| Anurag Pandey, (right) Vikash Kumar. Pictures by Ashok Sinha |
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar would have faced a number of tricky questions as a politician but few would have answered him as wittily as Patna youth Anurag Pandey did recently, at an international meet in New Delhi.
On learning that he is a mass communications student, Pandey said, Parrikar reportedly told him that half the media people “showcase inaccurate things”.
Pandey, a second-year scholar at Sharda University, National Capital Region, was, however, prompt with an answer: “Many politicians are dishonest, but you are honest. The entire system cannot be blamed just because of a few people. Similarly, just because there are a few wrong people in the media does not mean that the entire media is wrong.”
The exchange took place at the six-day International Youth Forum for Policy, Change and Development, organised by non-government organisation Alexis Society, started in New Delhi on June 24.
Pandey, accompanied by Vikash Kumar, a first- year BTech (mechanical) student at Sri Krishna Institute of Technology, Bangalore, represented India at the meet, where Parrikar, an IIT-ian, was a guest.
Pandey told The Telegraph that keeping in mind Parrikar’s promise to provide Internet facility to all students in his state, he asked the Goa chief minister: “You have done a lot for the development of your state. But why don’t you press for a bill to be passed in Parliament to ensure that persons convicted of crimes or corruption cannot take stand for elections?”
In response, Pandey quoted Parrikar as saying: “No bill of Parliament can remove the ills of society. Values are inculcated in people at their homes and schools.”
Apart from Parrikar, members of Parliament Shashi Tharoor and Anurag Singh Thakur attended the event, which focussed on all aspects related to social entrepreneurship, education, child rights, sports and policy-making. The event came out with a global action plan, which would be implemented by the delegates to bring about positive changes in society.
Inaugurating the event, Pandey said Tharoor asked youngsters to bring about changes in society.
Pandey asked him: “Instead of asking us to do something, why don’t you — who is already in power — implement an effective police to bring about changes in society? After all, youths will take five to seven years to come to power.”
In response, Tharoor reportedly said: “We are trying to improve the society but a lot depends on the youth.”
Thakur — the youngest MP — said: “Every small initiative can bring about a significant change.”
Vikash, too, had a few uncomfortable questions. “I was surprised by the achievements Mr Tharoor spoke about. He said more than 700 million cellphones are used in the country. According to him, this is development. But I would like to inform him that 80 per cent of India’s population does not have basic amenities like toilets,” he said.
Besides matching with national politicians, Vikash took part in cultural events and a multi-cultural fashion show. “I promoted the culture of Bihar by putting on a kurta and dhoti, and also performed bhangra. I wanted to convey that in India, there is unity in diversity.”