Head - Individual & Societies Department
Tell us about yourself Ashwani?
I am currently heading the Individual & Societies Department and teach Global Policies and Geography as subjects. Having completed MA and MPhil in Regional Development, I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. on climate change and its impact on women in agriculture. Before teaching, I have worked on various research projects as research-based socio-economic and political issues are of immense interest to me.
What inspired you to pursue your career as a teacher and your choice of subject?
I was not sure about teaching as a career option in the beginning when I was working with various research institutions. However, when I started teaching at the IAS coaching institute, I realized the importance and significance of teaching and felt that it was a good career option. Teaching IB is interesting, and since the curriculum is research-based, it is related to my pursuit as well. After teaching for several years when you see your students at various successful positions and universities, it gives you a feeling of pride and keeps you motivated.
Tell us about your Ph.D. subject?
My Ph.D. topic is "Climate Change, Agriculture and Gender Gap: A Comparative study of Semi-Arid and Dry sub-humid Regions of Haryana". My objective is to evaluate climate change beyond conventional impacts, and the increasing gender gap in agriculture as women are most vulnerable to the economic impacts of agriculture. My research also analyses the degrading socio-economic condition in the agriculture sector of Haryana and suggests methods of improving it through climate-resistant crops.
What resources are you using to pursue this?
To pursue this topic of research, I browsed a lot of literature to provide me with the base. I also utilised various online journals like JStor, SAGE and, Elsevier to help provide me the theoretical base. I collated facts and figures from IMD (30 years metrological data), NSSO unit-level data, Statistical abstract, etc.
What message would you like to give to the younger generation about climate and its current state?
I would like to give a very simple message to the younger generation that climate change and its impacts are inalienable, so we should be more sustainable in our daily life to minimize the impending risks. We need to be resilient and need to use clean technology. Greta Thunberg could be a good idol for them, and they should take their sustainable development goals seriously because their future relies on them.
Tell us about your personal life – your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Other than spending quality time with my family, I use my free time reading articles on socio-political issues to enhance my teaching and technical skills. I believe that good reading and good cinema helps in increasing perception and improve one’s thought-process.
Any favourite cuisine?
I spent most of my life in hostels hence I am not fussy about food. But given an option, continental cuisine would be my first choice.
Who is your idol and why?
I admire the works of the Environmentalist, Ms. Vandana Shiva for the different way in which she perceives the world. I also admire the work of Hollywood actor Tom Hanks for his perfection in work.
If you weren't a teacher, what else would you have been?
If I weren't teaching, I would be a researcher. I have already worked with FHI360, USAID, ILO, GIDR, and Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, which provides enough base for the choice.
Tell us about your experience at Pathways World School, how many years have you completed?
This is my sixth year at Pathways World School. I started as a teacher and subsequently got promoted to head the I&S Department. It is motivating when your organisation acknowledges your passion and hard work and helps you achieve greater heights in your career! I am enjoying a fulfilling tenure at Pathways and greatly value the support I get from my colleagues and the management.
What do you envisage as the impact of your doctoral research on Climate Change, Agriculture and Gender Gap in Haryana?
I hope my research will help changing the mindset of people towards climate change and its impact. I also expect some amendments in the policies of the government to achieve the change. The outcome of my research should be able to help empower women and reduce their social risk and vulnerabilities. This will encourage them to participate in the agriculture sector, thereby reducing the gender gap.
How do you, in your day-to-day life, address the issue of climate change? What measures have you adopted, if any, to reduce your carbon footprint?
As mentioned earlier, climate change is inalienable therefore we need to be more sustainable in our daily life. Reducing carbon footprints might help. We can reduce paper consumption and increase digital paper, reduce the use of electricity, use public transport, and use clean fuel. These are very simple measures that can be undertaken by everyone and as it is said – little drops make the mighty ocean. A simple concept of recycling and circular economy is not difficult to imbibe!