Our students were invited to attend an interaction between Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Bezwada Wilson and Former Chief Justice of India and Padma Vibhushan awardee M. N. Venkatachaliah on the topic: ‘Young India has a crucial role to play in re-instilling the dwindling faith of the society in the system and pride in itself.’ This was held at Jnana Jyoti Auditorium, Central College.
Bezwada Wilson is an Indian activist who was born in 1966 in the Kolar Gold Fields and is the youngest child of parents who belong to the manual scavenging community. His father and eldest brother both worked as manual scavengers. Bezwada graduated in Political Science from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad and began his fight to end manual scavenging in 1986. He has been nominated a Senior Fellow by the Ashoka Foundation and was also awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in July 2016.
This interaction gave our students insight into the significance of and challenges faced by the judiciary in a democratic setup. They also gained a unique perspective into the lives of people in the manual scavenging community.
Sahil Kuchlous, a Grade 10 Inventurer, who attended the event, had this to say,
It was very exciting to be attending the event, as it is not every day students are given an opportunity to interact with such esteemed guests. The discussion began with both guests introducing themselves and a brief view on the topic of the day, which was ‘Young India has a crucial role to play in re-instilling the dwindling faith of the society in the system and pride in itself.’ Mr. Wilson spoke about the importance of looking at education not just from the perspective of becoming something, but from the perspective of learning something new.
He also discussed why it is imperative for the youth to speak up when they see the many atrocities committed in our country, and to help ensure that they never happen again. With his wisdom earned over many years of hardships and experience, Mr. WIlson really helped open our eyes to the injustices that are constantly taking place around us. While Mr. Venkatachaliah spoke to us about the importance of the judiciary, and how and why the Indian judiciary has lost the respect of the people in the recent years. He helped us understand what really happens in our courts.
Further into the session, students were given an opportunity to ask questions, which were well received by the speakers and always answered in great detail. All of us left the interaction feeling like we had learned something new. It was great to speak to people who have been in the situations that many of us discuss every day, and the experience was truly inspiring.