'Top Thirty Under Thirty' | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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'Top Thirty Under Thirty'

After the first two installments of HT's list of the region's top 30 achievers under the age of 30, it's time to reveal the final 10. This set is another eclectic mix of go-getters who have set the bar sky-high for their contemporaries. It's their determination, talent and their indomitable spirit that have made them leaders of tomorrow.

chandigarh Updated: Aug 23, 2012 13:10 IST

We are, the future of the nation
After the first two installments of HT's list of the region's top 30 achievers under the age of 30, it's time to reveal the final 10. This set is another eclectic mix of go-getters who have set the bar sky-high for their contemporaries. It's their determination, talent and their indomitable spirit that have made them leaders of tomorrow.

muscle man
Yogeshwar Dutt, 29,
wrestler, Sonepat

The Haryana lad recently did the country proud by winning a bronze medal in Men's 60 kg Freestyle wrestling at the recently concluded London Olympics, becoming the third wrestler in Indian history to have won an Olympic medal. Though 2012 saw him win his first Olympic medal, Dutt had previously bagged a gold medal at the 2003 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship, a bronze at the Asian Games in Doha in 2006 and another gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Goal-getter: Nothing can be achieved without hard work. Whatever I have achieved, is not a personal achievement - it's because of my family, coaches and well wishers' support that I have reached where I have.

Youth icon: I don't idolise anyone, but anyone who proves himself by sheer hard work and determination is an icon for me.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
The youngsters of today are role models of tomorrow. Their contribution should not be limited to their fields; they should learn to diversify and contribute towards the various fields that need their attention. If the youth of the country unites, it can eradicate all social evil.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
There is a lot of focus and plenty of encouragement for the youth of today. I think a young man can easily set his eyes on a goal and garner enough support to achieve it. The field of sports too is getting all the attention it needs. All these factors make for an ideal time to be young in India.

able body
Sukhbir Singh, 17,
student, Muktsar

Born in a poor Dalit family in Urrang village of Punjab's Malout district, Singh lost his arms in an accident at the age of five. Despite the handicap, he successfully passed Class 10 examinations this year (in which he appeared with a helper). The inspirational achiever has never given up on life and says he is determined to become self-dependent. Singh is also skilled in writing with his foot.

Goal-getter: I always wanted to study and never stopped going to school, even after the accident. I know my parents cannot afford my higher studies and treatment for my arms, but I will fulfill my dream to become self-dependent at any cost.

Youth icon: My mother is my icon, without whose dedication to make me self-dependent, I wouldn't have passed Class 10.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
Everybody should get an equal opportunity. Education, especially, should be affordable for everyone and not just restricted to the rich.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
There is no good or bad time when you have to fight everyday.

punjab's prince
Diljit Dosanjh, 27,
singer and actor, Ludhiana

Though Dosanjh's singing won him a lot of appreciation in the region and abroad, it was his latest Punjabi movie, Jatt & Juliet, which made people all over the country sit up and take notice. From breaking the first-weekend record of all Punjabi and Hindi films released in Punjab to breaking the records of all Punjabi movies released internationally, Jatt & Juliet went a long way in adding to Dosanjh's popularity; even beyond his own expectations.

Goal-getter: I haven't achieved my goals yet. I am just working hard and moving towards them, one step at a time. I hail from a middle-class family, and couldn't even go to college due to financial reasons.

Youth icon: Undoubtedly, Navjot Singh Sidhu - he inspires me every step of the way. From the way he speaks to the way he presents himself, everything about him is impressive.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
The youngsters of our country are full of zeal and enthusiasm. They can achieve anything they set their eyes on. But their efforts have to be channelised in the right direction.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
When was it not a good time to be young in India? The youth of today is doing very well for itself, but then again, the same has been the case in the past. If you have the passion to make it big, anytime is a good time to be young.

debut queen
Parineeti Chopra, 23,
actor, Ambala Cantt

After studying finance in England, Chopra returned to India during the 2009 global economic crisis and joined Yash Raj Films as a publicist. In 2011, she was signed by Aditya Chopra for a three-film contract with Yash Raj Films, following which, she made her screen debut in a supporting role in Maneesh Sharma's Ladies VS Ricky Bahl (2011), which won her 16 different awards. Her second movie (first solo debut) - Ishaqzaade (2012) - declared her an actor, with critics calling her a force to be reckoned with.

Goal-getter: For me, it's the hard work that paid off. I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to work with self-made people such as Maneesh Sharma, Aditya Chopra and Habib Faisal.

Youth icon: I do not have a youth icon. Different people inspire me at different times.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
Youngsters are the only change-makers. It's only the youth that can bring about the changes we want to see in the world with their hard work and perseverance.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
Of course it is; there has never been a better time. The youth never had so much freedom earlier. From studying abroad to wearing shorts - all decisions of the youth are being accepted at large.

punjabi heartthrob
Karan Kundra, 27,
actor, Jalandhar

Born into a business family, Kundra did his schooling from Mayo College, Rajasthan, and graduated with an MBA degree from the US. Being a model-turned-actor, as well as a businessman, Kundra is the owner of an international call centre. After taking up acting, however, Kundra made the entire nation's girls go weak in their knees after playing the lead role in the television serial, Kitni Mohabbat Hai, which aired on NDTV Imagine from 2010 to 2011. The soap's popularity managed to bring it back for its second season. After being seen in Punjabi film, Pure Punjabi, this year, Kundra is currently back on TV, hosting crime show, Gumrah - End of Innocence, on Channel V.

Goal-getter: Be determined and give your very best to whatever you do. I go with the flow and don't make any aims in life. Happiness is very important, so even if you are not very successful, just be happy with what you have.

Youth icon: I am my own icon. I admire myself and try to improve upon my faults everyday and in every assignment.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
The youth represents a nation. So, the youngsters of India need to be responsible citizens first and have a positive and honest approach towards life. Don't curse your fate, instead dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. With youngsters getting exposure to various aspects, it is possible to turn anything into reality.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
India is on the verge of taking off on the runway of development.
This makes it the best time to be young in the country. However, since the youth is infused with energy and aspirations, they always make a mark. This is how the youth of the yesteryears got freedom for our country, proving how important it is to channelise one's energy into doing something productive for the nation.

wonder woman
Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar, 26,
IAS, Jammu

Hailing from remote Kishtwar district, Asgar is the first Muslim woman from Jammu to get into All India Services and is the first woman to top the J&K administrative services. After topping the state-level Combined Services Examination (CSE) in 2010, she achieved another feat by cracking the All India Civil Services Examination (received the 118th ranking in CSE by securing 1,417 marks). She joined Batra Medical College in 2003, and in 2009, had secured the first position in MBBS.

Goal-getter: It all boils down to positive thinking, patience, perseverance and a never-say-die attitude.

Youth icon: Marissa Mayer, chief executive officer, Yahoo. At the age of 37, she has reached the top of her field, and is also expecting a baby. She is a true role model for workingwomen.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
By channelising their energies into constructive fields, beginning at a very young age. By contributing towards environmental awareness, communal harmony and gender parity, the youth can discover their own personalities, while fuelling a positive change in society.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
It is, because we are witnessing a great social transition of awareness of rights and demand for transparency. Democracy in its true sense is evolving, which goes beyond political rights to encompass social and civil rights.

small-screen queen
Bhumika Girdhar, 27,
actor/producer, Fatehabad

Small town girl from Ratia, Girdhar is one of Mumbai's rare young actors to own a production house. Through Bhumi Telefilms, which she launched last year, she produces TV ads, corporate films, documentaries and serials which delve into sensitive social issues (primarily focussing on women). She has also stirred a storm in the TV world through her performances in serials such as Kahani Chandrakanta Ki, Chandramukhi and CID. Next, she plans to launch talent-based reality shows called Voice of Haryana and Voice of Punjab to showcase local talent.

Goal-getter: The support and motivation of my mother, Manu Girdhar, brother, Nakul Girdhar, as well as my teachers, friends and well-wishers, who have been a part of my life, have all inspired me to reach my goals.

Youth icon: Ekta Kapoor, as she has changed the face of Indian television. It's because of her efforts and innovations that today, Indian television producers are working with expensive sets and studios which even film producers can't afford. I also admire Vidya Balan for her unique selection, conviction and portrayal of roles. She is an actor in the true sense.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
The youth of India represents new values, new thinking and new ways of life. Young minds possess energy, enthusiasm and innovation - if channelised in the right direction, they have the ability to change the structure of the nation.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
Definitely. Today, India is progressing into a developed nation. India has already set the benchmark in almost every field, be it technology, movies, fashion, glamour, games, infrastructure or industries and India's Gen Next is very capable of achieving wonders in the world.

master foodie
Deepinder Goyal, 29,
entrepreneur, Muktsar

At just 25, Goyal founded India's biggest restaurant guide, zomato.com. Currently, the site gets more than 3.5 million visitors a month from India alone, with more than 30,000 restaurants listed on Zomato (this count is expected to double once the Singapore and Dubai operations are launched by end of September). Globally, Zomato is one of the top five restaurant discovery services. Since 2010, Info Edge has invested $6.5 million in the venture.

Goal-getter: The journey to success meant first tasting failure, followed by focus.

Youth icon: Pro tennis player Rafael Nadal, because of his never-say-die spirit.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
By aspiring for more in all spheres of their lives and by channelising their entrepreneurial spirit, which is the core of Indian existence.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
The economy is opening up to new ideas and investors are looking aggressively at India. India is thriving, in spite of a tough global economic environment, with a large part of this growth being led by the youth, which is creating new opportunities in our country.

rapper extraordinaire
Yo Yo Honey Singh, 29,
rapper/producer, Hoshiarpur

Singh has shaken India's music industry, becoming the highest paid musician in Bollywood by charging Rs 70 lakh for one song in the upcoming film, Mastaan. His track, Gabru, from his latest album, International Villager, topped Asian music charts (including world iTunes and the official BBC Asian Charts). His track, Angreji Beat, from the same album, was recently featured in Bollywood film, Cocktail, and not to mention, received rave reviews.

Goal-getter: If you keep playing your game right, nothing else matters. Anyone can do anything; the word, impossible, doesn't exist.

Youth icon: Jazzy B is my youth icon in all aspects. From fashion to style to music, he will always remain my icon.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
The youth of a country is the only change-maker. Even in the past 500 years, it's the youth that brought about change for the good, because we have the power, determination and the strength to do so. For direction, we must look up to youth icons such as Bhagat Singh. He always focussed on 'Inquilab', which means change.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
Yes, definitely. Thanks to the open mindsets of Indians now, the youth is pepped up with energy, owing to which, it is getting a lot of opportunities in the country. Youngsters now are much more disciplined and career-oriented than ever before.

red-ribbon hero
Sarika Katoch Panwar, 30,
social worker, Kangra valley

Katoch has spread awareness about HIV/AIDS in the rural villages of Kangra valley, establishing more than 80 Red Ribbon Clubs in villages.

Her contributions to rural development have been recognised globally - she has represented India at Commonwealth Youth Program, Commonwealth Secretariat, became chairperson of RYCs of Asian region countries to represent Asia at Pan Commonwealth, Commonwealth Youth Minister Meeting, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting et al. In 2009, she was honoured as the Young Champion by Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Commonwealth.

Goal-getter: I belonged to an orthodox, rural family from a place where it was not easy for women to work. When I learned about some villagers discriminating against HIV+ people and their families, I wanted to work towards spreading awareness. As a woman, I was not welcomed initially, but slowly, due to consistent efforts, people started listening to me.

Youth icon: Yogender Chaudhary. During his tenure as the executive director of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, he established regional adventure centres in 15 states and promoted village tourism and rural marketing, which boosted rural youth employment in various states.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
You don't need to change the whole world. Look around you. Take charge of small responsibilities. Make sure you have touched the sky, but also ensure that you have given back to the soil.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
Yes, India is one of the emerging super powers of the world. The country's growing economy has created ample job opportunities for young people. Education and healthcare have greatly improved. Youngsters who want to be entrepreneurs have a bright future due to a booming IT industry, infrastructure and other sectors.