Welcome to Wandering Soul of Sikkim !
Today in our Young Achiever Series, we present Dinesh Acharya. He is presently engaged as a Research Associate with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Born and raised in a hamlet called Kaputhang, near Pakyong in East-Sikkim he completed his primary and secondary level schooling from near is home (Kaputhang Primary School and Mamring Senior Secondary School) and his senior secondary level schooling from Rhenock Senior Secondary School. Always curious about Science particularly Physics and Engineering since his childhood, Dinesh used to spend his time hooked up with Physics textbook and some practical experiments at home with available components from old electronics devices. Despite his family’s interest to see him as a Doctor he opted for engineering in Electrical and Electronics from Visveswaraya Technological University, Karnataka. His childhood was spent in the countryside enjoying nature because he always found time spent with nature more pleasant and exciting. After working for few years in Hydroelectric power plant development and electric power system he decided to work in the area of Energy and Environment, so he joined United Nations Development Programme. Here’s the excerpts of our interview with our Young Leader:
Wandering Soul of Sikkim (WSOS): Your Journey started as a student of one of the village schools in a remote corner of Sikkim, and you have risen up to work with an organisation as wonderful as UNDP. Would you like to share with us, something about the journey?
Dinesh Acharya(DA): Education was always challenging for me as I’ve started schooling from the small village. Lack of information, unavailability of necessary information and career counselling during the school time was the huge setback, I was very much interested in engineering since from the young age and I never had a second thought about study except engineering till the time of getting admission in the college, maybe my passion and strong desire helped me to reach my goal despite many challenges. I dedicate a considerably small amount of time for the job in UNDP, as I have skills and experience about energy system but I was very new in the area of the environment and climate change, so I am having a good time learning new kinds of stuff and working in sustainable development and making difference at the bottom portion of the population, and the United Nations was always my dream since my school days but I was not sure about working with the UN because my specialization in graduation was unmatchable for their requirement, but my work experiences buttressed to prepare me for working in the UN. I took up job in hydroelectric power plant after my graduation, then I joined Powergrid ( A Indian government agency) which works in construction and maintenance of power transmission lines and sub-stations all over the India , after working for few months in Powergrid I feel like I do not want to work in only power system but I am more interested to explore the alternatives of energy sources and new technologies to protect environment, so I start looking for the job which exposes me in the area of energy system and the environment at the same time, so I landed in the UNDP.
WSOS: Would you like to share something about your project in the UNDP?
DA: Working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Energy and Environment sector is interesting and also challenging to come out with the result to solve various problems at the community level, my job particularly deals with the environment change, energy system and its impact. The mission is ‘Market transformation and removal of barriers on implementing national level and state level action plan for climate change’, where the main goals are renewable energy adaptation, sustainable habitat, sustainable agriculture, strategic knowledge on climate change and some other strategic approach towards fighting climate change. To catalyse the strategic clean energy action plan, I am working with the government, stakeholders, and financial institutions advocating various policies on adopting the environment-friendly approach and the clean energy technology. Conducting workshop, brainstorming with the departmental heads on adopting clean energy, efficient transportation, waste reduction, and waste-to-energy generation at the community level to build a solid foundation for achieving climate change action plan. Besides, I am conducting research on an impact of the transportation sector, industrial sector, power sector, municipalities for waste management in the state of Manipur. And UNDP is installing Solar PV plants at few of the remotely located healthcare centres where the power availability from the grid is intermittent to facilitate rural people and encourage them to harness solar power. At the bottom level, I am working with the small businesses to foster their business of food drying, spices grinding, and milling by solar energy to meet their livelihood and increase profit. The main goal of the Energy and Environment section of the UNDP is to adopt clean energy and reduce carbon emission by limiting energy generated from the coal-fired power plant and similar other sources of high carbon emission.
WSOS: What do you think should young people improve in themselves to be able to get an opportunity to work with intergovernmental organisations?
DA: Everything starts in mind, anyone who wants to do something should frame their mind and stick on to it for the quite longer time, then comes what is required for the particular things, working for the intergovernmental organisation demands specialization in global issues, something which are similar for all the people around the world, like healthcare, poverty, social injustice, corruption, climate change, good governance, economic development etc., they are same for all around the world, if anyone has a knowledge of working in particular geographical location they can work anywhere in the world. Now talking about being equipped with the necessary skills, one needs to focus on how something can help the entire people in the world, how some particular model of different place can be implemented in own community or vice-versa, this kind of understanding will provide broad perspective about various global issues. Besides willingness and dedication, I think only two things are required by someone who wants to work with the intergovernmental/ international organisation, good knowledge of the specialized area of education and language for effective communication, particularly English. But the awareness is crucial among young people in Sikkim, in most of the cases they don’t know where to go. Everything is available online, anyone can find the necessary information on the internet, what I suggest young people is to carry out some research on the area of their interest and find out what exactly they want to do and the area or organisation they are interested to work, it will help in having a clear goal. With a little perseverance, everything is possible.
WSOS: How do you spend your time at home, your hobbies and pastimes?
DA: I spent my leisure time taking short trips to silent places especially to the monasteries and hilltops whenever I am in Sikkim, I prefer less crowded and silent place. When I am away from Sikkim, I love to visit old settled places where the actual cultural reflection of the ethnic people can be found. Eating local cuisines, travelling in public transport, and having a conversation with local people, and understanding their way of life are some of my favourite activities. I love to walk in the forest or parks during the dusk and know about the name of the trees and their special characteristics, that become one of my hobbies. If I have to sit inside the house, I like to play the guitar, reads books, and watch documentaries. I am very interested in Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics, these two subjects explore everything from the atoms to the universe, maybe all the secret of nature hide inside there.
WSOS: Something about your musical interests and your favourite books.
DA: My musical taste is peculiar, I love the music of the 70s and 80s, those time were the golden era of the rock music, unfortunately I was born in the next decade, but I love to remain there and enjoy the real taste of music, some of my favourite bands/artists are The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, U2, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Guns and Roses, and Nirvana. I love some Hindi and Nepali music of that era but there were few artists at that time. During the college time, I used to read Jeffery Archer, Dan Brown, Paulo Coelho, especially novels but now I like to read books on philosophy, spirituality, biographies, self-help books and books written by successful peoples on their area of specialization. I always read books, in fact, I always have more than two books reading simultaneously, right now I am reading The Prophet by Khalil Gibran and just started I do What I Do by Raghuram Rajan. Among the books I’ve read in 2017, my favourite books are, The Great Expectation by Charles Dickens (which I love to reread), Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemmingway, and the works of Swami Vivekananda. I read lots of books and watched the videos on Youtube by Sadhguru in 2017 including Inner Engineering and Adhiyogi, I am quite influenced by his philosophies. Some of my favourite poems are The Summer Day and few more by Mary Oliver, Crossing the Bar by Tennyson Baron, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas, and contemporary Hindi poems by Kumar Vishwas and couplets of Kabir and Nepali poems of Lekhnath Poudyal and Laxmi Prashad Devkota.
WSOS: Your message to the youth of Sikkim.
DA: Do not complain and make excuses! These two things are the easiest way to solve big problems but quite expensive when you look back in the future. You cannot change the entire situation to make favourable for you but it’s easier to prepare yourself to achieve something great in the existing scenario and make difference. Do not get discouraged by few setbacks, you can’t simply succeed in everything you do, everybody fails, only failures provide a wonderful experience, nothing is wasted if you really learn from every event of life. Decide what you want to do in your life as early as possible and have a clarity of your goal, listen to your heart, do not be influenced by anything or anyone, be strong at will and intellectually, whatever you do something, do at the best level. Take care of your physical and mental health, you have to go long way with your body and mind, nothing else follows you till the last breath, once you lose them, they won’t restore. Create some beautiful memories, be gentle with everything around you, be the kindest person, and dare to dream big and work tirelessly to achieve them. Do not limit yourself, we all are going to die one day, what scares you to try something you always want to do in your life?, make this new year starting point of your giant dream, take care of yourself and work intensely towards attaining your goal, life is too short to be little. I wish you happy and prosperous new year 2018. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish 🙂
WSOS: Happy New Year Dinesh. Thank You for talking to us for the Young Achiever Series.