Learning the basics of democracy

Learning the basics of democracy

The Hindu College, Delhi University, recently held its annual event ‘The Hindu Policy Summit -2014’ over August 22, 23 and 24 and witnessed a whopping participation of no less than 350 students from across the country.

The Policy Summit is a simulation of Parliamentary proceedings where students are given the stage to express their views on a variety of issues of national concern. They assume the roles of chief ministers, heads of different political parties and even lobby groups and draft laws akin to ministers in the Parliament.

This is only the second year of this unique event held at the Hindu College, but it has already garnered massive participation and enthusiasm among students.

This year, the event was thrown open to not just colleges and universities but also schools. A delegation came from as far as Sanskriti School in Guwahati. Then there were teams from Chandigarh Engineering College, ISCAI University (Dehradun), Hidayatullah National Law University (Hyderabad), and from closer home, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Ambedkar University and practically all DU colleges.

They gathered at the Vallabhbhai Patel Conference Centre in North Campus and were addressed by the chief guest, senior journalist Kishalay Bhattacharjee, following which everyone slipped into their roles as CMs of UP, Sikkim, Goa, etc. and heads of political groups to engage in heated political debates.

Probably the issue that was closest to students’ hearts and saw the lengthiest discussion was ‘Reforms in higher education’. Children spoke unequivocally about the lack of quality colleges and universities in each part of the country which pushes them to part from home and crowd metropolitan cities. Predictably, the question of restructuring of courses and the controversy surrounding the four-year undergraduate programme also came up and some students complained that they have to consider universities abroad for lack of reforms.

Some others took up cudgels on behalf of the thousands who study in private universities and demanded government interference to standardise fees, curriculum and in selection of teachers at such educational institutes.

The other topics that came up for discussion were Uniform Civil Code, Article 370, India’s Foreign Policy and Economic Reforms in India. In a show of how well-read and informed youngsters are these days, students spoke passionately about how the lack of a Uniform Civil Code leads to atrocities on one gender in the name of religion.

Participants also went back in history, analysing the speeches of national and Kashmiri leaders of yore, to read into the finer details of Article 370 and draw their conclusions.

At the end of the three-day discussion, a Best Representative Award was given away on each topic. The Best Delegate Award went to Gyanbharti School, Saket.

Gaurav Sanawal, president of the Symposium Society of Hindu College, which holds this event, said, “This was a very successful edition of The Policy Summit. We have compiled the ‘draft legislations’ on each topic and have shared it with our chief guest who will now see how to translate them into action. Besides, we will now put up these on social media networks. As many students like us, as possible, should be made aware of these issues so that they think about the problems that even the last person in the country is facing.”