Nagpur: Hailing from a family of four sisters and a brother, the road to success was not as easy as it seems, for Harsha Jharia, Vice-Principal, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Textile and Fashion Design L.A.D College for Women.
Sharing her highs and lows which eventually led her to where she is today, Harsha Jharia revealed her harsh side of life which she refers as not a bed of roses.
Extraordinary student from an ordinary school
Harsha Jharia said that she comes from a family of four sisters and one brother. She said that her father was working as an Architect in Public Works Department in Bhopal and his salary was meager back in 1960. This meant that a lot of cost cutting was done by the family. Therefore, she did her schooling from a very Ordinary Government School in Bhopal since her father could not afford Convent Education for his children. She claimed that going to school and coming back too was a big effort, since she had to walk down 2 kilometers everyday to school.
After her schooling she did her Bachelor of Science with specialization in Home Science from Government Nutan Girls College in Bhopal. Her quest for getting a professional qualification led her to pursue Post Graduation in Textile and Clothing from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda situated in the city of Vadodara, in Gujarat in 1978. With years of experience in teaching, she is now a well recognized and reputed guide for Doctoral studies (Ph.D) for Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University.
Difficult shift from Hindi to English
While explaining about the problems she faced while pursuing her Post Graduation studies, she said that she found the Post Graduation course very tough due to change from Hindi medium to English medium. However, her father encouraged her and boosted her confidence to complete her education. Finances too were a problem while she was studying in Baroda. So she started taking tuitions for school students so that she could meet her hostel expenses.
She displayed her love for her parents, her sensitivity and understanding to the financial condition of their family (since that year her father had retired from his services) and never complained to her parents that she lived in hostel without even a fan.
Initial career days
She said that the initial period of her career was full of struggles. She said that she experimented with different kind of jobs. In 1978, she started her career as a Fashion Designer with Mrignayani of Madhya Pradesh Emporium in Bhopal. Meanwhile she got an opportunity to work as Industrial Garment Designer. This was followed by a job of teaching. She also worked as Lecturer in Asha Niketan in Bhopal for one year. Finally as destiny decided, in 1980 she joined Lady Amritabai Daga College for Women, Seminary Hills as a Lecturer and Head of the Department in Textile and Clothing. She has been there since.
Family taught a lot
With a lot of pride she exclaimed that whatever she is today, she owes it to her parents. She claimed that she learnt honesty, dedication towards work from her late father who was Chief Architect for Madhya Pradesh Government. Some of the buildings that he has designed in Bhopal still speak volumes about his works. She said that she learnt patience and tolerance from her mother who was a successful housewife. She claimed that she was also motivated by her eldest sister who is a Doctor and former Associate Dean of Imperial College, London.
Inspiration while pursuing education
While she was pursuing her post-graduation in Textiles and Clothing from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, she was inspired by her teachers who showed her that teaching has its own greatest rewards. Their caring attitude and motivation made a deep impact in her life. She claimed that she loves to teach and learn. She added that teaching gives her immense joy since she loves to share everything she has learnt with her students.
Teacher with the right attitude
The reason she chose to become a teacher was to try and make a difference in everyone of her students’ life, just like her own teachers. She felt that her efforts would influence the lives of our youth in a positive way. She added that she is connected with more than 2000 former and present students through social media. She claimed that she is involved in motivating and inspiring them on a daily basis. She added that she often has to counseling them on their personal problems.
35 years of wonderful journey at LAD
While elaborating about her journey of 35 years in Lady Amritabai Daga College she exclaimed with pride that it has given her a wonderful opportunity to take her department from Under-Graduate Course in Textile to Post Graduate course in Fashion design since she was the Chairman of Fashion Design Studies in Nagpur University. She also got the opportunity to design all the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate courses related to Fashion and Textile Design. She added that in the meantime, she also got associated with different Universities in India and became a part of designing their syllabus too.
Other than academics she started organizing and choreographing fashion shows for a cause (Cancer Survivors, Save Tiger, Save Environment, promoting Handloom fabrics etc.) She claimed that she has a passion not only for teaching fashion designing to students but also in inspiring and guiding them for their future. She has also been giving training to the final year students competing in Miss LAD- Personality Contest since the past two decades. She claimed that this is one of the major events of LAD College. She added that it is wonderful to witness a remarkable change in their personalities which further helps them become successful career women.
In her message to the youngsters: She said that be focused and plan your career right from the beginning, when you choose a subject of your interest for degree course. Selecting a college where you get a good quality education is very important to excel in your field. Believe in yourself, have positive attitude towards life and complete all tasks within their deadlines. Make a commitment, plan and take action. Create a positive personal impact and ensure that you’re at your best in whatever you do. Networking and relationship building is also essential for success in life & career today. Persevere and do not leave your job initially till you prove yourself as the best among others. Adapt the habit of being punctual and always accept the challenges without any fear in mind and be brave enough to face hurdles at your workplace like professional jealousy and workload. Do not run after money as job satisfaction will be crucial to your happiness. Sincerity, honesty and hard work pay in long run to excel in any career.
– By Samuel Gunasekharan