The Indian Youth Parliament is a simulation of the Indian Parliament discussing and deliberating on issues of national interest and proposing solutions to them. An initiative of the Interact Club of RN Podar School, the event was held at The Club, Andheri on 3rd and 4th of July. In its maiden year, the event saw immense participation from students from various corners of the city, with over 150 students being divided into the two dynamic committees of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Often heard are fervent complaints about the Indian youth being apathetic to politics, rants about the legislature being not responsive or accountable and jibes on the pseudo-patriotic tendencies of the youth. A culmination of these thoughts which plagued the minds of many of our students led to the genesis of this initiative, a platform to allow the often ignored voice of the youth, to be heard.
Two issues that have plagued the country since Independence were chosen for the participants. The two houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, discussed the border issue in Kashmir and reservations in education respectively. Both, pertaining to laws that were supposed to be temporary in nature but eventually becoming the accepted and unchallengeable norms of society. Article 370 which ensures a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the exodus of Kashmiri pandits and the disturbing rise of militancy of the valley formed the basis of debate in Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha delved into the one issue that has sparked strong polar opinions among the people from time to time. While the preamble of the constitution promises of equality of opportunity, reservations have been alleged of being in contradiction and of enforcing equality as well.
The event began with our director-principal Mrs. Avnita Bir speaking about the importance of youth in politics followed by a motivating address by our Chief Guest, Mr. Ashish Shelar, which met thunderous applause from the Parliamentarians. Having been motivated by such excellent masters of oratory, the Parliamentarians then entered the much awaited discussions.
Participants had vivid opinions about their respective agendas. With an eccentric blend of debate debutantes and veterans, the committees were in a way in-sync with the demographics of the real House. The debate in both houses began with heated calls to action and the ever-ebullient participants deliberated upon the agenda in a manner that shattered the chair-throwing and uncultured image of the real Parliament. However, bedlam broke loose in Rajya Sabha where protests from student organizations against the provisions for the backward classes turned violent which caused a law and order situation. With a set of specific demands from the student organization and an ultimatum of 4th July to formulate policy, the House seemed to be divided on the interim bills being proposed.
The reverie of the crisis having been resolved was disturbed when a new emergency came up at midnight, this time in the form of protests by the Gurjar community demanding for a national quota. Sleep deprived yet enthusiastic, the Parliamentarians worked animatedly towards the solutions and indeed formulated a comprehensive bill resolving the issue. A similar situation was witnessed in the Lok Sabha with a bloodbath caused by ISIS militants in the valley triggered the debate further, concluding with an enterprising and bold bill.
Concluding with an address by the inspiring Mr. Ruben Mascarenhas, the humble yet assertive debates came to an end. With the winning Parliamentarians visiting the winter session of the Lok Sabha this year and an opportunity of presenting the discussions of the event as a private member bill in the Parliament, the seeds of change planted by our Parliamentarians could not have received a more befitting fruition.
Organized and implemented by students, Indian Youth Parliament is an example of the immense capabilities of the youth. A learning experience like never before for the organizers and participating students alike, it promises of a better future for the nation, when the reins of the chariots of power come into the hands of its most nifty resource, the young leaders and visionaries of our times.
“We don’t throw shoes. We throw pertinent questions, which will leave you thinking.
We don’t mince our words. We choose them.
We don’t want to just sit and opine. We want to act.”