The second session of the Symbiosis Lit Fest had Chetan Bhagat, a renowned author and columnist, talking about his best-selling compilation of essays and columns called, ‘India Positive’.
Bhagat opened his session humorously remarking on his writing career being as old as his children which, in sixteen years of journey, has gotten just as mature!
Even with his upcoming murder mystery around the corner, Bhagat stated why his session would not be focusing on matters like love and his new book but rather on positivity, because there is already too much entertainment around us. So much so, that even serious political news have taken forms of entertainment. With this, he, very subtly, commented on today’s mainstream media’s obsession with matters like Bollywood cases and acting as the judge, jury and executioner in the ongoing chain of drug investigations!
Analogizing Rang De Basanti’s iconic dialogue, “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, use behtar banana padta hai”, Bhagat expressed how it is the people and their thinking that shape the nation. He criticized the citizens’ constant crave for entertainment, which turns their brains into “jelly”, as he said, rather than focusing on much bigger and important issues like the progress of the nation.
According to Bhagat, we, as individuals, need to think what we are capable of and steer clear of distractions. Curating his arguments along the very statement, he stated how a seemingly harmless device such as a cell phone is the major distraction today. Not only does it reduce the attention span among the users, but, just like drugs, has been taking away a part of our lives too.
The opening element of insightful words were followed by a very immersive, diverse and dynamic QnA session with the Symbiosis faculty members and the fellow students. Dr. Ramakrishnan Raman, Director, SIBM, Pune, along with moderating the session, began the QnA by asking Mr. Bhagat how today’s multitasking brain can stay away from getting distracted? To this, Bhagat said that while diversion in other tasks is good, distraction in unproductive manner is negative. Here, he marked self discipline as a tool to combat distractions.
Pointing towards Bhagat’s statement from one of his columns which said “government’s interference can be devastating”, Dr. Raman asked Bhagat whether he thinks that everything managed by the government is negative/devastating. Bhagat very crisply pointed out that while regulation is important, too much interference is unjustified. The education industry, for example should not be stripped off its due autonomy. However, education is a fast-moving industry and weeding out unscrupulous players from running the field is necessary.
The session moved forth with further set of questions ranging from business and economy, sports and politics, to campus placement requirements and healthcare. In one of his answers to the questions posed, Bhagat threw the much-needed light upon the issue of budget insufficiency for training athletes and sportspersons saying that Olympic medals are associated with national pride and hence, there is a requirement for expanding the investment in Sports Excellence Funds as well as Sports for All funds.
Amid the trail of questions by the students, Mr. SB Mujumdar, Chancellor, SIU, put forth his views on caste-based reservation degrading the education system which should rather be favouring the economically weaker strata of the society. Agreeing with this, Bhagat very intelligently expressed that while the current reservation system needs review and checks, the method and means to go about it should be followed gradually and in a progressive manner so that there is less politics to circle around it.
A one-hour session exuding positivity and drive to self-check, Bhagat closed by saying that it is the youth that has to rise and decide to drive the nation from the rubble of distractions to much needed progress. A positive outlook in life will help oneself, and the nation in long run: a true rubaru with roshni!
“Build yourself. The nation will follow!”