehdev, a young professional who hails from Dehradun, has given up his Night and Day for selfless service to remote villages of Uttarakhand. He made the whole community proud when he became the only Indian to be invited to ASEAN Disability Summit. During Flood tragedy 2013, snubbed by Govt Authorities, Harshit triggered a movement with villagers to build a temporary bridge and trolley in Didsari, Uttarakashi. He is running an organisation called Tvam which is working towards the development of entrepreneurs. Speaking to The Logical Indian, Harshit shared his thoughts and experiences with our community.
You are not a Pahadi ( a local ) What led you go and work in interiors of Uttarakhand hills?
It was in the year 2012 that I got the opportunity to serve the people of Uttarkashi region when I was working for Ramakrishna Mission. In the same year, a sad incident of cloudburst happened which devastated the whole village with so many lives lost, this triggered me to take up responsibility for reviving lives in the villages near Uttarkashi district.
Where did you start from? What was running in your mind?
In the year 2013, floods had hit Uttarakhand Hills. The disaster was a challenge for the whole count. I spent a week’s time to visit some of the remote villages of this region. A localized and ITBP worker took me to the worst affected village of Uttarkashi region. The village was Didsari. The village was in tatters – people lost their fields and houses and moreover, they lost a bridge that used to take them across the Bhagirathi river. The road that took us to Didsari was treacherous and all villagers had to use it as the bridge had been washed away. I opted to resolve the issue of the bridge which led to a movement. We approached every authority to construct a bridge. But with no help coming further. I along with the villagers initiated a temporary construction of bridge Finally after a long struggle it was on 20th November 2014 that a motorized trolley which cost around Rs.63 lakhs was installed for the villagers.
Being an only Indian representing in The One Asia Youth Council, ASEAN in Mongolia, How was your overall experience? Anything that you really want the world should know?
There were around 200 delegates from the ASEAN countries i.e Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma; some of the delegates had come from the USA as well. I got an opportunity to speak on a range of issues and also shared my personal life experiences how my mother, who cannot walk properly inspired me to work for society.
What is the vision behind your organisation?
The word Tvam means ‘You’. It is a Sanskrit word which means – ‘The Best in You’ or ‘The Spark of Divinity’ in you. Tvam works for the upliftment of the deprived section of the society in the hills of Uttarakhand. At present, our focus is on turning Didsari, Maneri, Bayna and Shyava into Model villages. We also working towards setting up of Organic Manure plants in the villages of Bayna and Maneri for developing entrepreneurship.
What threats did you face during your struggle? How did you overcome those obstacles?
Due to my continuous agitation to construct temporary bridges for Didsari and nearby regions, the pressure was mounting on the Govt. Not happy with this, some local leaders were trying to send me back to Dehradun but they were dealt very strongly by the villagers themselves. Once I sensed that the whole village was standing in my support, all kinds of threats became meaningless to me. I believe nothing happens if you are working for the right cause.
Anything you would like to answer that i have not asked?
Yes, I want to share the misery of Shyava, a village in Uttarkashi, with no roads. The people in this village have lost their fingers due to hand-pulled trolleys. The nearest road connectivity is 12 kms away. People are surviving amidst fear of wild animals attack. When I went there People were looking at me with hope. It is a beautiful village but had no health and educational infrastructure. My mission is to empower the hills of Uttarakhand. My dream is to see it developing as Switzerland. Looking for everyone’s support who share the same passion for society and hills. Please get in touch at www.facebook.com/harshit.sahdev | www.tvamindia.com
Message to TLI Community
Each one of us has a special message for this world – a message that is so unique. Unfortunately, we get trained by our surroundings to curb that thought. Definitely, if we choose to take a plunge into a meaningful work or a project it is going to be challenging but isn’t it true that there is a price to be paid for best things in the world? It is a deeply satisfying experience and gives lasting happiness. So much is happening in the field of positive psychology these days. According to a very famous psychologist Martin Seligman, our happiness depends upon three factors viz. pleasure, engagement and meaning.
Also published on Medium.