JK News Today
Mrs Manu Khajuria Singh, a Jammu based girl, who studied in Mumbai and then got married to a non-Dogra boy and then settled in London due to job of her husband, but her love for his native place Duggar Land or Jammu Region has bring her back to the soil and she has launched Voice of Dogras in England’s Capital London with a bunch of Dogras settled in London and now she has connected this organization to various Indian and foreign cities, wherever Dogras are staying or settled down. First of its kind exclusive interview of Manu Khajuria by JK News Today….
Q 1: What is Voice Of Dogras?
Manu: Voice of Dogras is a community organisation which is working towards the preservation and promotion of Dogra identity, culture and history in particular and Jammu Region in general. It believes in equal space for all stakeholders of the state.
Q2: While sitting in London and busy in your life, what comes to your mind to launch VOD ?
Manu: This journey for me personally, started much before I moved to London, which is my current residence. This started when even as a young child, as I travelled and lived across the country thanks to the nature of my Father’s job, I realised no one knew who a Dogra was and there was a lot of confusion about the geography and cultural uniqueness of the Jammu Region. In school and later in University, I would take out time to explain the diversity of Jammu Region, the glorious Dogra history and the pluralistic fabric of the state which Jammu singularly upheld. Starting VOD was a foregone conclusion, something which was waiting to happen. As a daughter of Jammu, it is my duty to speak of my region and state, treasure it and show it for what it is, in all it’s beauty of land and people. VOD is a result of that sense of duty and love.
Q3: Was VOD your exclusive idea or a mutual decision of a section of Dogras here or abroad?
Manu: VOD and the word exclusive don’t go well together :). VOD is all about inclusive. I started seeking out likeminded people when I thought the time had come to give back to my Region and VOD was born when all those likeminded people came together with only one motivation, a pride in their roots and a desire to serve. These people were spread across the globe, both in Jammu and abroad. VOD today is ably supported by Lalit Sharma Ji in London, who is also the Director of VOD and there is a young VOD family in different cities. “Ab bhi log milte ja rahien hain aur karwaan Banta ja raha hai…”
Q4: What is the way forward? Basically what is the motto of VOD ?
Manu: The way forward is to continue doing what we started with reviving, rediscovering, re-educating ourselves about our cultural and historical identity and re-connecting both with our own roots and also with others. A sense of self and pride about who we are, shapes our behaviour and actions. We need to be aware of our glorious past so that we can live upto our legacy of courage, leadership, inclusive vision and statesmanship of our ancestors. All our efforts will be in this direction.
Q5: How you are planning to awake and educate Dogras to be unite under one umbrella called Dogra Identity?
Manu: Awareness and knowledge is the key here and this needs to be achieved through different programs and interventions across the Region.
If I don’t know that Dogras stretched the boundaries of this Nation upto the Northern most frontiers, I don’t know that I need to be proud and brave. If I don’t know that there was no demographic change under the Dogra rule, I don’t know how to be tolerant and inclusive. If I am not aware that all. Dogras, Paharis, Gujjars, Ladakhis, Kashmiris and more, make up this state, I will not demand an equal space and voice for all. With knowledge of local history and culture, comes a sense of oneness and belonging and a responsibility, to serve this region and state well, unitedly.
Q6: Are you getting success in your mission? Are you facing any problems in this?
Manu: The VOD Family is happy with the way things are flowing. We are extremely indebted to the love we have received from all, in Jammu Region. The youth have inspired us by their sharing of personal experiences and expectations, and the elders have supported us and continue to guide us. Positivity and looking onwards is key for us. We see ourselves as a tiny seed and if in our journey we hit a boulder, we hope to circumvent it and break soil, thriving into a big and beautiful tree. As we say in VOD, may God guide us and may we do right and may we do good.
Q7: You always talks about VOD family, but people only know Manu Khajuria as VOD, so do VOD is having any executive body or branches in or outside Jammu?
Manu: I have already answer this in question number 3, and I can only said that VOD is ably supported by Lalit Sharma Ji in London, who is also the Director of VOD and there is a young VOD family in different cities. ‘Ab bhi log milte ja rahien hain aur karwaan Banta ja raha hai…
Q8: Is VOD works in future like this or will become an active political organisation?
Manu: VOD has no political aspirations.