Renuka Vishwakarma is a native of Munsiyari, a frontier town in Uttarakhand state bordering Tibet and Nepal. Her father works in a shop while her mother takes care of the household. She has an elder brother studying B.Sc. (Nursing) in Dehradun. Renuka studied at Himalayan Inter College (HIC), Chaukori and received a scholarship from HImalayan Educational Foundation (HEF) from her class 5th to 12th.

Renuka is interested in studying history, especially the local history and how it impacted the larger national and international relations. As a native of the place that is strategically located at a trijunction of India, Nepal and Tibet, she informs us it played a vital role in a bigger historial picture, not much known to the outside world. Let’s now turn to Renuka to learn more about her life story and her interest in history.

Hi, Renuka. Welcome to “Himalayan Voices”. Can you tell us about your school education?

Thank you. I passed Intermediate in 2020 from HIC, Chaukori and then joined the Bachelor of Arts (BA) program in Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna (Garhwal) University. I am glad to inform you I successfully completed it and received my degree this year (2023). 

What are your favourite subjects and what inspired you to study them?

History has been a favourite subject from my childhood. My native place Munsiari is located on the border with Tibet. My forefathers were instrumental in filling the blank spaces on the maps of Asia. At that time the great game was at its height. It was  a competition between the British and Russian imperial powers to dominate central Asia. So the British government trained some of the ancestors in our valley in surveying and map making. 

Known as “the pundit explorers”, they travelled to Tibet in the guise of Buddhist monks and created maps of Tibet. I have been very curious to learn about the contribution my ancestors made to geographical knowledge. And how it affected the subsequent history of the continent. Hearing their stories in my childhood, I think, motivated me to study history as a major in my undergraduate degree. 

Very interesting. Going forward, what career do you hope to pursue? Something that allows me to work with people, share my knowledge and skills and ultimately be helpful to them.

What higher studies/ skills would you like to acquire?

I want to pursue B. Ed. ( Bachelor of Education) degree next.

What did you like about living in the hill country for school? 

I love hilly areas because they are calm and peaceful. It’s like a paradise for me.

What do you like to do in your leisure? 

Spending time with my family. Reading books and playing badminton.

What is your favourite book? 

“Wings of Fire” by the late president of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Do you travel? And what are the places you most liked?

Yes, Surkanda Devi temple which is located near Dhanaulti in the Uniyal village of Uttarakhand. It’s located at an altitude of 2740 mts and the views of the Himalayas from there are heavenly. Most of all I like the sense of calm that place gives, which is rare to find even in the HImalayas!

What are the challenges faced by the hill communities? 

Lack of education and employment opportunities, Lack of knowledge about basic sanitation.

What is needed in your village that would better the lives of people staying there? 

Education, economic development and creation of jobs in rural areas.

How would you like to contribute to the betterment of your native village / area?.

Whatever else I do in life, I would like to help people in whatever way I can. I want to help the community I am in by solving the problems that confront them. For example, I want to help kids who need additional teaching inputs in their studies by volunteering to give them tuition. And I want to create awareness about protecting the natural environment from pollution of various kinds.

What is your favourite memory of HIC? 

I liked the teachers and Principal at HIC .And everyone I met at my school was admirable in their own way .

What advice would you give the current HIC students?

If you are not sure of what career you would like to pursue, explore first your interests and talents. Hard work pays.

Thank you, Renuka. All the very best.

HEF wishes Renuka great success in her life and career. We are glad she is interested in the history of her native place and hope one day she brings to light more local stories of historical importance to the wider audience.

To contact Renuka

Phone: 8171738167

Email  : renukav047@gmail.com

December 30, 2023

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