Skip to main content

The Young Adults Series at the Bangalore International Centre

 November 2020

With France reimposing lockdown restrictions, closing universities, and restricting people's movement to just 1 hour per day, I decided to fly back to India. My rationale was simple; rather than attending online classes in a foreign city, with no roommates, no extra-curricular activities during which I would have usually interacted with people, and it being illegal to meet anyone you are not living with, it made more sense to return to a safer environment in which I could enjoy more freedom, as Bangalore was in a pretty good state, at least compared to France. 


While waiting to board my flight at Charles de Gaulle Airport, I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and came across a post published by the Bangalore International Centre. Clickbait-ly titled 'MUN Ki Baat' (for those who don't get the reference: PM Modi has a monthly radio show called 'Man Ki Baat'), it piqued my curiosity, and I found myself watching a recording of it. When I initially clicked on the link to the recording, I thought that I was going to listen to a panel of young MUNners talk on the BIC platform which has previously seen the likes of experts (read: old, aged and grey haired) in their respective fields - from Abhijit Banerjee to Joseph Stiglitz, Ram Guha to Harsh Mander to many more. Though I have enjoyed these grey-haired people's talks on more than one occasion, to my surprise, the 'MUNners' speaking were all in their late 20s to early 30s and in no way represented the MUNners of today, although I digress. 


Though the talk was quite enjoyable, with one of the former MUNners being a part of the Indian delegation at the real UN, I was disappointed that the BIC stage had not included youngsters and the youth thus far. Rather than merely being disappointed, I decided that now that I am back in Bangalore, and saw myself staying here for at least a couple of months, there was no better time to act on my disappointment. I had nothing to lose by trying. A few phone calls later, I was in touch with the BIC team who were extremely receptive to the idea of including the youth in public discourse; hence the Young Adults series was conceived. 


A little bit about the Bangalore International Centre


The BIC was founded in 2005 by like-minded intellects - civic leaders, educators, professionals, government officials, artists and others to facilitate 'open dialogue' in the city. Its vision is to engage with a community of thinkers and foster 'intellectual activity, dialogue, cultural enterprise and innovation'. It's building was inaugurated in 2019, and it's 48,000 square feet premises has witnessed debates, exhibitions, pop up kitchens and much more. 

What is the Young Adults Series?

Ep. 3

Ep. 2
Ep. 1

The BIC and I conceptualised the Young Adults Series. Its aim was simple; include the unrepresented youth in a platform meant to attract a diverse set of audiences, focusing on the 'younger demographics', in line with their vision statement. All panellists have to fit in the age category of 17-22 years.

The journey....

We have so far had three panel discussions beginning with the existential question of 'When are we old enough?'. The talk was well-received, and the Q&A slot turned into a counselling session in which our audience was asking us, 17-18-year-olds, for advice. Based on feedback received, and the pro-bono counselling session we had conducted, we were convinced that we were indeed old enough, and having set a good precedent, ventured into our second discussion regarding youth in activism - 'There is a bit of 'Greta' in us'. The panellists were domain (youth) experts in various fields - politics, women's rights, education and the student community. The panel spoke about the relevance of youth in activism, why they do what they do, its effectiveness, challenges, drawbacks, victories and more. The third episode dealt with screens, a ubiquitous item, especially in the pandemic stricken world. From parents forcing their little ones to restrict screen time to now forcing them to stare at a screen all day long in lieu of online classes, the panel spoke about the usage of screens - it's benefits, challenges, the role of short-form content, reduced attention span, misinformation due to social media etc 

BIC adapting to the changing times with a venue  + virtual event in which 1 panellist tuned in from Kolkata while the rest were at the BIC in Domlur, Bangalore

The series so far has been interesting, to say the least. What I am most proud of is the ability of people my age to articulate straightforwardly and maintain a sense of dignity while presenting themselves on a public platform. Credit must also be given to the BIC for not only listening to a random 18-year-old rant about how the youth should be included in public spaces but also act on it and launch the series. It has given me an opportunity to dabble as a moderator, besides being the ideator and catalyst. 

The uniqueness behind topic ideation and conceptualisation 

After having had three such talks, be rest assured that there are more to come. Though the details are still under wraps, I can promise that they will be equally, if not more impressive. After all, having adopted a system of using social media to come up with ideas of what should be discussed has influenced the nature and scope of what we talk about. Reaching out to north of 800 followers by clicking on 'post' has shaped the series and made it what it's supposed to stand for - engaging and representing the youth. How did I manage this? People (and in some cases, later, panellists), gave their ideas, held short discussions (on social media) on issues plaguing the youth, false narratives held by adults and more. Based on responses I received on social media, topics were finalised and ideated. The topics being discussed are not a reflection of what only the BIC, or I think is important. It's representative of the community of the youth we have reached out to, their ideas, thoughts, frustrations and more, and that's what makes this series unique, and truly representative.

Below, are links you may be interested in. Video recordings are available on the links as well.

1. Bangalore International Centre

2. Breaking Free: When are we old enough?

3. There is bit of 'Greta' in us

4. Here a screen, there a screen

Comments

  1. Dear Sir,
    This is a wonderful opportunity. I am a young adult, who is working on my college applications as well as preparing for school exams. As both are strongly interlinked, it would be great if you got an exam topper or someone on those lines to do a session. Especially to discuss about work-life balance and handling the pressure. It would be very useful for us young adults who are facing lot of pressure.
    Regards,
    Rangarajan TB

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Visiting the Kasturinagar (KA-03) RTO - a tumultuous but manageable experience to get a Learner's/ Driver's License without an agent/ driving school

Ask anyone, and I can guarantee that they will have a story (and in most cases, many stories) about their trip, or rather, numerous trips to the RTO for something as simple as getting a Learner's License (LL) or a Driver's License (DL). In this blog, I hope to make your life a tad bit easier by guiding you through the entire process, which may seem easy at first but is full of (overcome able) challenges if you know what you are doing. I turned 18 in January this year, and besides cutting a cake, I worked on my LL application online. I challenged myself to complete the entire LL to DL process by myself and without the help of an agent or a driving school, unlike what the majority do. The lengthy application process and multiple visits to the RTO, impressed upon me why most people decided to pay a little extra to get an agent to do it for them. Still, I was determined not to pay a single rupee more than the official cost. I succeeded.  Do note that this answer is concerning the K

Kicking off a 'political career' in an idea-based, grassroots level political party

Despite having been following politics for the longest time, and now studying it full time, I never joined a political party. When people used to ask me "who do you support?", my answer was standard, "no one". Luckily for me, ever since turning 18 and being eligible to vote, there hasn't been an election in which I'd be forced to cast my vote and tell people that I have made a definitive choice about a particular political party. At a time when politics has become ever so polarising and dirty, I couldn't be happier to associate myself with the BNP. It was in February 2020 that I was introduced to the Bengaluru NavaNiramana Party. I found their vision, leadership and ideas incredibly refreshing. Though I was aware of their launch/ kickoff meeting that took place in Freedom Park in early 2020, due to a friend's TEDx talk taking place simultaneously, I could not attend. Then, between Board Exams and the lockdown that took us all by surprise, I forgot ab

A few questions we must ask ourselves about the situation surrounding the Babri Masjid/ Ram Mandir controversy

August 5, 2020, was a historic day in India for two reasons. First, it was a year since the special status of J&K was revoked, and the state was converted into Union Territories; it resulted in it being directly controlled by the Central Government in Delhi and no longer controlled by an elected government under the federal setup. It was simultaneously followed with a year-long (and still ongoing) internet and communications blockade. Second, it was a day celebrated by right-wing Hindu nationalists because of the  ground-bre aking ceremony (Bhoomi Pooja/ Puja) that was held to begin construction of a temple for Lord Ram; a temple being built on a land where a mosque that was demolished by close allies of the BJP in 1992 lay. Reaching this point was not easy. It was a struggle that lasted for decades, multiple cases in court, contributions from the Archaeological Survey of India, claims of Muslims invaders building a mosque over a temple etc. The court finally ruled in favour a temp

Ministry of Railways 'Disposes Of' my RTI request regarding deaths on (Shramik) trains

Similar to the Vande Bharath Mission that was launched by the Indian Government to repatriate Indian nationals stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic (when regular flight operations were banned across the country), the Government of India launched the much-needed project to enable reverse-migration of its nation's most destitute - our migrants. Migrant labourers who are typically from rural parts of India, due to a loss of income, livelihood, coupled with a fear of catching the virus and 'wanting to die at home', began walking back to their villages, at times 1000s of kilometres away. With all trains and buses ceasing operations, their journey was on foot, in back of trucks, and has resulted in many deaths. At the same time, it has shown their grit and determination with heart-breaking stories of people like the 15-year-old girl who cycled 1200 km with her father to reach home. After not even acknowledging the problem for over a month, the Government launched special

How the Indira Canteen is a Failure and a Success

Source Indira Canteen is a fast food joint that has been touted as CM Siddaramaiah 's pet project in the city of Bengaluru, Karnataka. The canteen aims to serve 500 people per meal per day. Rahul Gandhi inaugurated this populist scheme of the Congress led Karnataka Government on Independence Day 2017. This was done in run up to the Karnataka Assembly Elections that is taking place five days from today. All 197 wards have their own Indira Canteen, built at a cost of approximately INR 30 lakhs each {1} . The setting up of this canteen is obviously to reduce hunger among the poor. Indira Canteen serves food at heavily subsidized rates by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. Breakfast can be availed at Rs. 5 and lunch at Rs. 10. The entire scheme has been well thought of and according to reports has been running smoothly {2} . The canteens are still operational (this is itself a major win for the Government), food is being cooked at remote locations by companies to whom thi

Micro Light

What we did On the 6th of November 2011 my family friends and my family went on a Micro Light plane ride. The plane was a two seater. All of us got a chance to ride on it. When we were in the air we were allowed to steer the plane. Then we could align the plane to the runway. When my mother went in the plane the pilot decided to scare us by flying over our heads and our car!! When the oldest one in our group went there was so much wind that the plane went in another direction! It was a nice and wonderful. About the plane  The plane is manufactured in Bangalore. Only the engine is imported from Australia. The plane weighs about 200 kgs without people inside. The plane can carry on 200 kgs of additional weight. We took off at 65- 75 kms/h. When we were in the air we were at a speed of 80- 90 kms/h. The plane flew at 600 feet. It can go only up to 1000 feet. About Jakkur Airfield (Where we took off). Airport Type: Public Location: Bangalore Length of the runway: ft