Connect with us


Life lessons from a Paralympic champ and ace civil servant

Suhas L Yathiraj, IAS, District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar and the chief guest at the 102nd birth anniversary of Dr Stya Paul, gave an inspiring address to the Apeejay family



Mr Suhas L Yathiraj, IAS, District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar and the chief guest at the 102nd birth anniversary of Dr Stya Paul, being felicitated by Mrs Sushma Paul Berlia.

His resolve, determination and will-power have made him a beacon of hope for thousands of physically challenged sportspersons in the country. He has evoked an equally rapturous response from the tribe of civil servants ever since Suhas L Yathiraj, IAS, District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

For the last one and a half years, he’s been at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic management in Gautam Budh Nagar, and contained the spread of Covid-19 there. He has served as a special secretary in the planning Department of Government of Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow. Apart from his previous stints as district magistrate, he also served at many other posts in the government of Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Yathiraj has won many awards, while serving in his official capacity. In 2016 He became the recipient of Uttar Pradesh’s highest civilian honour the Yash Bharti. He’s been awarded for his performances for his duties related to elections and revenue administration. During his stint as district magistrate Azamgarh, he was shortlisted for Prime Minister’s Award for Exemplary work in the PM Jan Dhan Yojna on Civil Services Day, 2016.

Addressing the virtual audience at the 102nd birth anniversary of Dr Stya Paul, Founder Chairman, Apeejay Stya and Svran Group, the sportsperson par excellence and respected bureaucrat spoke about the subjects close to his heart. His clarity of vision and never-say-die spirit make for inspiring reading. Read on:

Tribute to a legend: To begin with, I have not had an opportunity to meet Dr Stya Paul Ji, but when I was hearing Sushma Berlia Ji speak, about the works and the legacy that Stya Paul Ji has left, I think there are some people who are remembered after they have long gone or after they have hung up their boots. I think he’s one such person who has created a legacy. We generally use the term legend very easily, but seeing the kind of work he has put in, I think he is a legend. Now let me speak about a few topics close to my heart.

Always have a dream: It is important to dream. If you look at how the great achievers in this world started in their life, they all dreamt of getting their ideas implemented into action. And generally, when you start, as they says a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. The first step is often the difficult one. And initially, you feel, will this dream become a reality? But, the first point is don’t be afraid to dream.

Follow your passion: Whatever you do in life, do it with passion. Passion is very important. Here you have one great artist Hariharan Ji, who is going to give us a performance. He is a living example of this. You see all successful people in their lives, whether it is doctors, engineers, lawyers, officers, sportspersons, actors. If you do something with passion, the results will always be better. Choose something that you are passionate about.

Stick to discipline: If you look at a common thread across all people who have left a mark on the world, they have all been disciplined in their life because without that, just having thoughts, just having an idea does not give you the results: you need to be disciplined.

Keep at the pursuit of happiness: The next point is very important. Very often we wonder, as I was hearing Sushma Ji talking about spirituality and other thoughts. What is the purpose and meaning of life? Each and every individual might find their own purpose. But one thing that we do is we all go in pursuit of happiness. Each and every individual tries to be happy. At least we try it every day. So I would say the pursuit of happiness in one’s life is very important. Always do something that gives you happiness, whether it is listening to songs, whatever, whatever gives you happiness, do it

Take on the challenges life throws at you: Next, again very befitting for Founder’s Day, the challenges in life. Let me tell you, destiny has, has not bestowed upon all good things to one person or to one institution, or to a single individual in life. Every person you meet has his or her own set of positives and drawbacks. It’s just that for some people it is apparent, or it is apparent through their lifestyle. But for some people, it is not apparent. Never feel that you are less fortunate than the next person. Very often what happens is we often think about what we have not got in life and we waste so much time thinking about it. If we think about the greatest scientific achiever of the 20th century after Einstein, it is Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking could not get up from his wheelchair, he couldn’t write or communicate. If he can become one of the best scientists of the century by only sitting on a wheelchair, we damn well not have any excuse for what we cannot achieve in our life. Let me tell you, when I was growing up in a small village, I used to think getting into a good college is a big achievement. I used to look at aeroplanes going by and thought one day, I too will sit in an aeroplane. From there, to getting into the best engineering college in Karnataka and then getting into civil services and becoming a Paralympic medallist, destiny will take you to places where you have never imagined. See, today I am sharing the dais with Sushma Ji and Hariharan ji, I never imagined it would happen so early in my life. It’s only that I kept dreaming, and I kept moving forward. So dream and keep moving forward and don’t bother always about the challenges.

Carry yourself with confidence: Confidence is one thing that you should have in abundance in your life because as I said before, you cannot escape challenges in life. It’s not the weight that weighs you down, it’s the way you carry the weight that weighs you down. So carry yourself with confidence and keep moving forward.

Script your own destiny: If you really want something in your life and you should work for it, you put your heart and soul into it, then destiny will conspire to give you that thing.

 Like Sushma Ji said, let me end by narrating two lines in Hindi that inspire me:Nigahon mein manjil thi, gire aur girkar sambhalte rahe, Hawaon ne bahut koshish ki, magar chirag aandhiyon mein jalte rahe. (Keeping my sights on the destination, I kept moving forward despite stumbling and falling and getting up again. The wind tried very hard to extinguish the lamp, but it kept burning through the storm).

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected]. He tweets @Aasheesh74