Akriti Jamwal. Updated: 5/1/2019 11:06:25 AM We the Women

Dr. Sapna Kamal Sangra

In this edition of ‘We The Women’, we are delighted to bring forward journey of another eminent woman from around us, who does not believe in achieving enough and always strives for more. She is one of those people who, when asked about themselves, talks about their passion and everything they are concerned about, stealing the spotlight from themselves. Read on, to know more about her.

Her salt and pepper hair; calm and collected composition; and the aura which oozes tranquility are sure to intrigue anyone. Being an Academician, Researcher, Peace Trainer, Social Activist, Columnist are some of Dr. Sapna Kamal Sangra’s indulgence which speaks volumes about her versatile personality.
Peace And Conflict Studies, Crime and Society as well as Social Issues are her areas of power. Dr. Sangra is an accomplished peace trainer, certified from the Centre for Non Violence and Peace Studies, University of Rhode Island, USA, to attend which she received a scholarship in 2010. She is recipient of Commonwealth Professional Fellowship (2012-13) by commonwealth scholarship commission in the United Kingdom.
In 2011, Dr. Sangra was a visiting Scholar in Adult Education Program, the Department of Life Long Education, Administration and Policy fellowship to University of Georgia, USA.
She is also a partner with conciliation resources, a peace building NGO based in London, since 2009 in its effort to support civil society to play a more dynamic and proactive role in peace building and enhancing the prospects for a non-violent and just transformation of the conflict over the disputed territories of J&K.
Dr. Sangra is Assistant Professor at Department of Sociology in University of Jammu since 2006. Besides teaching and research, she is involved in the extra-curricular activities of the university having served as the Programme Officer, National Service Scheme for four years. She is actively engaged in community development and other social outreach activities with the University’s Department of Life Long Learning.
She is also a visiting faculty to Sher-i-Kashmir Police Academy in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). She is closely working with the Jammu Chapter of Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi and Gandhi Global Family.
Dr. Sangra is also State Chairperson, SPIC MACAY (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture among Youth). She has also authored ‘Sociological Dimensions of Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir: International Border at a Glance.’
Capacities held in Projects undertaken by Dr. Sangra include, Co-Principal Investigator in ‘Kashmiri Women Across The Divide: Kashmiri Women Mapping Initiative’ funded by Conciliation Resources, London in the year 2009-10, which sanctioned 22,718 Pounds; Project Assistant and Analyst with ORG Centre for Social Research Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi on a State sponsored project related to HIV/AIDS and Research Assistant in a Project “An Assessment of Factors, Implications and Remedies of School drop-outs in Jammu” supported by J&K Research Centre, Srinagar in the year 2002.
Not only her accomplishments are interesting, her journey is more so. Sapna was born to Smt. Kanta Sharma, in a small village Salehar, in late 70s. Her father, Lt. Sh. Darshan Kumar Sharma, passed away few months before her birth, after short illness. To meet the needs of the family, her mother started sewing on the machine provide by the firm her father was accountant for. Eventually she got employed.
Though Sapna started her schooling from her village but owing to her mother’s concern to provide her and her elder brother with best possible education, started hopping from one school to another. Sapna explains, “Whenever my mother used to find out there’s a better school, she used to get us enrolled there.”
Sapna matriculated from St. Mary's Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School; she finished school from Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Mubarakh Mandi, grabbing third position. This was followed by securing eighth position when she graduated in Arts (Humantarian).
She wasn’t just a studious kid but exhibited qualities of an all-rounder by her NCC (National Cadet Corp) achievements which includes: C’ Certificate Passed with “A” Grade; Basic Mountaineering Course from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi; NCC Girls mountaineering Expedition, 1997 to Lamchir Peak (Ht. 5662Mt) in Kamaon Himalayas; Hospital attachment Camp at 166 MH; National Integration Camp SD/JD at Nagrota and D.O letter by DG NCC.
Sapna shared that she sustained her own education after 10th by tutoring not only students younger to her but even those who were classes ahead. She elaborates, “I was not compelled to provide tuitions; I had interest in teaching and was keen to be self sufficient and bear my burden. While studying in Mubarakh Mandi, Sapna even dabbled into field of Radio announcing.
Sapna got married in 2000 while she was pursuing Masters in Sociology, which she attained in 2001. It was followed by qualifying National Educational Test (NET) and a yearly Pre-PhD course. She ultimately acquired the Doctoral Degree by end of 2006 and became the first PhD pass out of Department of Sociology in University of Jammu.
According to Sapna that was the most crucial phase of her life. During the same period, while pursuing PhD, Sapna also worked as Assistant Professor, The Law School, University of Jammu, Jammu (2003-2006) and Lecturer, The Dogra Law College, affiliated to University of Jammu, Jammu (2002-2003). She was provisionally selected for Doctoral Fellowship by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi in 2004, which she couldn’t take up due to professional and personal obligations.
Sapna also became mother during the same period; she had her first child in 2002, around the time she submitted her PhD proposal and second child in 2004. But mother of two, never perceived her life as “challenging” and evidently lived through it gracefully. She believes in learning through every experience.
Since then she has travelled to different places, attended numerous national as well as International Conferences; published several papers, book chapters and columns. Her intellect and expertise in sociology, peace and conflict, education and other subjects needs not further proof, but a conversation with her can make one learn about her enriched learning, ideas and opinions of her concerning fields.
In her capacity of State Chairperson of SPIC MACAY, Sapna strives to heal and improve the society through Classical Music and other art forms. She emphasises on the importance of it to stay rooted, broaden vision and growing personality. According to her, it “nurtures the communication as well as teaches resource sharing and inclusiveness.”
Talking about the women, Sapna lays stress on the need of education to uplift women. She says, “Education is prime step towards equality. Real education empowers; getting degree is not mark of education. It is ability and capability to decide for oneself. Holistic education gives one, vision. We still need to learn resource utilization and find our strength in union.”
She further adds, “Women have greater roles to play. They are nurturers; they have the key to building society by bringing up their children in balanced way to be responsible and compassionate towards society. Make them sensible Human beings.”
Adding on she says, “Also, let your children aspire; let them be themselves. Don’t try to channel their lives and allow mistakes; they will learn through them.”
Dr. Sangra’s words for women other there are, “You don’t have to be a perfectionist; a superwoman. Take a break and do not feel guilty about it.”

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