Youthra 2, a college nukkadnatak competition in Delhi

 

Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)’s youth-n-democracy (YnD) campaign brings together participants from 40 colleges from Delhi/NCR

 

New Delhi, Youthra2, the series of PRIA’s annual nukkadnatak competition held in New Delhi. Youthra 1 held in 2017 saw enthusiastic participation from 16 colleges. This year’s competition has had an overwhelming response with 40 colleges from Delhi/NCR eager to participate; 20 teams were ultimately shortlisted for final performances. The competition was held in public areas (North Campus and DilliHaat, INA) and is unique in its way of taking nukkadnatak out of college halls into the general public. A wide array of issues like gender inequality, body shaming, sexualities, violence, freedoms, social relation, religious intolerance are being showcased. 

The competition is a continuation in the series of events under PRIA’s Youth n Democracy Campaign, a national initiative running since February 2017 and traveling across India to various colleges, getting the youth to talk about Democracy in Everyday Life. 

The campaign has travelled places -- metaphorically and literally! From Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh to Assam, via Delhi and Haryana, it has not been just a physical journey of the campaign but also a journey of wisdom collected from young college goers. The youth of India is actively talking about ‘#DiEL in their own language and idioms.

What is Democracy in Everyday Life? The fundamental question the YnD campaign asks the young to really think about is: Does democracy play a role in our lives only once in five years as an electoral, symbolic ceremony or is it more penetrative, entering the realms of our family dynamics, relationships, friendships, education and play-time even? Think of democratic families where all genders are given equal importance, or democratic neighbourhoods which are tolerant of different castes and religions. Does the essence of democracy then lie in the values of freedom and selflessness?

 

The over 1000 young students who have participated in the YnDcampaign in 2017, asked themselves and others such questions in order to realise the everyday commonplace nature of democracy. The campus walls and corridors reverberate with the cries of its youth urging for resolution of burning issues ranging from gender and caste discrimination, status of education, career aspirations, employability, disability and health care to freedom of expression. 

 

“Every big change starts at the individual level, and his/her beliefs and practices. So the change should begin today, and with us, and in this conference room!”– said Vidhushi, Student of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University

“Individual efforts cannot sustain in the long run. If we want to move together as a democratic nation, all societal institutions should come together in these efforts.” – said Shubham, Student of Hansraj College, Delhi University

“We can no longer keep delegating responsibilities and expecting others to deliver, it is time we take responsibility for the change we wish to see.” – said Jai Mehta, Student of College of Vocational Studies, Delhi university

- Quotes from students during YnD events

If we try to make everyone conform to one reality, the new generation may be deprived of the ability to argue differing views, political or social, which their elders took for granted. The YnD campaign is a wonderful platform to enable the new generation to learn this ability.