Anjula Karki IAS
I look back on the year spent at the Academy starting 1967 as a period of serious study, active interaction with colleagues, enthusiastic participation in extra-curricular activities and festivities. We were youngsters and these were the first steps on our journey to becoming public servants. We remember these years that opened the doors to a beautiful world with fondness and nostalgia.
As we embarked on this journey every one of us had set out to accomplish a goal. The judicial and executive training under the tutelage of the D.M. and Commissioner, followed by immersive experiences at the Tis Hazari Courts, provided me with the solid training required to begin my career. My world was opened up further during the nine years that I spent at the Shimla Secretariat where I was involved in various aspects of administration, welfare and vigilance. These years were also critical to my work, helping me become more receptive to people of varying backgrounds and with different concerns.
My husband Major General Karki retired from the Corps of Engineers. My life as an army wife opened up a new window to life. On the personal front, I threw myself into military life, actively working in the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA). I worked as Secretary AWWA in the Central command in Lucknow and also as Vice President AWWA, College of Military Engineering in Pune. The activities of the organization were varied. Therefore, when I took voluntary retirement later, I had experienced civil life in my professional capacity and army life in my personal capacity. The experiences I had across these two worlds engendered in me a sense of wanting to continue serving and productively using my time, energy and skills.
The area I chose to focus on was the environment. In Delhi, around the year 1995, I made small beginnings. Guided by noted environmentalist Dr. Iqbal Mullick, Director of the NGO ‘Vatavaran’, I participated in environmental sustainability initiatives related to vermiculture, compost pit digging, landfills, waste management and garbage disposal. Efforts to foster greater inclusion and equity took the form of organizing traditionally marginalized rag pickers from the informal sector.
My work on community led environment initiatives highlighted for me how the physical and spiritual aspects of our lives are inseparable and, if one state is elevated, then the other is affected too. Indeed, the environment and the individual self are intrinsically and synergistically linked and conscious nurture of one will always have a positive ripple effect on the other.
Today, greater awareness has spurred the notion of environmental ethics, at both individual and organizational levels. Companies recognize the importance of environment- friendly practices, reflecting the widespread recognition of, and commitment to ecologically and socially sustainable growth.
The concept of environmental auditing, benchmarking the quantum of work actually done versus the promises made, has also gained currency. This testifies to the seriousness that is accorded to protecting the environment.
We are all still overflowing with a powerful life force. Hence, we should strive joyfully and purposefully to fulfill our own personal missions. For me, that would mean continuing to dedicate myself to the environment