In 1972, a family in a small village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh was blessed with a boy. He completed his initial education at Government school in the village itself. Later as a youth he was groomed by the Indian Army. From 1995 to 2005, he served in the Indian Army’s Artillery Regiment and actively participated in various operations where he proved his mettle as a great leader. So proud was his Village (Duhuak), of Major Sharma’s accomplishments that there is now a road named after him.
Meet, Maj Rakesh Sharma, Shaurya Chakra (Retd).
Helping the rural fight the pandemic
“The second wave of Covid -19 in our country has been devastating. In Mid-April 2021, I and few likeminded people realised that virus is spreading to smaller towns and rural areas too. As anticipated number of infections started going up in remote areas too. We immediately took steps to address the need. The medical infrastructure as well as expertise in these areas is minimum”, explains Rakesh.
He and his friends devised a strategy to move forward. A team consists of online dedicated volunteers and on-ground workers, some of them are ex-servicemen and many village volunteers came together during the catastrophe. “Spread over 10 villages of the district Pauri to start with as of now we have about 100 volunteers in Uttarakhand itself. This is purely a volunteer group mainly people coordinating from Delhi NCR, Dehradun ( Dun Volunteers Group ) and certain servicemen as well as youth on the ground. Also we were lucky to have actor Manoj Bajpayee with his words of encouragement supporting our work” narrates Rakesh.
“There are two-fold objectives- First to sensitize villagers before Covid spreads in their village. Do and Don’t are explained to them and basic safety medical aid is provided like masks and sanitizers. Second, in the areas where it is already spread, isolation rooms are notified and those positive are provided with steamers, oxygen and necessary medicine etc”.
“To maintain demand and supply is a challenge. The volunteers are required to climb uphill on foot to reach places. To the best of their ability, volunteers identify the houses having covid cases and relay the inputs to base location at Rishikesh and accordingly supply is despatched. Everything is carried out by a group of volunteers only. We cannot neglect villages as almost 70% of India still resides there. Rural India is devoid of good medical infrastructure and level of awareness amongst the villagers is little. They are mostly alienated and innocent. We need to do our bit for them”. Believes Rakesh.
Social development in other fields
After his tenure in the Army, he worked with various reputed brands for his living. He was very clear about his vision in the life. He wanted to do something for social upliftment. He did pioneer work in affordable housing for not so privileged. In 2013 Maj Rakesh was awarded with “Shikhar Samman” by a prominent national level NGO active, patronized by Mr. Virender Sehwag. Further in 2016 he was awarded with “Alwar Gaurav” by another NGO for his contribution on social development.
As a motivational speaker, first workshop Maj Rakesh framed was “There are No runners up” which was based on his actual Kargil War experience. The learning was devised to convey that its very critical to possess a winning attitude in life rather being a mere runner up. He is a prevalent invitee to share his thoughts on leadership and social development at various educational institutes.
Maj Rakesh through his own resources and efforts with team of dedicated personnel, operates a not-for-profit “Shaurya School”. This Nursery School works for not so privileged children of the society in Delhi. He is actively involved in many other social initiatives including those for Martyrs and Ex-servicemen.
Humble beginnings do not confine a person who is preordained for a greater cause.
Legend like Maj Rakesh Sharma along with his self-help groups, are helping combat Covid-19 on across the rural villages in the hills. Hav Sudesh Bhatt (Retd) an Everest climber is coordinating the entire efforts. The volunteers Col Hemant Sah, Lt Col Trilok Sharma, Maj Aditya Singh, Jagdish Bhatt, Arnav Ramola, Riya Bisht, Gayatri Sharma, Sandeep Raj, Deepak Sahdev are working tirelessly to support the cause.
Non-profit organisations, individuals and community initiatives are keen to chip in to work on the ground. The essential constituent is mutual trust. I request all contribute in whatever way they can. This is the time to fight the hidden enemy together. And what better purpose in life than to help fellow human in distress? A purpose which is higher and larger than your personal and professional goals. Be a winner – by being a good human being.
Maj Rakesh Sharma SC may be reached at: