YOUNG LEADER: An Interview with Lalit Pokhrel Sharma (President, SUSA)

Lalit Pokhrel Sharma 

Lalit Pokhrel Sharma, presently the President of  Sikkim University Students’ Association (SUSA) was born as 3rd child of Shri Churamani Sharma and Smt. Sabitra Sharma of Chalamthang near Pakyong in East Sikkim. His parents are engaged in farming and agricultural practices to sustain the needs of their family. Wandering Soul of Sikkim talked with him about his early years and about youth & politics in Sikkim. Here’s the excerpts of the same:

Wandering Soul of Sikkim(WSOS): Would you like to share something about your early years and about your studies?

Lalit Pokhrel Sharma (LPS): Since I was the third child, my elder brothers Mr. Kewal Kumar Sharma and Mr. Hemant Sharma have been my mentors & guide. Since my childhood my family (Pokhrel parivar) always acted as my strength; also my environment i.e my neighbour and Society groomed me.
I did my Primary schooling from Dugalakha JHS, and Puspanjali Vidhalaya,Pakyong till completed my schooling from Government Senior Secondary school, Dikling. I completed my Graduation in Geology from Sikkim University and now I am pursuing my M. Sc in Geology from Sikkim University.  

WSOS: What inspired you to join politics?
LPS: My career as a student activist started since 2013, when the Government of Sikkim was distrubuting laptops to all the students of colleges and schools of Sikkim; Since I was in Sikkim University I went to meet then HRDD minister on behalf of students of Sikkim University to ask why Students of Sikkim University were barred from getting laptops despite they being from the state of sikkim and also most of the Students belonged to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and couldn’t afford to purchase laptops but needed it   to make desertations and presentation. I was shocked to hear the response of then  Minister HRDD who stated 1.You Students are from centre, ask them.
2. You all are mere 300-400 Students and not even my votebank.
So this was how my struggle started to educate our younger generations and make them aware of politics and policies and make them stand above vote bank politics. So i joined Students Politics.

WSOS: What would be that one thing you would like to change in the system when you get a chance to be inside?
LPS: First of all we need to inculcate a sense of belongingness amongst all those who are leading us and specially talking about changes, there are many that needs to be initiated  but most importantly Education sector where we see that the  scholarship to be given to  the students during the course of their studies to support their studies is still pending since 2013, this shows administration is not serious for building sikkim as an educational hub and employment for younger generations because more than 69% of voters in the state are youths but we have less than 20% of youth representatives in decision making bodies. So how would our concern be prioritized if the section of major is represented in minority in legislative assembly?

WSOS: What is your take on those who term politics to be “a dirty game”?                              LPS:  Politics is what we talk and how we analyse the happenings around us and how we propose plans and proposal for the betterment taking into account the ones at the bottom line of the society. There are two types of talk 1. Which mesmerises people around (i.e constructive politics) 2. One which manipulates people around (destructive synonymous to Dirty politics), It depends on how we consider our representation gives it’s definition. For those who have never tasted grapes and have tasted apples, for them it’s hard to define how grapes tastes like. Politics in real sense is how you define what you have tasted.

WSOS: How important it is to involve students and youth in mainstream politics?         LPS: It is the need of the hour and need of ours too that our younger generations have to spearhead the political arena since we belong to the majority section and our representation ratio should also match. Our issues and concerns and sense of belongingness amongst youths is what we need to channalise for the betterment of our state and Nation as a whole. Because we want analytical and constructive leaders for tomorrow.

WSOS: Your take on the need of an intellectual and informed debates in Sikkim on important issues. How do you think can we engage our people to talk about things that matter?                                                                                                                                                        LPS: We have never witnessed any such culture of debate and discussion in our state, which is most important part of building an environment where youngsters learn from elders in open debates and deliberations. Issues penetrating to larger section of Society would be addressed and the same could be raised through “Youth Parliament” a debating forum which could be initiated, where our people can raise their concern on various subjects.

WSOS: Your message to the youth of Sikkim.                                                                                 

LPS: I have always done what i loved to do not what other wanted me to do. So it is always important to know what you are born for. It’s simple to know what you are born for.  You have 24 hours in a day and 12 hours you spend in sleeping and doing things that doesn’t make impact in society but from the rest 12 hours if you are not paid a single penny still you are striving for one such work that satisfies you is what you need to pursue in life. I pursued what I loved (i.e Students Politics and social service),  it’s your turn now.
Constructive politics and creative,conscious and inclusive politicians are the most important parameters for better future and I believe youth of Sikkim now has greater responsibility in their shoulders to lead from the front. Let’s not be the carrier let’s be the initiators. (Let learn to lead)
“We know more than 70 percent of world waters is saline and are in ocean and more than 29% of it trapped in glaciers and less than 0.033 percentage of water is fresh water fit for drinking and the best part is  world is surviving”.

WSOS: Thank you Mr. President for taking your time out to talk to us for our Young Leader Series.

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