Nasir Khan, at just 21, became the youngest Sarpanch in Bijopur of Haryana. For this, he was awarded the UcchaYuvaShikshit in 2018. One of his most notable moves was building more than 96 toilets in his village for the safety as well as the healthcare of the poor. His ultimate vision is to maintain literacy and hygiene for all. Nasir Khan and his ideas and views gained a wider audience after his inspiring TedxTalk, where he spoke simply about Responsibility towards our country. Hailed as a modern-day sarpanch, he gained online and media attention after participating in MTV Ace Of Space 2 in 2019. Lookout while Nasir talks about Storiyaan!
Questions and answers
You were a contestant in the "ace of space 2". Can you tell us about the experience?
‘Ace of space2’ was unprecedented, which took me to an atmosphere that I was never exposed to before. But I would accept that it helped me grow as a person, taught me resilience, and infused in me lots of patience, besides giving me many new friends for life. So I believe that every experience comes with an opportunity to learn new things and adds value to your life; you must have the right approach and outlook.
We all have watched the TEDxTalk you gave at your university. Could you give us a little insight into what inspired you for that?
I have never been a very extrovert or forthcoming person and was very stage shy. But at the same time, I have always faced fears and obstacles head front, whenever I got an opportunity to do so. So when the university approached me, I had an adrenaline rush, but, at the same time, I was like, ‘why not,’ let me prove to my alma mater that its alumnus is making it proud. I’m a firm believer of ‘Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.’
How do you feel about receiving an award for Uccha Yuva Shikshit for being the youngest Sarpanch?
On receiving this award, more than being happy for myself, I felt proud about setting the precedence for my successors and the youth of India. Politics is one place where you don’t need a qualifying percentage or qualification, and we have become experts in criticizing and condemning, but nobody wants to step in. So it is high time that the educated youth of the nation, steps into the political system and work as an insider and lead the change he/she expects.
What are your views on the current political state of our country- taking the lead with the Pandemic?
Our nation has done exemplary well and handled the situation very wisely and efficiently. Taking control of such a large population, keeping them under lockdown, was a very tough decision keeping in view the economy and other obstacles. Still, at the same time, this averted a major crisis we could have got into, considering that we needed time and preparation to face large scale emergencies. I have been working proactively with my village, making regular announcements, sanitation, sensitization of people, arranging for essentials, and necessities for the underprivileged. These are the testing times for all of us, and I’m sure, together, we will come out winners.
Did you always know that you wanted to enter politics?
Just like any other young lad, I had different aspirations. I had always been very regularly visiting my native village and very attached to our roots. I wanted to do something for the people of my village. I came to know about the upcoming Sarpanch elections and discussed it with my family that I want to contest. They supported my decision, and I got the love and support of all my people and came out as a winner. Then, there was no looking back.
A lot of people don't know much about you. Tell us at least 3 of your secrets- that could be shared.
I Am not a very secretive person. My life has been an open book. I am not at all manipulative and just cannot fake. But still, I’ll share some things which not all know,
1. I am a fitness freak, very passionate about health and keeping in shape.
2. I am a mama’s boy. I love my mother a lot. Even now, her arms are where I find solace after the toughest of days.
3. I am a very sensitive and emotional person. My tough demeanor covers my very compassionate inner self.
How was your upbringing- was it privileged or normal? How do you think it has shaped you today?
I was privileged in many ways, but I owe to my parents for never letting us feel superior. I have done my schooling as a boarder, away from the comforts of home, which helped me become independent and self-reliant. I have seen my father toil hard and always help others, that is from where I picked values of giving back to society and serving the needy.
What are your opinions about the education system today?
The education system today focuses on the holistic development of learners and making them future-ready. It is praiseworthy that an emphasis is being laid on skill development; also, the area the school education was lacking. This will make students employable and even empower them to create employment, rather than looking for one. The learners today have a lot of exposure to technology and information. Hence, schools need to cater to the needs of these students and make them adept at making the right life choices.
What are your plans for the future concerning politics and media?
Media just happened; you can say it acts as a resting spot in the journey. I aspire to take my political journey ahead in full stride so that I can serve and give back to society. When I see the girls of my village going to school with their heads held high, my village is open defecation free, pukka houses for underprivileged families, the smiles on their faces motivates me to keep moving and to take my political journey further.
Who inspires you, both: in general and as a politician?
In general, my father inspires me a lot. His story is that of rags to riches, and he shares that with pride. He shares proudly the menial jobs he has done during his struggle and has always remained grounded and humble even after achieving so much in life. As a politician, I have always been inspired by the life of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. His simplicity and honesty are exemplary. He is proof that you can stay pure and untouched by corruption if you have a strong character.