Updated: May 5
Nupur Tewari, born in an Indian village with no electricity, walked kilometers to attend her school every day whether it rained or the temperature soared. She lived a life that many of us, sitting in AC chambers of our offices or homes, can't fathom. How she turned around her life & thousands of others' , is a story worth following. In a world of materialism, she honed the art of Yoga that her traditional upbringing provided her the means for. Her search for a better future brought her to Calcutta for higher education where she realised her ignorance about the urban life.
She was discriminated against on the grounds of language, origin & her rural status. A short stint in Calcutta University as a teacher helped her save some money. She went ahead to explore life with a vision in her head. She worked with international organisations & MNCs.
She connected with people & discovered a new world through a teaching opportunity in Japan. For many years she performed various roles to sustain in Japan. She currently has 14 years of teaching experience in 34 schools in Japan. She has also been doing modelling assignments & anchoring national & international events on TV in Japan.
Since 2003 to as long as 2014, she had been teaching yoga on a personal level. From 2014 however, she started conducting Yoga sessions across various community places in Japan on voluntary basis and invited Japanese people to learn more about Indian culture and Indian food delicacies over Yoga sessions.
Prior to 2014 she was referred to unofficial cultural ambassador to India. In 2016, Japan faced a disastrous earthquake in Kumamoto (Kyushu), and the intrinsic pain took her over the wall & she decided to contribute to the phase of revival of the citizens struck by the calamity. And hence she came up with the idea of ‘Heal Tokyo’ , teaching Yoga and sending the donations collected from Yoga contributions to the sufferers.
She has been holding yoga sessions in cultural summits, universities, schools and open community places and contributing to the cause of child education across India and the world at large through the contributions from Yoga sessions. The contributions from yoga sessions are being used to finance the primary education of kids in urban slums of different cities of India.
Her next project is ‘Heal India’. The aim is to pick one city at a time in India and make it a completely literate city. The purpose is to keep children off the street, empower them with basic education & skills so that they need not beg. And for the purpose she plans to open yoga & reiki centres & make this project completely self-sustainable.
WE HAD THE PLEASURE TO INTERVIEW NUPUR. HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS WE ASKED HER:
Q You have talked about discrimination practiced against you in urban city for your background. In the era of globalization, people, all the time, move from villages to vast metropolises. What is your advice to them on putting up a brave face, flying in the teeth of things like these?
Discrimination comes from insecurity. So, I will say- empower yourself, be self-confident & don’t compare yourself with others. Be inspired by others but don’t be jealous. Discover your uniqueness. Each flower has its own beauty and fragrance. Don’t feel less than anyone & don’t make anyone feel less than you. Be kind, compassionate yet brave.
Q What other challenges did you face in this journey? And how did you tackle those?
I faced challenges that is why I am who I am today. People are busy in pulling each other down. I feel sad that they don’t utilize their energy in a positive manner. I take challenges in my stride & conquer them. I feel the pain of people like me trapped in similar situations and try to help. Positivity and compassion are the keys.
Q Do you have plans to take yoga to other countries too? What would be the road map?
We have already formed 'heal India', our mantra being 'vasudhaiva kutumbakam'. Our healing centres will be dealing with mental health & all the donations will go to the underprivileged ones in India. We have done some work in Africa & Srilanka too.
Q Since you come from a traditional family, what are your views on religion? How do you see the heated debate going on whether 'Yoga is a science or a part of a particular religion.'
Swami Vivekananda said, "First you have to make sure people are not hungry & then teach them religion.” Feeding is our first dharma. We came first, religion came later. Our ancestors taught us the golden principles like 'Vasudeva kutumbakam', 'Namaste' ( my soul is connected to yours) and 'aham brahmasmi.' Yoga is our culture, a gift to the whole world by us.
Q Share your success Mantra.
Success is very subjective, varying from person to person. The day you feel you are successful, that's when you stop growing. Success takes lifetimes to achieve. I have many more miles to go & during this journey of mine, I want to touch as many lives as possible, making them as good as possible.