Politics must be a selfless service – Shivani Kumari, Art of Living Teacher

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Shivani Kumari and other youngsters from Hyderabad celebrating International Day of Yoga at Hyderabad
Shivani Kumari and other youngsters from Hyderabad celebrating International Day of Yoga at Hyderabad

Shivani Kumari, Infosys Engineer, Social Activist & Art of Living Teacher
Shivani Kumari, Infosys Engineer, Social Activist & Art of Living Teacher

On the auspicious occasion of the International Yoga Day, iDiya.net has launched “My Happy World” interview series, that makes people from various walks of life pause from their busy life to spend a few moments’ time to ponder on what gives them Happiness and how they can contribute to a Better World, through their thoughts and actions.

This is one small step by iDiya Foundation towards fulfilling former Indian president Late Dr. Abdul Kalam’s dream of an Enlightened Society, a Beautiful World – a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous World. Let’s co-create a better India and a better world envisioned by Dr. Kalam. The Change starts from YOU.. When you start becoming a little Happier than yesterday, then this world has already become a slightly better place than yesterday!

iDiya.net is interviewing thought leaders, change makers and unsung heroes from diverse backgrounds about their simple ways of being Happy and making others Happy!

Krishna Reddy, CEO – iDiya Labs & Founder - iDiya Foundation, Chief Editor - iDiya.net
Krishna Reddy, CEO – iDiya Labs & Founder & Chief Editor – iDiya.net

On auspicious occasion of International Yoga Day iDiya.net Founder and Chief Editor Krishna Reddy interviews Shivani Kumari, a 23 year old social activist and  Art of Living Happiness program teacher who is working as an engineer in Infosys. She is a Happy, energetic and creative youngster who passionately works towards uplifting the society around her. In this interview Shivani talks about her inspiring work and ideas for a better world.

Krishna Reddy: Shivani, Its a pleasure for us to publish your interview on iDiya.net. Tell us about briefly about yourself.

Shivani Kumari: Its my great honor Krishna to be interviewed on such a huge platform for the first time in my life, thank you so much for recognizing and appreciating my efforts. At present I am working in Infosys, Hyderabad as an engineer, I am also an Art Of Living Teacher. And I am pursuing my masters degree in Good Governance and Public Policy from Hyderabad Central University. I was born and brought up in Hyderabad. My native place Bihar, the land where Gautama Buddha got Enlightened, has been my inspiration to towards spirituality and social service. My father is a very senior Nuclear Scientist with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), he has been my inspiration in hard work, & discipline and he has kindled scientific temperament in me. My mother is a homemaker, who nurtured me in her unconditional love and taught me to love without expectations. My grandfather was a communist leader and a great follower of Karl Marx and as a child I have seen him living his socialistic values and that inspired me from a younger age to get into social service and serve society. He was a great inspiration, he never wanted anything for himself, I had not seen him much but have heard a lot about him that he used to live his life for others and even if he didn’t have bread and butter for that day, he would make sure others around him had a bread for that day. Great human being he was.

Krishna:
What makes You Happy?!
Shivani: Simple pleasures of life like singing in the moonlight, seeing each individual around me rise to their highest potential and expand in happiness, getting to meet spiritual masters and be in their company, spending time with mother in the kitchen, meditation, unplanned holiday tours, meeting new people. Taking up problems that really matter to the lives of people and solving them, taking it as my own purpose makes me happy and fulfilled.

Krishna: What have been your Service Activities so far?
Shivani: There are quite a number of activities that I have done along with my friends from the time of my school days. As a kid we would make tree houses and build shelters for the stray dogs, and now uplifting human lives is what i enjoy doing the most and serving society by identifying the root cause of the problems and solving them at the grass root level is what we enjoy doing. For example, in the case of corruption we proactively organised voter ID registration drives to make as many people as possible to come out and vote for the politicians to realize the soft power and power of people in democracy.

Right now am in discussions with the PMO India (Prime minister office) as they are returning the letters of changes and refinement in the system suggested by top bureaucrats and joint secretary level officers, to the top bosses against whom they are writing in the letters about corruption and misuse of power and ultimately harassment of sincere officers is taking place in their respective departments, right now it is my solo battle, but my purpose is clear – to establish a governance that is accountable and approachable to common man and a transparent justice system in India. Towards this I seek help and support of everyone who wants to be a part of this endeavor .

To know more about this you can always reach me out on Twitter.

Krishna: What are your Unique Skills?
Shivani: I don’t hesitate to talk anyone, I smile (sometimes laugh too!) even when my manager is very serious about the deadlines :). And my sense of humor is my strength.

I am yet to identify my other unique skills, but thanks for the question it has opened up something in me to think about my uniqueness!
Krishna:
What is your idea of heaven?

Shivani: Yes yes. A place where the definition of democracy written in our books exists 🙂
Where every human being who doesn’t meditate is an alien :p . Every single human being on this planet realizes that this planet is his / hers; It is our responsibility to take care of it.
Krishna: What is your Great Idea that could potentially transform the world?!

Shivani: Parliamentary sessions in India should begin with prayers and meditation! Politics must become (a selfless) service and not a profession or business.

Krishna: What is our success formula?
Shivani: Everyday meditation, dream big and live simple, guidance of a wise teacher, willingness to learn and not maintaining prejudice about anything in life, respect elders and be sensitive to your parents and always be in sharing mode with everyone around you. Take up big challenges, bigger the challenge more does your creativity and intuition comes to play. What works best for me is always having a focus on something really big in life whenever a silly problem is not leaving me!

I practice regularly Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique which has helped me in being intuitive, creative and responsive to uncertain situations and has helped me maintain high enthusiasm, energy and confidence when nothing around you seems to be working! I will really not believe a person being successful if he has not known spirituality or has never meditated or known the importance of human values.

Krishna: What are your Health Tips?
Shivani: I follow a very simple tips and lifestyle to keep myself healthy:
  • Sleep well, not too less or too much!
  • Eat vegetarian food and only in the required quantity.
  • Meditate everyday just like brushing everyday.
  • Do some breathing exercises everyday.
  • Be happy unconditionally.
  • Get involved in some service activity around you.
  • Be in the company of happy and positive people.

Krishna: What are your future plans / dreams / goals ?
Shivani: I haven’t made any future plans yet, but yes I am focused on what am doing presently and that includes balance of my work and personal life. I love to inculcate enthusiasm and hope in everyone’s life around me. Yes it is my dream to be part of Public Policy Making in Indian democracy. I would like to help in combating green house effect, conserve natural resources and work for the environmental sustainability.

Krishna: Being an Art of Living Teacher, you regularly teach Yoga and meditation. So according to you, what is the significance of Yoga?
Shivani: Yoga is a universal science that helps to maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind, some people associate yoga with religion which is not correct. If we eat pasta we don’t become Italian, similarly if we practice Yoga we don’t get converted into some religion, religious fanaticism about Yoga should be dropped and Yoga should be accepted as an integral part of healthy living across the world. Yoga is a great science and just by a little practice everyday it gives a great relaxation and flexibility to the body. योगः कर्मसु कौशलम्| Yogah Karmasu kaushalam. Yoga gives skill to handle the ups and downs of life, yoga gives the skill to handle uncertainties in life and in the end it lets you blossom as a great human being. I am so grateful to the United Nations Organisation for declaring 21st June as The International Day of Yoga.
Krishna: What do you think is the role of media (print, online, TV, cinema, radio) in building a better world?
Shivani: I tell you.. media plays a major role (in nation rebuilding). In every house elders of the family switch on the television for the news headlines in the early hours of the day and all the kids and everyone in a family no matter how ever busy they are but at their sub conscious mind are listening to the news and reacting to it. It has become such an integral part of our lives that it cannot be avoided.
Media/cinema/TV etc can influence people more than anything else and that’s why I believe media should play a constructive role of inspiring the youth, establishing faith in the goodness of the world, highlighting the richness and goodness of the silent transnational work happening in making this world a better place, rather than focusing too much on violence and inculcating hatred towards a few sections of the society. Media has the potential to bring a great positive revolution in our country, but biased journalism has ruined its purpose.

Shivani Kumari discussing the issue of corruption in Indian Bureaucracy and seeking His advice on  a potential solution to renowned Spiritual Leader & Enlightened Master Sri Sri Ravishankar who is the founder of the International NGO Art of Living

I tell you when a simple man like Sri Sri Ravishankar could win the hearts of millions of people in the world and just a short span of 35 years of his service to mankind has transformed so many lives then media which is already strongly influencing every household, if turns itself towards nation building and focuses on its true purpose then making this world will become a better place in no time.I wish and hope strongly that media rises above this on-going yellow journalism and shifts itself towards its true purpose then it will last long and will transform the society and gain love and respect of the people.

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