Talking about a Revolution!

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When people come together to spend their time in noble initiatives, it almost always results in a transformational force that can work wonders. One such congregation was ‘The Young Changemakers Conclave 2012’, an initiative hosted by the United Nations Information Centre of India and Bhutan and the US Consulate in Mumbai earlier in April this year.

Winds of Change The early evening session was hosted by US Consul General Peter Haas, Samyak Chakrabarty, President- Organising Committee and Kiran Mehra Kerpelmann. The event comprised a carefully chosen mix of inspirational speakers from various walks of life such as academia, business, sport, technology, politics, media, film and music. Those in attendance at this transformational event also included 200 young individuals in the age group of 18 to Talking about a Revolution! 35, who were selected from a host of backgrounds from the 5000-odd applicants. The eclectic bunch of people on the panel had many a story to tell with regards to their journey so far. This was an exceptional platform for the young audience as they were exposed to motivational thoughts, ideas and convictions that each of the speakers embodied.

More Than Just a Face in the Crowd Lakshmi Tripathi, the transgender activist who also spreads awareness on India’s HIV and AIDS issue, turned out to be one of the best speakers, leaving a huge impact on the audience. She spoke about the need for equal rights for all sexes, stressing on the fact that politicians and bureaucrats choose to ignore the stark reality of the real people of this country. Lakshmi, who played a big role in helping to bring about the legal acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, said that it’s vital to change one’s mind, outlook and attitude towards people and be accepting. Only then can talk of any actual change happening in this society take place. “Don’t be the crowd, but be a face in the crowd,” she was quoted as saying.

A Youth Driven Force Anurag Thakur, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader and president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha spoke about the need for the inclusion of India’s youth to consider active political participation in order to bring about a change in society and the country at large. “Start at a small level by making a change in your neighborhood and get together to address local problems. Once you start helping people and you are recognised, then only will you be able to move up and perhaps, one day get yourself a ticket to be a part of the Parliament,” he said.

The Power of Music Adding to the positivity in the air was Vishal Dadlani, lyricist, playback singer and music director, who spoke about the importance of following one’s heart and how music acts as a powerful medium that can unite people, transcending all borders, language, communities and religion. In spite of claiming to be far from an orator, Vishal made an impact, speaking strongly about music as a tool that has the ability to generate key issues faced by society. According to Vishal, the poets of yesterday are the musicians of today. He is also affiliated with raising awareness on issues such as the wastage of resources, particularly whether Mumbai really needs a Rs. 350 crore Shivaji Maharaj statue in the middle of the sea. You can voice your opinion on www.smallchange.in and help make a change.

Turning the Times The easygoing entrepreneur Rajeev Samant of Sula Vineyards connected really well with the youth. He cited an example from his own business’s failure for five years in raising various crops and then going on to become the largest winemaker in the country. He also spoke of ways to conserve water with the help of dams and of a sustainable business model that employs villagers and that utilises India’s resources.

Through the Lens Spicing up the atmosphere at this gathering was the extremely well spoken Asin Thottumkal, known for her brilliant contributions to the Indian film industry. In her opinion, films have the power to create awareness and can be used as a tool for change. Most people wonder how this actress became successful without the seemingly-indispensable ‘godfather’, to which she offered four simple tips for success: Be yourself no matter what and never change your values due to external pressure; Take it slow but do it right; Success always accompanies passion and hard work; Never expect life to be just a series of ‘ups’ as there will always be ‘downs’. Asin said that just as she became thick skinned and survived in this industry, likening it to Darwin’s theory of evolution, everyone can do the same.

Other Notable Speakers The changemakers who spoke about their awe inspiring journeys included Leander Paes, journalist Arnab Goswami, percussionist and composer Taufiq Quereshi, Chef Rahul Akerkar and the young, creative fashion designer Masaba Gupta. Social changemakers like Shaheen Mistry, founder of the Akanksha Foundation and Shaina N C also imparted valuable advice on essential qualities that the youth should try and inculcate. It was a fantastic coming together of people who strongly believe that it is the youth of today who can bring about a change in India’s outlook and progress. After all, the youth of today are the leaders of tommorow!

Volume 1 Issue 11

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