ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

From Udta to Daudta Punjab, How this IFS Officer is Ushering in a Running Culture in the State

UPSC IFS exam topper and senior forest officer, Dharminder Sharma, has introduced a running culture in the state of Punjab.

Having been an avid follower of sports all his life, 1994-batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Dharminder Sharma developed an interest in long distance running during his middle age. While pursuing this interest, he has now created a culture of running in Punjab, a state that is often in news for drug menace. Not only this, the officer is also supporting bigger causes by helping verified charities through crowd funding during the runs.

Indian Masterminds presents the inspirational story of this forest officer who aims to attract more and more people to this underrated sport and simultaneously help some NGOs or charities through it.

A TRUE SPORTSMEN

Mr. Dharminder Sharma belongs to the soil of Punjab and was the son of a workaholic father who was an embassy official. During his childhood, he lived in Tehran (Iran) for a period of four years (1984-1988). This was the peak time of Iran-Iraq war and bombings and terror activities were common. In the midst of it all, he managed to complete high school.

He was an excellent student all his life as he topped the class 12 exam and also bagged the first position in the Indian Forest Service Exam held by the UPSC in 1993. He obtained the first rank among 50,000 candidates who appeared for the exam.

A true sportsmen by heart

While speaking to Indian Masterminds, Mr. Dharminder Sharma said, “I have been a sportsperson all my life, since the time of school days when I used to participate in each and every sport as possible. This included cricket, football, badminton, basketball, table tennis, golf, squash, and many more. However, running long distances is my latest love as I have developed this interest during my middle age. I went for my foundation course at LBSNAA where all of us participated in a 11-km hill run in Mussoorie. Unknowingly, I bagged the fifth spot in the race out of around 300 officer trainees (Ots), which further motivated me to pursue this sport.”

RUNNING CULTURE IN PUNJAB

After being allotted the Punjab cadre, Mr. Sharma did not get much time to invest in running because of his official duties. However, after he got posted in Chandigarh (2003-2004), he used to take time off and run around the Sukhna lake. “But, there wasn’t much culture of running at that time in the state’s capital. I kept running but at one point it felt that I also need company to stay motivated towards the sport. By the time it was 2014, we saw that some like-minded people had started following the sport. I was also following various running clubs which were operating in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, etc.”

Running sessions with friends

His friends and other people associated with running always used to suggest him to start some group where like minded people could join and run together. It was then in 2014 that the first ever running club in the city named ‘Chandigarh Runners’ was formed by IFS officer Dharminder Sharma.

This was just the beginning, as the officer opened more clubs in Patiala, Ludhiana, Bhatinda, Jalandhar, and Amritsar. Mr. Sharma said, “The running clubs in Chandigarh, Patiala, Ludhiana and Bhatinda are pretty much active than the rest, and various runs are organised by them on a regular basis.”

Chandigarh Runners Club

Chandigarh Runners club garnered many active members and so did the Patiala and Ludhiana clubs. Under the ‘Daudta Punjab’ campaign, where Mr. Dharminder is the chief patron, there are around a cumulative of 10,000 members. Many more clubs have come up since the time the officer first took the first step in 2014, making his dream of creating a running culture in Punjab a reality.

SUPPORTING NGOs

Being a civil servant himself, Mr. Sharma wanted to create a bigger impact through the running clubs. Therefore, he thought of doing some philanthropy work by supporting charities through the money generated by conducting big runs. As not all runs were done for charity, he wanted to popularise some runs in each club on a yearly basis, through which he could support some NGO or charity organisation. The money was generated through registration fees and donations.

Some runs which are organised for such work includes the Patiala Marathon which attract runners from foreign nations also. A few years back, 25 foreign runners from nine different nations participated in the marathon. Apart from the regular runners, visually and speech impaired people also participate in the marathon. Mr. Sharma said, “The money generated from this run is further sent to a charity which helps children affected with Thalassemia.”

The officer also organises a yearly ultra-run of 75 kms from Chandigarh to Patiala where around 50 long-distance runners take part. Mr. Sharma said, “This will be the seventh edition of the ultra-run this year, which will be organised in the first week of December. Each year, we choose a different NGO and donate all the money generated from the run to help in some cause. Till now, we have donated the money to six different NGOs.”

Apart from this, the officer and some of his friends support a Bhopal-based NGO called Arushi, which helps children affected by the Bhopal gas tragedy. “For this, we collect money in the Mumbai marathon and even participate every year,” he said.

Also, under ‘Daudta Punjab’, a run for the wildlife is organised during the Wildlife Week in the month of October. This year, many wheelchair-bound people participated in the run to help spread awareness about the need to conserve wildlife.

Related Stories

News

Aramane Giridhar
"Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Is A Precious Jewel In The Crown Of India," Says Defense Secretary Giridhar Aramane
punjab gov
Punjab: IAS Karnail Singh Made Additional Secy, Employment Generation and Training
IAS_(Central_Association)_logo
Punjab: Three IAS Officers Get Additional Charge, Check List Here
IAS Officer Logo
IAS Abhilash Likhi Given Additional Charge As Secy, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
Rajasthan-police-800x445
Rajasthan: IPS Sanjay Kumar Agrawal Made DGP, Intelligence
download-1
Rajasthan: IPS Hemant Priyadarshy Appointed as DGP- SCRB, Cyber Crime And Technical Services
changthang-wildlife-sanctuary
Pune Forest Dept Issues Legal Notices to Tourists Who Fed Wild Animals & Circulated Videos
Forest & Wood Certification
Telangana State Government Reports Extensive Forest Land Encroachment

Videos

image-4
IFS Officer Jyotsna Sitling Leads Community in Eco-Restoration Efforts
Dr Sanjeev Chopra
IAS Alone Don't Run The Government; It's A Synergy Of All Services
How Valley Of Flower Became A World Heritage Site
"An Environmental Crusade: How This IFS Officer Salvaged 44 Tons of Garbage
ADVERTISEMENT
Latest

Latest

Aramane Giridhar
"Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Is A Precious Jewel In The Crown Of India," Says Defense Secretary Giridhar Aramane
punjab gov
Punjab: IAS Karnail Singh Made Additional Secy, Employment Generation and Training
ADVERTISEMENT
Videos

Videos

image-4
Dr Sanjeev Chopra
How Valley Of Flower Became A World Heritage Site
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT