Meet Sadhana Garg: A Journalist, A Social Entrepreneur, A Cancer Survivor, And An Inspiration
- IWB Post
- November 12, 2015
November the month of cheer and sparkle was indeed special for me as I had the opportunity to interview one of the most inspiring woman of Jaipur – Sadhana Garg, a journalist, a writer, an entrepreneur, a social worker, a socialite – in short a super woman adept at multi tasking! Face to face with this woman of substance, her honesty and courage stands out. No, not even divorce and cancer could keep her spirits down.
“In life there are certain Karmic accounts one needs to settle ,and move on. Life is too precious and too short to be wasted see-sawing emotionally, “ says this lady champ who has obviously run the baton race on her own terms. For a woman who had been to Hell and back there is no bitterness and her zest for life is contagious. The fact that we belong to the same Alma Mater with a difference of some forty years made the MGDian in me stand tall and in total awe-like our school motto “Our Utmost for the Highest,”
JWB: We’ve heard you’re an extremely social person! What is your life like?
Ms. Garg: I’m a people’s person-I have been blessed by very nurturing relationships. I started out as an entrepreneur in the heritage segment, I have dealt in artifacts and still continue to do so. While still in school I was already dabbling in hand bloc printed textiles. By default I started writing. It all started with my letters to the editor and soon I was asked to join the English daily. Therein lay the beginning of my career as a journalist. I still contribute to English publications. I also run an NGO “Raghukul” dedicated to educating the children of professional entertainers. So my life really is a mix of happy and happening things.
JWB: We have read your articles and it seems you are a very opinionated writer.
Ms. Garg: Yes, I like to be true to myself. I am vocal and given to taking a stand. When people tell me that I’m blunt or that I don’t mince words, I take that as a compliment. I find this whole business of saying one thing, meaning another and doing still another or what I term ‘multi level living’, mentally very exhausting. So naturally my writing mirrors my attitude.
JWB: Should one not be diplomatic in today’s world?
Ms. Garg: If being diplomatic means not hurting, then I’m all for it. But one also needs to have the courage of conviction and to me there is no better USP. Of course one does adjust to changing circumstances but I do not compromise on my principles. Also since I do not have a dire need to be accepted by all and sundry, nor a longing for recognition I enjoy my freedom of expression.
JWB: Having said that why did you continue to resist giving an interview?
Ms. Garg: Because as I said I do not seek limelight. Whatever I am doing is paying it forward. I would have never reached here without the support of family, friends and so many well wishers who stood by me in my darkest hour. Also I just feel in Jaipur today there are countless ordinary women fighting extra-ordinary odds on a daily basis and all make a go of their lives so there really is nothing exemplary that I am doing!
JWB: What was it like being a journalist? What are your view on journalism today.
Ms. Garg: I was fortunate to have Shri Karpoorchand ji Kulish as my mentor. It started out as a hobby and lo and behold I was doing regular feature writing for Patrika and then in the editorial team of the English edition. It was at his feet that I learnt to voice my opinion, to question, and to have the courage to stick your neck out for the disenfranchised. From him I learnt that God is in the detail. Also, it has to be said that we at Patrika had space and freedom to express ourselves. For years I did regular columns for TOI and HT and never was I given a brief to write about sale-able information in a readable form nor was our passion to tell a story ever stopped. I think editors now are no longer made of the mold that God used to make them then!
I wish newspapers would do some issue based development journalism like population, denuding of the green cover, climate change, women issues, human rights, some feel good human interest stories instead of the page 3, politicians and featuring the provocative pout of a starlet !
JWB: Are you a feminist?
Ms. Garg: Well, I believe in equal rights and I believe no woman should ever have to do anything without her consent. I love the concept of “ardhnarishwar” where both the male and female complete and compliment each other and are not in competition. So realistically speaking we need feminists of all gender!
JWB: Tell us about your NGO Raghukul.
Ms. Garg: Ranas were once custodians of folk culture and no social ceremony in a Kshatriya or a Vaish home was complete without them. The fast paced economy has put them in a position of being social foot notes, with their women and children taking to begging for a living. We began by digging a tube well so that they could have access to safe drinking water. The center provides Non Formal education so that at least the children have an opportunity to lead a life of dignity. The brighter ones are admitted to a govt. schools where each child continues to be monitored by Raghukul. Currently we have two full time teachers and two helpers. Unable to cough up ten rupees per child per meal that Akshay Patra asked us for, since we are not a government school we have started our own Mid Day meal. Without funding, feeding sixty children daily sounds ambitious! l believe it is our time to create a vision for the future. And if one is connected to the world around you one will not only think of the highest but will also find it!
We encourage public schools to volunteer from time to time and perform Nukkad Nataks on hygiene, family values, gender equality. I am pleased to inform you that SMSV, MGD and Ryan’s International have been supporting and visiting Raghukul and our children have greatly benefited by their interaction with them. Recycle, Recreate, Reuse ,Recharge ,Reduce are not just a tagline but by-words for progress , both the Public Schools and Raghukul together work around these concepts. So it’s a win-win situation for all. Yet I’m always looking for committed volunteers. We have a humongous task ahead of us and every little support adds up!
JWB: You have faced a lot of battles in life, including Cancer. How did you stay strong throughout the journey?
Ms. Garg: I was in my late twenties when I was detected with cancer. The unwavering support of my family and friends are the reason my life never hit a pause button. Years of Satsang had taught me that I am not my body. I was sure a lump of protoplasm does not define ME. Even today as I battle edema in my arm I tell myself its only happening to my body and not to me! Not to state the obvious, but the only way I can say a silent thank you to all my care givers is by volunteering at cancer centers. Its not only with cancer but whenever the chips are down, its imperative to shake off the mental cold.
JWB: You have played many roles. Which have you enjoyed the most?
Ms. Garg: That of a mother! God speaks to us in many ways. A loving and a good child is Almighty’s sweetest symphony. Today my twenty seven year old son is my best friend and a responsible guide!
JWB: What are your view on women empowerment?
Ms. Garg: Women empowerment will never come on a platter! Without being confrontational, we have to work towards it. Each one of us needs to be the heroine of our own story instead of being a victim. Empowerment to me is when I don’t feel the need to win every battle! Empowerment is when my remote is in my own hands. Empowerment comes from being happy- to thine oneself be true and rest will all fall in place!
What a happy-go-lucky woman! I was right about her being an inspiration, wasn’t I?