About Sasmita

Sasmita Sarangi born on 12th October 1971, was born and brought up in the land of temples, Odisha. Her father Late Shri Balakrishna Sarangi was a Sr. Engineer with the Government of Odisha and her mother Manjula Sarangi, is an open minded home maker. She grew up under the burgeoning influence of her maternal grandfather, Late Somnath Rath, considered the pride of Odisha, and aspires to carry forward his legacy.

 Sasmita the only daughter was always encouraged by her parents to excel academically while imbibing the familial values. Her childhood years were mostly spent in the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. A pass out from Stewart School, Cuttack she graduated in Sociology from the renowned Ravenshaw College in the same city. 

Always amongst the toppers of her class, she was a feminist and a woman activist since her teen age. In her graduation days she did a dissertation, “A study on destitute women” which was a first of its kind.

She qualified the entrance to be selected into the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi in 1992 to pursue higher studies. Here she studied M.A and M.Phil in Sociology.

Her M.Phil dissertation was “Religion and Ecology: A Sociological Study with Reference to the major Religions in India”.

This campus was a turning point in her life. It not only shaped her intellect but also gave her the right man, Shamim Akhtar

Her classmate, Shamim, was a spirited person and his genuineness touched her heart. Shamim told her that he is the eldest son in a middle class family of eleven kids. Understanding his responsibility, she agreed to share her life with him. 

Shamim’s father was in Bihar State Civil Service and wanted him to be an IAS. So was the aspiration of the Sarangi family from her. They studied together and wrote the UPSC exam in 1995.Shamim was already a photographer even as a student and he qualified civil services and joined DANICS in 1997. She continued to pursue her PhD from JNU.

The couple married the same year. This Brahmin girl from Odisha married this Muslim boy from Bihar with due blessings from both parents taking vows under both the religious methods!

After probation, Shamim was posted to the beautiful coral island Lakshadweep. He wanted Sasmita to qualify Civil Service, but she dropped out of her PhD and landed up in Lakshadweep to be with him.

Life was poetry to them. It was like an extended honeymoon. During one of those long walks on the sea shore when Shamim once asked her what she wanted to do in life Sasmita casually expressed her desire to be an entrepreneur and a writer.

Destiny, took a strange turn when Shamim’s father passed away. After coming back to Delhi, Shamim and Sasmita had to take care of a huge family and hence the entrepreneur in her took over and Nishcam started also to earn that extra buck to support the family.

While in Lakshadweep they had already started a book “Floating Pearl in Arabian Sea- Lakshadweep” where Shamim had taken the pictures and Sasmita had written the text.

Why is it said that behind every successful man there is a woman? Looking at the life of this couple, one can conclude that it’s being together and not “behind” each other.

In 2007, they were blessed with a son. Sasmita named him Anwesh and Shamim added “Shivam”. Nishka Akhtar is 14 now and Anwesh Shivam Akhtar is 7.


At the unveiling of Kailasa - a journey within on 30th January 2011 at Shanti Stupa, New Delhi

Now, the owner of Nishcam Publications and Breathing Space, Sasmita wants to devote full time to writing, her real passion.


Get to know Shamim Akhtar

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