“When life gives you lemons, you don’t only make lemonade, but distribute it to the needy as well,” believes Dr. Ekta Dhariwal. The daughter-in-law of Shri Shanti Dhariwal, the Urban Development Housing (UDH) Minister of the Rajasthan Government, Dr Dhariwal is fondly known as ‘Didi’ in Kota, Rajasthan. Her immense contribution in the Hadouti area speaks for itself. Dr Dhariwal also has a few firsts to her name, including that of being the only female chairperson of sports at Kota University, which comprises 196 affiliated colleges. Since 2013, she has been serving as the trustee of Arihant College of Nursing, Kota, and has introduced several advanced facilities there. Her confidence and passion stems from the fact that she sees life around her in a different way—there are no grey areas for her. “For me, what is correct is correct. I will be the first one to speak up when something wrong happens. People may or may not like it, but I prefer to stay true to myself,” she states.
The love of learning
Born and brought up in Agra, Dr Dhariwal went to St Patrick’s Junior School and completed her graduation from St Johnson College thereafter. While she wanted to study further, as things were at the time, her parents decided to get her married to a suitable man. She shares, “You could say that I got married at a young age and, as was bound to happen, and got caught up in family life. But once my children—daughter Arsi and son Garvit—grew up and pursued From being a daughter-in-law of the famed political Dhariwal family to carving a niche for herself through humanitarian and social initiatives and raising the bar for education and sports in Kota, Rajasthan, Dr Ekta Dhariwal is a woman of many pursuits.higher education, I decided to study further. Today, I think of those times as a sabbatical. I have now completed my Ph.D. and am pursuing D. Litt. Education is a neverending process, and one can devote his or her entire life to learning—age no bar.”
Dr Dhariwal has published a number of research papers in several national and international journals. She has completed 14 research papers on women empowerment, Jainism and Covid—one of the most recent ones being Celebrating Womanism in Rajasthan. Talking about her inspiration to work on this subject, she says, “When I began to pursue my Ph.D., choosing a topic became a challenge. I wanted to try one that had infinite possibilities and something that would help me understand our culture, its deep-rooted traditions and taboos, and shed light on aspects that are hitherto unrevealed. Hence, I decided to go ahead with this subject. There have been numerous writings and editorials on women in general, but not much has been talked about the women of Rajasthan in particular. I had a great time researching on this topic and was deeply moved by the plight of Rajasthani women. I vow to do everything I can to make their life better at every level.”
Towards social empowerment
Dr Dhariwal has been involved in a number of philanthropic activities. Amongst them all, the distribution of sanitary napkins to girls in schools and other areas is something that is closest to her heart. The work is done by Aksham Kalyan Sansthan, an NGO which aims to help people from all walks of life and is committed to raising the sanitary and cleanliness standards in Kota. It ensures that there is a regular and sufficient supply of sanitary napkins in most schools across Kota. “My journey of social work began when I got married. Seeing my father-in-law solving the problems of people and bringing a smile to their faces inspired me to work for the weaker sections of society. I began helping him out, and later joined full time in the capacity of the director,” she elaborates.