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Rajan Nazran: Discovering the Humanity Within

14 October, 2021 | Rachita Sharma

Girl Power Talk interviews Rajan Nazran, the visionary behind the Global Indian Series.

1. Please share your journey as someone whose aim has been to be a voice for other people in the community and spread awareness?
Rajan Nazran: My mother is from the Philippine Islands with Indian roots, and my father comes from Punjab, India, many may say I was born with an international spirit. My career was as diverse as the British weather, whilst at university in Italy, I was fortunate to have worked as a mental coach for the Indian Olympic winter team and explored diverse career paths thereafter.

Growing up, I wanted to be a monk, much to the chagrin of my parents. However, I always enjoyed interacting with people from all walks of life, and being a monk in absolute solitude was ultimately not something I could realistically actualize!  I was however heavily influenced by my parents and our Sikh faith and as such looked towards the work they did in supporting Asian women in the UK as a form of social custodianship and something I looked to also emulate.

I am a person who will follow what my spirit feels, when I find something that “pulls me” I become deeply Intune and engrossed in it. I believe it’s in our human DNA to explore and connect with each other, and I value this deeply. Ultimately my aim is to widen my own human experience and to deeply connect with this wonder called life. I seldom worry about other people’s opinions and don’t let stereotypes put me in a box.

Rajan Nazran

2. What was your vision behind starting the Global Indian Series Podcast? Where did it emerge from?
Rajan Nazran: Prior to discovering the online world, I used to actively travel to destinations around the world and became fascinated by the human experience of our community around the Globe. Prior to the pandemic, I had been to over 58 countries within the decade often covering many lesser-known locations and stories that would grip the hearts and minds. 

When the epidemic started, podcasts became a way to continue sharing our individual experiences. What you listen to in a podcast stays with you for a long time, and this thought led me to create The Global India Series.

To me, the Global Indian Series is a living lotus flower, each petal represents the continents we are all based on but the stem is that of our joint understanding of humanness. What we have created is an encyclopedia of human experience to share with the rest of the world. I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur, but as a “professional” human being whose imagination lives in externalizing my expression of being human. I have learned that we can’t delegate a few hours to be a humanitarian and then go back to being a businessperson. Therefore, I aim to keep spreading awareness of the diverse beauty of the human form and keep myself rooted in issues that impact the world in which we collectively live and enjoy.

Rajan Nazran at the African Union Meeting in Malawi

3. How does your family feel about you opting for such an uncommon mission in your life? What keeps you going irrespective of all the challenges & hardships that you may face on the way?
Rajan Nazran: I was fortunate to have supportive parents who had no qualms with me traveling the world, though they used to be concerned about certain regions I went to especially after a number of incidences I found myself in, from being taken hostage through to dealing with Cat 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean and Ebola in Sierra Leone. My wife and children are exceptionally supportive and it was my wife that suggested that I started to record my explorations through written work.

While traveling, I met people from every echelon of society, from Royalty, Prime Ministers, to the destitute and those who activated social change. Each with beautifully inspiring stories and often tales that would keep the hair on your neck at standstill! It always frustrated me that collectively we never curated our combined stories together and that was the train of thought behind the Global Indian Series. The fact is we are the world’s largest community and when we start to look at our lived experiences as a community we gain a deeper understanding of life itself. Almost a back door entrance into the mind of identity and the fragility of the human form.

Rajan Nazran in Sierra Leone with orphaned children

4. What advice do you have for youth and our growing community of leaders?
Rajan Nazran: When one places emphasis on one’s thoughts, you will naturally attract the right people to you. I am guided by what feels right and I operate by my belief that anyone I’m interacting with is being as open and honest with me as I am with them. I look to create a safe space for human interaction. Often then you will know whether the person in front of you is truly comfortable in who they are or not. From there I tend to act accordingly.  

As young people, you should not worry about finding your entire purpose in life, that’s too big. Just observe. That is how you start discovering who you are inside. Another thing I would say is to laugh with people; speak to them without fear or favour because that is how growth happens. Visualize a perfect world based on open free communication and then make efforts towards attaining it, analyze how far you have come, one step at a time. These small drops make the ocean deep.

Rajan Nazran with the President of Sierra Lione

5. What are your sources of happiness and inspiration in life? Please share with us the life mantra you live by?
Rajan Nazran:
I value the time I spend with myself, therefore even on a completely packed day, I spend some time in silence. That is how I connect with myself. This is my concept of home. As long as I am myself with my faculties intact, I am home. I don’t have a life mantra simply because I can’t base my whole life on a few words that mystically become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For me, life is all about breathing deep and looking at the world as it is and not how I think I am. There is a deep understanding inside me, like there is in you, in every atom, that this is an experience that must be worthwhile. I am in love with being alive and that is literally what it is all about.

Whenever there’s a challenging time, knowing why we do things becomes important. I trust in what I am doing and why it is important and I take time to cultivate that within the fabric of my continued thoughts. I believe we should do things to enrich our human experience and in turn positively impact the cells of society for the good. When we discover our purpose is guided by our consuming thoughts and start walking on that path assured by the silence between our words, we start to see life as a packaged holiday that is meant to be enjoyed. The moment our focus diverts from pure materialism (not to the extent of being ignorant of it) is the moment we become empowered in who we are and not what we often think we need to be. 

Being a human comes with social responsibility and the cells in your body need to work together to make your contribution a worthy one. Our time is too limited on this planet, even if it’s the longest. This part of your life is very small, but you can leverage it to start working on what you truly believe in, what you’re most passionate about. To make this world a better place, it starts with us all having a deep connection with ourselves and then allowing that safe space to emerge in our interactions with each other.