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The Art of Man-making: ‘Instead of feeling insecure, I take inspiration from those who do better than me’

The winner of Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values shares why she is inspired by President Draupadi Murmu



Punya Dewan, who is pursuing MA in English at present, does not believe in measuring her success in relation to what others have achieved. Self-belief and a strong zeal to work hard are what drives her. And when it comes to releasing stress, she relies on writing. The second-year student from Apeejay College of Fine Arts (ACFA), who recently won the Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values, tells us more about her role model and sources of inspiration:

You have won Apeejay’s most prestigious award. How does it feel?

I feel really grateful. I am honoured to have been selected by my teachers among so many students. This achievement is equally encouraging and inspiring. I will do my best to live up to my mentors’ expectations.

Also Read: The Art of Man-making: ‘I try to imbibe Mother Teresa’s virtues in my life’

What values do you uphold in your daily life?

Keep going — that is my mantra. One should not give up, no matter what. Ups and downs are a part and parcel of life, but it is up to you how you handle them. If you are determined, things will eventually fall into place. One should keep putting in the best effort and trying without worrying about the results.

What words of advice have you received from your parents?

They have told me to be bold and at the same time be grateful to others. My parents have taught me that there is always something to be thankful for amid all other regrets.

Who is your role model?

President Draupadi Murmu is someone who really inspires me. She is the second woman politician to hold office after Pratibha Patil. Despite belonging to a tribal community, she defied all societal challenges and stereotypes to reach a position of power. Apeejay’s late founder Dr Stya Paul’s journey is equally motivating — he too braved physical disability and other odds to build the renowned seat of learning that Apeejay is today. He is also my role model.

As a woman of today, what do you think of gender equality?

I think women have proven they are no less than men in any aspect. There is no field where women haven’t made their presence felt. There are so many women leaders now whom we look up to. Women deserve equal opportunities in life and should not be looked down upon.

In an age of cut-throat competition, do you ever get insecure about others’ success?

I believe in focusing on myself rather than pulling anyone down. I don’t feel insecure if others are doing better than me. If someone is doing something good, I would rather take inspiration from them and perhaps learn some lessons from them. I think everybody is different and comes with their own set of capabilities. So, I never compare myself with others.

Why did you choose to pursue a master’s degree in English?

I completed my graduation in Applied Arts from ACFA and then enrolled for a master’s degree. I have been passionate about writing since childhood. I like to pen down my thoughts, especially through poems and articles. I have also been helping my father — who runs an advertising agency — with copywriting. So, I thought pursuing a degree in English would help me hone my skills further. I believe this course can open up many career avenues for me.

While coping with a vast syllabus, do you find time to exercise your creativity and write just for yourself?

I do not like to sit idle. Whenever I have some free time, I just take out my diary and scribble my thoughts or learn new words to improve my vocabulary. It is a therapeutic exercise and helps release stress. Writing helps vent my feelings.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.