Ramesh Pokhriyal Wiki, Profile, Family Update.
Born/Date of Birthday: 15 July 1959
Place of Birth: Pinani, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
Political party: Bharatiya Janata Party
Educational Qualifications: M.A., Ph.D (Hon.), D.Litt. (Hon.)
Educated at: Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Sri Nagar, (Garhwal), Uttarakhand
Profession: Poet, Writer, Social Worker, Politician
Marital Status: Widower
Date of Marriage: 07 May 1985
Spouse's Name: Late Smt. Kusumlata
Children: Arushi Nishank, Shreyasi Nishank
Parents: Late Shri Parmanand Pokhriyal, Late Smt. Vishambhari Devi
Permanent Address: 37/1, Ravindra Nath Tagore Marg, Vijay Colony, Dehradun-248001, Uttarakhand
Tel: (0135) 2746363, 09458945006 (M)
Fax: (0135) 2530113
Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank" (born 15 July 1959), is an Indian politician who was appointed on 31 May 2019 to serve as Minister of Human Resource Development and as of July 2020, following the ministry's name change, his title was changed to Minister of Education.
Pokhriyal was sacked from his post of education minister in July 2021 amid a cabinet reshuffle. He was also hospitalised for a month due to COVID-19 related complications. He represents the Haridwar Parliamentary constituency of Uttarakhand in the 17th Lok Sabha.
He was the 5th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand from 2009 to 2011. He was member of the 16th Lok Sabha and chairperson, Committee on Government Assurances.
Pokhriyal was born in Pinani village, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand to Paramanand Pokhriyal and Vishambhari Devi. He received an M.A. degree from Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University.
Pokhriyal married Kusum Kanta Pokhriyal on 7 May 1985, with whom he has three daughters. One of their daughters, Aarushi Nishank is a classical dancer. His wife died on 11 November 2012 in Dehradun at the age of 50.
Pokhriyal started his career as a teacher in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Saraswati Shishu Mandir. He was first elected to public office in the erstwhile undivided Uttar Pradesh as a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly from Karnaprayag constituency in 1991, defeating a five-time Congress MLA. He was re-elected in 1993 and 1996 from the same constituency. In 1997 he was appointed to the position of Uttaranchal development minister. He was also Uttarakhand's chief minister (from 2009 to 2011) and served as a member of the Lok Sabha's 17th session and the chairman of the Assurance Committee. He is a representative of Haridwar constituency in the Lok Sabha. He was the member of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand for five consecutive terms from 1991 to 2012. He was first elected for the Karnaprayag ward in 1991 and served for three consecutive terms. In 2014, he resigned from the Doiwala, and was elected for Haridwar the Lok Sabha. On 30 May 2019, he was sworn in as Minister of Human Resource Development in the 2nd Modi Government. Following the ministry's name change to the Ministry of Education (India) in July 2020, he served under the title of Minister of Education, until being sacked amid a cabinet reshuffle in July 2021.
Pokhriyal has written novels, stories and poems. He has authored 44 books in Hindi, some of which have been translated to English as well as other Indian languages. Most of his books were published by two private publishers – Vani Prakashan and Diamond Books, and many were published between 2009 and 2011, when he was chief minister of Uttarakhand.
One of his works was adapted into the Garhwali film Major Nirala, which was produced by his daughter Aarushi Nishank and released in 2018.
He is honoured by Hindi Writers Guild, Canada in 2021 and was conferred with the "Sahitya Gaurav Samman".
In 2010 while Nishank was the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, he came under the scanner for a land scam. In 2011, he gave in his resignation prompted by a series of alleged land scams against his government.
In 2014, Pokhriyal caused a controversy when he made a statement in the parliament claiming that astrology should be promoted. He said "Astrology is the biggest science. It is in fact above science. We should promote it". Talking about Lord Ganesha, he said that ancient Indians had the knowledge to transplant a severed head. He has also claimed that Sage Kanada had conducted a nuclear test lakhs of years ago (even though according to historical evidence, the sage is likely to have lived only about two thousand years ago). Pokhriyal has listed two different dates of birth on official documents, a discrepancy that he attributed to the Hindu horoscope.
In the 1990s, the Open International University for Complementary Medicines of Colombo, Sri Lanka conferred a D.Litt. for his contribution in literature. He subsequently received another D.Litt. degree from the same institution for contributions in the field of science. However, OIU is neither registered as a foreign university nor as a domestic university in Sri Lanka, as confirmed by the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka. In August 2019, an appeal was filed in President Ram Nath Kovind’s office for Ramesh Pokhriyal's disqualification as minister for citing a ‘fake’ doctorate degree. Pokhriyal's claim to have received an M.A. degree from Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University have also been called into question.
In 2019, after being appointed the HRD Minister, Pokhriyal issued a directive saying that all the files and note sheets forwarded to him must be in Hindi. This created controversy with ministry officials, as not all of them had the level of proficiency in Hindi needed to prepare notes in that language, and the norm until then had been to prepare all official notes in English. Even though the government had traditionally encouraged officials to have a working knowledge of Hindi, existing rules did not make it compulsory for officials to be highly proficient in Hindi.
In August 2019 at the 57th convocation ceremony of IIT Bombay, Pokhriyal falsely claimed that the U.S. space agency NASA had acknowledged that talking computers could be developed only by employing Sanskrit, which he described as "the world's only scientific language". At the same function, he said that Charaka, hailed as one of the principal contributors of Ayurveda, was the first person who researched and discovered atoms and molecules, when in reality, it was 6th century BCE philosopher Kanada who developed the foundations of an atomistic approach to physics and philosophy in the Sanskrit text Vaiśeṣika Sūtra.
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