Meet J&K’s Scholar Sarpanch


Taking a cue from their counterparts in other states, many highly qualified candidates are this time contesting ongoing Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir to bring a change at the grassroots level.

Sindhu Bhalla Sharma

Sindhu Bhalla Sharma, a highly qualified lady, from the remote Thakrie area of district Kishtwar is one such example.  Bhalla, wife of Shrawan Sharma of village Anjole, with an MPhil degree in Sanskrit, is a candidate for the position of Sarpanch in her village.

Bhalla says she was inspired by Chhavi Rajawat, one of India’s youngest Sarpanchs, a one-woman army who seeks to drag her impoverished ancestral village in the desert state of Rajasthan into the 21st Century.

Pertinently, Rajawat,  an MBA graduate quit her corporate career with one of the country’s biggest telecom firms to become the Sarpanch of Soda in Rajasthan and has been working ever since to bring clean water, solar power, paved roads, toilets and a bank to the village. The tech-savvy 36-year-old often hailed as the changing face of rural Rajasthan, also made a well-received address to delegates at the UN’s 11th Infopoverty World Conference in 2011.

“Impressed by Rajawat’s commitment to the development of her ancestral village in Rajasthan, I decided to contest the Panchayat Polls to contribute in some way bring whatever change possible to my far-off village,” Bhalla said.

Another highly qualified woman Arti Sharma from a far-flung village of Udhampur is a candidate for the position of Sarpanch in Ghordi Khass West Kulan, Ward Number 6, Tehsil Ramnagar in district Udhampur.  Arti is eager to serve the people of her native Panchayat and contribute towards the uplift of the women. “There are many burning issues that I want to plead and resolve if I am given mandate by the people. I wish to lead and guide the rural women towards empowerment,” said Arti.

Dr Prithvi Raj, with PhD in Botany, is a Sarpanch candidate from the remotest Loharna-A Panchayat in Dacchan area of district Kishtwar.

Similarly, Mansoor Hussain, with Masters in Political Science and English, is a Sarpanch candidate from the remotest Loharna-B Panchayat in Dacchan area of district Kishtwar.

All these highly educated young men and women are keen to work for the development of their respective rural pockets.

“Funds are flowing to rural bodies. My primary concern will be to see that funds are judiciously utilised and not siphoned off,” said Mansoor Hussain.

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