‘CONVERGE’ In Photos And Tweets: When Delhi Decided To Give A Damn!

Posted on December 2, 2014 in Youth Ki Awaaz news

For Youth Ki Awaaz, the CONVERGE journey started first when we realized that most of the platforms created for conversations about young people do not actually talk about their personal experiences and stories. The ones which do, are not focused on having young people take the dais. And when young people do take the dais, their opinions do not play a crucial role in decision making. That is how CONVERGE was conceived.

So on November 29, 2014, the Barsoom Bistro in Delhi’s hipster hub HauzKhas Village saw the coming together of an eclectic bunch of people – an investigative journalist, an author, a litigator, a social entrepreneur and a campaign director. One by one, Neha Dixit, Ira Trivedi, Apar Gupta, Akshay Saxena and Preeti Harman took to the stage, sharing their intriguing stories and personal experiences of development and social change.

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In the audience – carefully selected young participants from all corners of India – joined in on the conversations, while absorbing the ingredients of an enriching spectrum.

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Our co-hosts Tamseel Hussain, Digital Lead at Oxfam India and Anshul Tewari, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Youth Ki Awaaz initiated the conversation.

It was also an opportunity for us to create a power shift in the kind of stories that have been central to public sentiment for the longest.

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Independent Journalist Neha Dixit told the story of how corporate takeover of the media has killed ground-breaking stories of human rights violations and development.

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Best-selling author Ira Trivedi talked about how she got around writing a book on India’s sexual and marriage revolution, and the kind of research she did to understand India’s changing sexual moods.

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On the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the ‘Law Policy and Politics’ category, SC litigator Apar Gupta delivered a crisp and compelling narrative about the fine line of free speech in India, taking us on a journey of his first incident in college where he was punished and forced to take down a blog he had written against his university – and then went on to talk about the banning of Jaswant Singh’s book ‘Jinnah’, a case he was associated with. Apar also focused on nuances of when free speech becomes abuse and harassment and also spoke about how banning porn might be a part of the problem we are trying to solve.

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A participant asks questions

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Performance artist and beat boxer Vinith Johnson lifted the energy in the crowd with his vocal percussion skills – from hip hop and dub-step to desi south Indian music tunes.

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Participants collaborated on discussions during the snack break organized by Barsoom Bistro.

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Social entrepreneur Akshay Saxena, who took a break from Harvard to change the world through his enterprise Avanti Fellows told us why he chose to teach math to children from marginalized backgrounds and how young people can collaborate to change the world for those less privileged than them.

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And lastly, Change.org Country Director Preethi Herman took us on a journey of 6 stories of how regular people took on the power centers through petitions and brought about on-ground change – from auto-fairs in Chennai to forest preservation in Chandrapur.

CONVERGE ended with compelling conversations, feedback from the audience and Test Tube pitches by those who wish to tell similar stories at the next event.

While CONVERGE started as a platform ‘for those who give a damn’, the response and collaboration between the participants and speakers has given us the validation that this is a community here to stay.

Until next time, then!

PS: Videos coming soon.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.