Students from around the city met at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan recently to discuss solutions to terrorism, poverty and recession at their model United Nations meet. Bhavmun, as it was called, also witnessed surprise mentions of cricket and Harry Potter.
The three-day summit had students holding meetings in five rooms simultaneously and each student represented and spoke on behalf of some country.
In the “Security Council” room, delegates took a leap into the future and showed 2060, with new emerging superpowers. “In the world we have shown, the US has self-destructed by meddling in the affairs of other countries,” said Subham Singh of St. Thomas’ Boys’ School, who represented Japan.
The spokesperson from China, Anurag Sen of DPS Newtown, added that with the US losing its superpower status and Russia heading towards recession, China and Japan were the next big daddies. Some behind-the-scene banter between these two students, playing China and Japan, showed just how seriously they took their roles. “I own the US,” said Subham of Japan. “Well, you’re selfish and only care about your own people,” said Anurag of China. “Your population is too big to manage. I have a big economy and small population,” said Japan. “Want me to reduce your tiny population further?” snapped China and the two glared at each other, all in jest.
Delegates at the “Counter-Terrorism Committee” felt the term “terrorism” had a vague definition in international law and tried improve upon it. “We also wanted to discuss nuclear terrorism, asking nations like Russia to justify movements of their nuclear warheads but the first topic took up most of the time,” said Saurya Sengupta of Presidency University, who chaired the committee. He had watched Narendra Modi’s recent speech at the UN before coming to this meet, but this committee was more than he had bargained for. “No two countries would agree on anything!”
Students, representing different countries, conduct a meeting.
A student delivers his speech. (Pictures by Saradindu Chaudhury)
Magic and cricket
The students had also simulated a Ministry of Magic meeting, based on the Harry Potter series. “We imagined a crisis situation where a dragon had destroyed a quidditch (a game of the magical world) stadium and members of the ministry had to debate upon how and where the dragon would be shifted,” said Ekalavya Chaudhuri, who played the minister of magic. “Even if imaginary, the situation was a critical one and required UN-level diplomacy in handling,” he added.
This room saw some action too when a “dementor” stormed into the room, held a wand at the head of the chief of the International Confederation of Wizards and kidnapped her. It was later revealed that under the dementor’s hood was Anubhav Khamroi, the secretary-general of the model UN and the kidnapped lady was Megha Saha, the deputy secretary- general. “We included this gimmick as it was fun and it proved very popular,” they said later.
The duo were also proud of another feat. “We are holding this year’s summit in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan. We had to send them past reports of our summits, answer email interviews and send them this year’s agenda. It is a prestigious collaboration,” said Anubhav and Megha. Teachers Sriparna Mitra Sinha, Ketaki Hazra and Maitreyi De Sarkar provided support.
They also held a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) meet, handling a match-fixing scandal and the possibility of reinstating “former head” N. Srinivasan. “But the board voted against re-appointing him,” said Aparimita Das of La Martiniere for Girls, who was the chairperson of the meeting.
After all the debate and disputes there was one summit where all the countries agreed. “And ours is more serious than terrorism and recession,” said Josh Majumdar, who was the chairperson of the Human Rights Council. “The common enemy faced by all countries is disease, poverty and illiteracy. In our summit, India and Pakistan, North and South Korea all agreed to tackle these issues together.”
Josh, a student of Jadavpur University, managed to attend this event as classes at his university were suspended due to the clashes between the students and management. “It would have been great to resolve our university’s issue like this model UN but there the matter is more complex so I doubt it would be this easy,” he sighed.