Dr. Shashi Tharoor addressed the students of the University of Delhi (DU) in an event organised by the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and Kerala Students’ Union. He had a candid conversation with the students from topics ranging from communication blockade in Kashmir to the political rights of youth in India. He urged students to support NSUI in the upcoming elections in light of their campaign motto #AwaazUthaoSeetiBajao
The NSUI along with Kerala Students Union organised a student interaction session with Dr. Shashi Tharoor on 4th September. Being hosted at the Amitabh guest house in North Campus, the session saw huge participation from DU students. The Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections are scheduled for 12th September. Candidates filed their nomination on Wednesday and the final list of names was released on Thursday. Talking about Indian National Congress (INC) affiliated NSUI’s campaign ‘Awaaz Uthao, Seeti Bajao (Blow the whistle against injustice),’ Tharoor said, “The campaign is relevant since this is a government that suppresses whistleblowers. Somebody needs to raise their voice against inequality.”
During this interaction, Dr. Tharoor laid emphasis particularly on the youth political rights and spoke about bringing the age of candidacy to run elections down to 18 years. He said, “I believe that even 18-year-olds should be allowed to contest for different offices. In fact, I would even recommend a reservation for elected officials under 30. This is a young country and more young people should be in power,” He went on to say, “This government only specializes in sloganeering. There are no jobs and students who will soon be graduating from their colleges and looking for the jobs will be impacted most by it.”
Several questions were asked to Dr. Tharoor and he dealt with every question patiently. On being asked upon the communication blockade in Kashmir, he said, “What is happening in Kashmir is a travesty of democracy by completely subverting spirits of the constitution,” adding that he was “curious to see how the Supreme Court reacts to the petitions being filed on the matter.”
He further commented on the National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) Bill saying, “People who have been living here since 1971 have been called foreigners. They talk about Vivekananda and forget that it was Vivekananda who said that India was a place which offered place to persecuted people.” Tharoor also added that the Congress party is “doing everything it can” on the matter but “they have divided opinions on northeast.”
On being questioned about the current state of the Indian economy, Tharoor said that we should all be worried about it and that he couldn’t sugarcoat the truth. He said that the government has built its reputation on image making and that in reality; it is lying to the Indian public by manipulating the calculation of the GDP. He talked about how the agricultural sector is suffering; farmers are committing suicides, and the industrial sector’s output going down. He also talked about how demonetization was the worst thing that could have happened to our economy and how the government is campaigning their tax terrorism, making the common man suffer.
He then talked about how today mainstream media cannot be trusted because the businessmen that own them also have interests in other businesses that the government can influence. He told the students about the reality behind media suppression and said that journalists and editors are too scared today to pursue actual journalism since their job and life are on the line. He ended the discussion on media suppression in today’s political scenario, by talking about how today independent media with an online presence like The Wire, Scroll, and The Quint are more truthful and trustworthy than mainstream media.
Dr.Shashi Tharoor concluded the session by giving some advice to the students. He told them to not compete with others but with themselves; and that failure was a part of life, that without it there was no success.
Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat