Bhargsetu Sharma is a tenacious 23-year-old girl who is often touted as the epitome of benevolence. She is the founder of Humans with Humanity, an organization geared towards rescuing and rehabilitating animals and is currently pursuing her masters in social work. The NCC cadet has numerous accolades to her name and was awarded the prestigious Raksha Mantri Padak by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the Republic Day NCC camp in 2019. An Indian army aspirant and a governer’s medal awardee, she was declared as Gujarat’s Best Cadet, Best Firer and Parade Commander at the All India Nau Sainik Camp in 2016, and was a semi-finalist on MTV’s popular show Roadies Real Heroes.
She is also an accomplished swimmer and was widely applauded for rescuing and resuscitating a drowning man whilst on a volunteer trip to Mahi Sagar in 2018.
What is the driving force behind your inspirational work?
I work for a sector that cannot be empowered: animals. They cannot earn their own bread and butter, the sheer understanding of this fact and the realization of the importance of animals in my life keeps me motivated. We, humans, have a tendency to dominate all the species around us. We consider ourselves as superior, which I feel is contradictory and debatable because if we don’t respect the nature around us, nature holds the power to destroy us. This could be drawn from the recent forest fires in Australia where around 480 million animals died because of humans’ actions. It was not their fault, but global warming and its impact on the ecosystem are a by-product of human activity for which these innocents had to suffer.
How did ‘Humans with Humanity’ come to be? What was your vision at the outset?
In 11th grade, there were these puppies in my society who used to poop around due to which our neighbors got annoyed. It came to a point where there were quarrels every day even though my father and I used to clean up. We also politely explained to them of their natural cycle, as they were so docile and young.
One day, our neighbors brandished the puppies around 20 km away from our house. We tried but failed to find them, so we requested help from the police, with whose assistance we finally located them post 12 hours. After I got the puppies back home, they were a little injured and scared, but I could see the relief and gratitude on their faces.
That moment triggered me, and I told my parents that I wanted to make animal rights advocacy the purpose of my life. It was then that I started a Facebook page called Humans with Humanity. It’s still not an NGO, but we are a family of 7000 volunteers across India. We started as a rescue group but now also work in legalities, generating awareness, and helping people understand and resolve the conflict between humans and animals. We do not dislike humans, we just understand animals more; we act as a bridge between animals and humans.
Tell us about your journey on MTV’s Roadies Real Heroes. Which memory of the show would you cherish forever?
My journey was very smooth. From day one to the semifinals, it was all about learning. For the past decade, I had been living with animals, in my own world. Roadies gave me a break where I learned a lot about people around me and their mindset, the psychological status of people under pressure, how to cope with it, all without compromising on ethics and values. Even though it’s a show with cameras around, being yourself at all times is really important. There are a lot of memories from Roadies that I would cherish. I met great people who will always be in my life, especially, both the real heroes, Bidhan Shrestha, and Milind Chandwani. Bidhan has been a great support for me. He used to be a non-vegetarian on the show, and I used to talk to him about animals and Humans with Humanity which turned him into a vegetarian. So I thought, if that can happen in the show, why not in the outside world. It motivated me and felt like my purpose of being on Roadies had been achieved.
What message would you like to give to the youth of our nation?
We all have humanity in us. We often think that if we donate somewhere, we show our humanity. But that’s not entirely true. Humanity comes down to being empathetic to each and every being around us, be it a kid, a beggar, an animal or an elderly individual. A small message would be to be empathetic, understand and appreciate everyone’s existence, try to avoid conflict between humans and animals and whenever possible, please stand up for them(re: animals)!
What are your future aspirations?
I’m currently in my final year of master’s study in social work. Post that, I’m planning to rework Humans with Humanity into a full-fledged NGO as well as a brand(ex: Being Human by Salman Khan), as I do not want it to be run using just donations. For me, donations are like sitting outside a temple with a bowl and begging.
Saving animals is my purpose in life and I want to work for it. By turning it into a brand, we can retail products/merchandise, pay our employees and the profits earned can go towards carrying out the noble work.
I’m also aspiring to join the Indian army. Unfortunately, I suffered an injury because of which I now have to wear a brace to avoid surgery. My commanding officers of the NCC told me that it would be extremely difficult to get into the defense forces with the injury. However, I’m still working on my foot as I want to wear that uniform and those stars on my shoulders.
If not, Humans with Humanity is definitely something I’m looking forward to working on. In the coming years, I want to open a pet therapy shelter where I’m going to adopt senior animals from the street. We’ll adopt puppies as well so that if people are willing to give up their old dogs for whatever reason, they can adopt a puppy from us. It will be an orphanage as well as an old-age home. The old dogs will work as therapy animals for people suffering from anxiety and depression. So, once Humans with Humanity gets registered, this will be my first project.