YOUNG LEADER: An Interview with Bhusan Adhikari (President, Rhenock Gram Panchayat)

Bhusan Adhikari

Eldest Son of Shri Gauri Prasad Adhikari and Shrimati Laxmi Adhikari (Bista) of Rhenock in East Sikkim, Bhusan Adhikari recently assumed office as the new  Panchayat President of Rhenock Gram Panchayat Unit. Here’s the excerpts of his interview given to Wandering Soul of Sikkim in the Young Leader Series:

Wandering Soul of Sikkim (WSOS):  Would you like to share something from your growing up years?
Bhusan Adhikari (BA): To be a child…..what a wonderful thought.
As I was the eldest son of my family, my father taught me almost all the domestic chores. From fetching fodders for our cows, cleaning cowsheds to making our fields ready to grow crops, I have had the experience of doing it all.
My father was a headmaster in a government school, therefore he knew the importance of education in human life, and was worried about my academic performance. He was my greatest support in academics. I studied in government institutions within our state itself to complete my studies.

WSOS: What inspired you to join politics?
BA: As I was from the family of government servants , I didn’t have any experience of poverty and problems associated with that.
But unfortunately after I married, I faced a lot of problems, something that touched my heart closely.
These problems imbibed in me a thought that I should work for people with similar circumstances and problems like mine; I also realised that politics is the greatest service to the nation and the society that one can think of; something that could make an individual able to overcome the hardships of poverty and other related things.

WSOS: What would be that one thing you like to change in system?
Education has been a problem in our nation and lack of it has been blamed for all sorts of evil for hundreds of years.
Funny thing is that, only few things have changed from the colonial era. We have established IITs, IIMs, Law schools and other institutions of excellence; students these days routinely score 90% marks, so even student with 90+ percentage finds it difficult to get into the colleges of their choice; but we do more of the same old stuff.
Creating a few more schools or allowing hundreds of colleges and private universities is not going to solve the crisis of education in the system. And the crisis is – we are in the society where children are spending their parent’s life saving and borrowed money on education and even then are not getting standard education and are struggling to find employment of their choice.
We also live in a society where people see education as the means of climbing the social and economic staircases. If the education system is failing then it is certainly not due to lack of demand for good education or because a market for education does not exist.
I believe that if you teach a man a skill, you enable him for a life time.
Knowledge is largely forgotten after the annual exam is over.

WSOS: What is your take on those who term politics to be a dirty game?
BA: Once, Sri Sri Sri Ravi Shanker said …
Nothing is dirty by itself. It is the people who make it dirty! If people’s mindset get into it, than they make it dirty. However, if youth with the right attitude get into they can make it better.

The quality of politics determines the quality of our lives. This is evident when one compares the politics in Singapore, Denmark, Japan and their standards of life.
In the Sikkimese context under the leadership and good politics of Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling the state had achieved a lot of things. Organic farming, Secularism, Zero Poverty, 10 minutes to earth, development of tourism sector,  power decentralisation to the grassroots, free education upto college level, free health services are really the greatest achievements of good politics.

As once, Karl Marx said…
“Politics that ignores the people and their needs is not politics but crime.”

WSOS: How important it is to involve students and youth in mainstream politics?
BA: We would have been a developed country in 15 years, had our best brains come forward to lead the nation. Good people are not in politics and that is the greatest regret. People look down on politics and politicians.
Comparatively young people have less responsibilities and more zeal towards the betterment of society. Youth have fresh and innovative ideas. Politics can be effectively framed by the young people themselves rather than old politician, who most probably cannot feel the contemporary problems young people are facing.
By making politics accessible to youth the negative perceptions on politics can be slowly erased from the minds of young people.

WSOS: What are you looking forward to do for Rhenock GPU as its Panchayat President?
BA: Oh my God!
Firstly, I believe in “Transparent Governance and Answerable Administration”
There is a lot to be done. But my highest effort is to grow economic status of the poor families. As I believe when the economic status of a family rises, they can afford good facilities, good education and good standard of life.
Yes, I know hard to do, but in the context of Sikkim, organic farming, tourism sector and skill development are some areas from where we can achieve economic prosperity for all our families.
Some issues on which I wanted to focus are:
• Problems related to solid waste management
• Creating a senior citizen friendly atmosphere
• Increasing literacy rate.
• Environmental values
• Anti drugs issues
• Career counseling etc.

WSOS: Your message to the youth of Sikkim.
BA: Be responsible, Be positive,  Lead your society.
As we are running with intellectual and good human resource crisis, try to feel and fill the crisis.

WSOS: Thank You Mr. President for sparing some time to talk to Wandering Soul of Sikkim for the Young Leader Series.

More in Young Leader Series : YOUNG LEADER: An Interview with Severine Rai (Zilla Panchayat, Assam Lingzey)

More in Young Leader Series:  YOUNG LEADER: An Interview with Lalit Pokhrel Sharma (President, SUSA)

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