Doctoral Alumna Focus | Simarjeet (Simi) Sandhu, DOL '21

Simarjeet (Simi) Sandhu

"The program taught me that leaders must be the voice of those who are voiceless. The Kisaans in India are being silenced and in many cases are helpless. As a leader, I find it my duty to advocate for the Kisaans and be their voice"

Simarjeet (Simi) Sandhu, DOL '21

Program

  • Organizational Leadership (DOL)
  • Business Administration (DBA)

Department

  • The George B. Delaplaine Jr. School of Business
  • Education

Hood alumna, Simarjeet Sandhu, DOL, graduated with a doctorate in organizational leadership (DOL) in 2021. Simarjeet is the author of the children's book, Kisaan, and is currently an ESOL teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools. We spoke with Simarjeet about her new book, and the importance of raising awareness for farmers in the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana. 

Tell us about your children's book!

Kisaan, or farmer, is a very special book. It is a story about Simran and Sehaj, the two main characters, who tell a story about farmers from Punjab and Haryana. They do this by telling a story about their great-grandfather, who in real life was my grandfather.

This book is intended to raise awareness for farmers in Punjab and Haryana. Many people outside of India do not know about farmers in Punjab and Haryana. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana help feed the billions of people in India and also around the world.

Readers will also learn about a very special Kisaan, my grandfather, Mr. Maluk Singh Sandhu.

What made you want to write a children's book? How did you come up with the idea?

I am a daughter and granddaughter of farmers from Punjab and Haryana. 

Since November 2020, farmers have been protesting in India due to unjust laws set forth by the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. The farmers have left their farms to protest these laws in hopes of getting them repealed. Farmers, many of them over 70 years old, have been abused by police and have been falsely arrested. The farmers have also been deprived of restrooms, medical help and other necessities. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have also been cut off for many of the farmers who have posted pictures from the protest sites. 

I wrote my book because I wanted to be the voice for the Kisaan. I see my grandparents in the elderly men and women sitting at the protest sites. 

While I rest in the comfort of my home, farmers are sleeping on the side of the road or in tents. The farmers have had to battle the winter months in these conditions, and now are faced with the summer heat of Delhi. They are also at a very high risk of catching COVID 19. The protest sites have even deprived farmers of vaccinations. 

I decided to write a book to raise awareness of farmers in Punjab and Haryana, who have been amongst the most vocal protestors. It is my hope that children from all over the world will learn about farmers and will help advocate for them. 

How have your studies in Hood College's DOL program helped you as you've worked on this project?

The DOL program helped me reach this point in many ways. 

First, my professors, Dr. Kathleen Bands, Dr. Anita Jose, Dr. Jennifer Cuddapah, and so many others taught me the importance of speaking up and leading in ways that will promote change. 

The program also taught me that leaders must be the voice of those who are voiceless. The Kisaans in India are being silenced and in many cases are helpless. As a leader, I find it my duty to advocate for the Kisaans and be their voice.

The DOL program has given me the courage and motivation to write and publish my books. 

How can readers help support your children's book?

Purchasing Kisaan from Amazon. Since May 28th, Kisaan has ranked #1 on Amazon's top new releases for Indian Literature. It has has also hit #9 on the bestseller list for Indian Literature. Every copy purchased helps to raise awareness for Kisaans of India. 

Additionally, I am donating 10% of my profits to two different organizations that are helping to provide housing, medical assistance and basic necessities to farmers.

The two organizations, 5 Rivers Heart Association and Khalsa Aid have been working to support farmers. There is a brief section on both organizations in the Kisaan book to inform readers of the work they are doing to support our farmers.

Any other information you would like to add?

I have published three books, all that are geared to diversifying bookshelves.

My book, Kisaan, is a very special project because it was my first book that I published as a Doctor. 

My grandfather, Maluk Singh Sandhu, always cheered me on and waited for the day I became a doctor.  He passed away in September 2020 and was unable to see me complete my degree, so when I decided to publish this book, I wanted to do so after completing my doctorate because my grandfather is featured. By doing this I felt as though I honored my grandfather because it is a book about him, and had Dr. Simarjeet Kaur Sandhu written on the front cover.

Inspired by Simarjeet’s story to #GOFURTHER in your educational & career pursuits? Learn more about Hood College’s Doctorate of Organizational Leadership by clicking here.