KATHMANDU, APRIL 04
On April 6, a year after the intended date, Harshvardhan Joshi, fighting every pandemic adversity, will begin his mammoth expedition to scale Mt Everest from Kathmandu.
At 25, and from a small town near Mumbai, the IT engineer is fuelling his passion and dream to scale the peak with a purpose of sustainability.
While most young men and women are busy climbing the corporate ladder, amassing their fortune, and working on their personal agenda for success, Joshi is an anomaly. For the past seven years, the young man has worked towards his dream with a rare tenacity, and today he stands as a youth ambassador for Project Chirag, the flagship initiative of Chirag Rural Development Foundation.
Project Chirag works towards solar electrification in villages with little or no access to the electricity grid.
Over 11 years they have worked in 11 states all over India, impacting over 110,000 lives.
He makes no bones of his beliefs. "Surviving at the bare minimum, utilising all available resources to the maximum, wasting nothing is a way of life. In fact, it's the only way we will survive as a species."
With the sun on his back, literally, Joshi will spend the next 45 days making this treacherous climb, with a multifaceted vision - to raise the Indian flag, to inspire more youth to waste less, forge forward for dreams, and understand the joy and peril of nature.
A firm supporter of sustainability and rural development, on completing his mission he will work towards electrifying villages with Project Chirag, giving those in the Nepal hinterland access to their basic rights - the right to light, the right to life.
"Youth inspires us. Youth powers us. And when they see what the situation is in the villages, it awakens a lifelong alchemy in them," says Pratibha Pai, founder of Project Chirag. "To truly catapult these villagers out of poverty, we have devised a simple yet effective solar system that pulls water from a nearby water source to the highest point in a village. And then we use gravity to supply it to all the farmers for irrigation, filtration for drinking, and all other uses. With water and light, our villagers have a new zen to thrive. And Harsh will be our torch bearer, climbing Everest to share the power of sustainability."
A version of this article appears in the print on April 05, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.