After the journey from Hamirpur to Hamilton, India’s pride is now New Zealand’s hope
Dr. Gaurav Sharma is a determined over-achiever. A doctor by profession, he hails from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh. But New Zealand is his “karm-bhoomi”.
The 31-year old doctor has been just elected as the Member of New Zealand’s Parliament in the ticket of the ruling Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Dr. Sharma won Hamilton West seat by defeating Tim Macindoe of the National Party by 4,386 votes. Before that, he had unsuccessfully fought elections in 2017.
Importantly, Dr. Sharma made India proud when on November 25 he created history by becoming the first parliamentarian of Indian origin in the South Pacific nation to take oath in Sanskrit.
Internet users are rightly hailing Dr. Sharma for making them “feel proud of being Indian”. A video shared by the New Zealand MP on social media taking affirmation in the 3,500-year-old ancient language of Sanskrit has gone viral.
To be exact, Sharma had first taken the affirmation in indigenous language Maori and then in Sanskrit. The video of the ceremony showing the 31-year-old was even shared by India’s High Commission to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi, who has hailed the New Zeeland MP for showing “deep respect” to the cultural traditions of both nations.
Sharma himself shared the clip on Facebook.
He wrote in the caption, “Today I took my Affirmation of Allegiance to the Crown in Te Reo Māori, to acknowledge Tangata Whenua, and in Sanskrit, to acknowledge my Indian heritage. I have tried to learn Te Reo in the past through Unitec and learnt Sanskrit when I was in primary and middle school in India.”
Dr. Sharma added, “Sanskrit is a 3500 year old language from which many of the current Indian languages have originated. I have been told today that I am only the second person ever to take Oath/Affirmation in Sanskrit outside of India (but first in New Zealand”.
Incidentally, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed Indian-Origin New Zealand MP, who created history. “One piece of news might have caught your attention. Newly-elected MP in New Zealand Dr Gaurav Sharma took the oath of office in one of the ancient languages of the world – Sanskrit. The dissemination of Indian culture on part of an Indian fills us with pride,” PM Modi said while addressing the nation in the 71st edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
“Through the medium of Mann Ki Baat, I extend best wishes to Gaurav Sharma ji. All of us wish he attains newer achievements in the service of the people of New Zealand,” Modi said.
Dr. Sharma says that he is deeply honoured to be part of the 53rd New Zealand Parliament. “I look forward to serving fellow Hamiltonians as well as New Zealand over the next three years”.
According to him, his attraction to the Labour Party comes from his family’s experience after arriving in New Zealand from India 21 years ago.
“My family’s journey in New Zealand starting from my father’s homelessness to receiving my Fulbright [Scholarship] has been full of perseverance and is a true example of Labour’s motto of backing the Kiwi dream.
“I have always been thankful to the Labour Party’s policies and social security measures as well as educational and health reforms and as such Labour was the only choice.”
Gaurav gained proxime accessit (runner-up dux) at Auckland Grammar. Volunteering to work as a caregiver in a rest home he was inspired to study medicine at Auckland Medical School with part of his training in Waikato Hospital and the Waikato-Coromandel Region.
He qualified as a medical doctor.
The recipient of a Fulbright Scholar to Washington DC, he studied business management with public health and politics for two years at the George Washington University and gained grassroots campaign work in the American political system while studying digital political strategy, PR, communications and opinion journalism.
Today Dr Sharma lives in Hamilton and his busy life has him around the country on his Labour list commitments in Multicultural Labour Group and Healthcare.
He is part of Medical Dialogues Bureau that consists of a team of passionate medical/scientific writers, led by doctors and healthcare researchers. The team’s efforts are at bringing updated and timely news about the important happenings of the medical and healthcare sector.