Work and Work Harder Every Day!!
- Adv. Kunal Sharma
Advocate Kunal Sharma is the Founder and President of Chhatra Sansad, which is a youth-run organization. He is also a practising Advocate at District and Session Court in Baroda. His vision to start Chhatra Sansad was to encourage the Youth of Today and Tomorrow to at the very least, take an active interest in our Political System, to not take Politicians on their word until you see results with your own eyes and increase the number of Young Indians in our Political System. Chhatra Sansad aims to increase the Socio-Political awareness of the Youth of India and to make them aware of the current Developmental and Cultural issues that are currently plaguing our Society.
In this interview he discussed about:
- Chhatra Sansad and how it helps the youth in increasing active participation in democracy;
- College elections and college politics;
- How can someone be objective with their political views;
- Difference in the opinion of lawmakers and the youth of the country;
- Role of Internship in student’s life
How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m the Founder and President of Chhatra Sansad, which is a youth-run organization that was started back in 2015. I’m also a practising Advocate at District and Session Court in Baroda.
Most of the law students go for Litigation, Judiciary, or Corporate Firms. How did you come across the thought of starting Chhatra Sansad?
Initially, I didn’t want to pursue law as a career and was involved in sports especially cricket, but due to an injury I couldn’t play U-19 and things started going wrong for me. But I always thought of doing law, as my maternal grandparents’ side belongs from the law background, so law is something in which I was interested since 9th grade. After 12th I joined a college in Pune for studying law, there I came across a leadership conclave in my 1st year which somewhat inspired me to start something which can actually make an impact. For instance, let’s take the example of Gujrat, when outsiders talk about Gujrat, there is this perception that Gujrat is a complete state with all the facilities but it’s not that. We’re a young country and we need to make sure that we want to move ahead if we want to become a superpower. If we want to become the best country, then we need the youth to be directed. So, as I wanted to do something, I gathered a few of my friends and we had a meeting where I put forth my views and everyone was on board. Then we started Chhatra Sansad in Baroda, and I just wanted to do a conclave at that time and after that wanted to get back to Pune. But as the conclave ended, there was a lot of appreciation, a lot of respect, and at that moment I felt somewhat different and at that very moment, I thought of continuing this and making it a grass root level youth-run organization. So that’s where Chhatra Sansad started.
What is Chhatra Sansad? And how does it function and helps the youth in increasing active participation in democracy?
Chhatra Sansad is a youth-run organization and the main vision behind it is to build future leaders for our country and to make sure that we all are aware of the current situation. So, the main vision of Chhatra Sansad is to build future leaders as well as to make people socio-politically aware and active.
We have around six projects which we do every year. There are other burning projects which we take up as and when the time comes. I’ll just give you a small introduction to some projects which we are working on.
Youth Parliament – we’ve been hosting youth parliament across 12 districts of Gujrat and other parts of the country like Pune and Bangalore. It is a concept of Lok Sabha where we give a portfolio to an individual, and they do research on the problem, and then talk about the solutions. Afterwards, they create a report of the plan of action with the solution. And the benefit of this Lok Sabha like Youth Parliament is that at the end of each event, we submit that reports to the respective states’ governments, the central government as well as the Niti Ayog to tell them that this is what young India wants, this is what young India thinks about the policy. If there is going to be any change in the policy, make sure that these are the reports which are taken into account and we can create something out of that and even the students get a very good exposure to talk. They learn to talk, they get a clear understanding as to how Lok Sabha works, and this helps as they are also aspiring leaders. When a student gets involved in our youth parliament, we understand that this is a youth who would like to take leadership forward.
School of Leadership – It is basically a curriculum program where we have an urban as well as rural youth leadership program. In the urban youth leadership program, we are training twenty-eight thousand youngsters on public speaking, communication, morality and a list of other things. But the rural youth internship program is much more interesting. We all are privileged people; we have the latest technologies like the internet, but there are a lot of youngsters who are living a few kilometres away from where we are staying, and they still have to fight to get food two times a day. We have identified about two hundred youngsters in Malsamo, Narmada district. It is a district where the Prime Minister has been focusing upon. It’s a CSR program where we train youngsters on sustainable development.
Intern Nation Leadership Tour where we provide two internship programs for PAN India students, one in summer and the other in winter. Last year, we selected about 45 delegates from all over India through a rigorous selection criterion. We visited Bombay and Delhi where we studied and researched their respective governance models as to how media channel works, how sustainable development works. We interacted with various individuals who are representing the country in one way or another like Anna Hazare, Arnab Goswami, Rajat Sharma, Manish Sisodia and many others. We researched and then created a report which was then submitted to Niti Aayog and respective state governments.
Women Empowerment Committee – I have been personally seeing from the last six years that a lot of women do not participate in politics or social work but few do. From the last few years, we have been personally seeing that because of social media, there has been a lot of harassment that women have been facing through social media. So, we have created a safety cell for women, called the Women Empowerment Committee which consists of only female members. We are working on four pillars which is advocacy and giving legal aid to the women who require legal help. We give legal aid to them free of cost making sure that we will reach out to the police and we help them connect to the concerned. We spread awareness through educational programs for women empowerment in school, colleges and other corporate and we provide counselling which is the last pillar that is really important to everyone, especially for those women who have been through a lot of things, so counselling is important.
Constructive and Sustainable Program which keeps on running throughout the year. Now as you all know the Covid came which was something really unknown to everyone, even for the governments and not just for our country but across the world. So, we thought of doing something for the people and on the day when the lockdown started i.e., 22nd of March. We knew that this corona would target the underprivileged people, the daily wage workers and the senior citizens when the lockdown started. During that time, we fed 12000 people a day and soon everyone came to our aid for helping the poor and the needy.
After some time, we hosted around 12 blood donation camps all over the city. When we were doing that a lot of people called us asking for plasma. We came up with an idea that why not mediate between the hospital and the citizens. So, we started this campaign name “Plasma Donate Karona”, and I feel really proud to share with you that this campaign has save over 2500 lives.
Also, we host one leadership conclave every year and thousands of youngsters across India participate in it, where they talk about burning issues and interact with national speakers as well.
College elections are the first insight of the student as to how democracy functions and your views regarding the same. How can we improve college politics?
Well, my views on college election are a little different. I believe it is a waste of time and energy of youngsters. I am sure that it is the first insight that a student gets and it should be there. But the college elections which I have seen are ruining the structure of politics. They have been protesting, they have been doing all the dharnas and all. It is not constructive that is what I particularly believe. But yes, it is really important and we cannot get that out of the system. When we talk about politics, college politics we have ABVP, we have NSUI, AGS and so on. All of them are representatives of national political parties and because of that their structure of working is different from the structure of other national parties. Nowadays when we talk about college political parties, student political unions have been really focusing upon protesting and making sure that they give dharnas outside the office of the Dean. It’s been five years since I’m into this and I still haven’t seen something creative. Honestly, I think college politics is running in the same way as it was running 20-25 years back.
For improvising college politics, we have to make sure that we dissolve all the pre-existing college student political unions, and we have to come up with new political unions. There has to be a proper structure where the students get interested in politics. Nowadays half of the students get scared with the thought of entering into politics just by seeing the current college political scenarios. Politics is not about dharnas, it’s not about corruption, and neither it’s a misuse of power. It’s really about policymaking, a decision which a youngster can make. Let us improve the political system instead of running from the political system and on the contrary, the college politics makes the student run from it. There is a badly felt necessity for something new.
Youth today mostly gets influenced by media as well as social media, and one’s political views are mostly similar to the channel they watch. How can someone be objective with their political views?
Well, your political views should never depend on the media which you are living in right now, the media is biased and I’m very clear about it. There are different media channels, one is biased i.e., in favour of the system and another one is also biased but it is biased against the system. So we need to have at least four sources from where we get our information. If you listen to any news from the public, firstly, you need to reconfirm that news with those other four sources from where you usually get information (then you will get to know the truth), rather than hearing and telling it to people that this is what is happening without confirming it. So, I feel that we need to learn before opening our mouths as the people who are not educated are not able to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong and are dependent on us in one way or another. I believe the news channels which are running right now are going to come to an end in the near future because digital media is taking over now. Nowadays everything is on Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms, and most people get their news from Twitter. But we need to understand again that Twitter is also influenced by the IT cell of the political parties who have two thousand people sitting in our cities and working in those IT cells. I think that we are living in a bubble and we need to make sure that we are well aware and that we make people aware so that people don’t believe in fake news. Recently I was watching an interview where there was someone from the IT cell of one of the political parties who said “If we want to cause riots in our country, then it will take us less than 2 hours to do so“. So, we need to understand that we need to make people aware and the only option. If we talk about media, it has lost its credibility now. Media is basically a place where drama happens. Not only the media but youth get influenced by these hashtag trends as well. We just see some trend and follow it blindly. It is very unfortunate and dangerous and this is the reason why we need more people on the ground to talk about it.
Most of the members of the parliament are above 45 years of age. So, there’s an obvious difference in the opinion of lawmakers and the youth of the country. What are your views on this?
See, the average age in India is 28 years. We are the youngest country and the youngest democracy in the world. As said by the parliament, the members who are below 35 years of age are just a few and came from dynast politics.
That’s why I started Chhatra Sansad to help the people understand the fact that we are young people and young democracy, and there has to be a connection between the citizens and representatives. If a country is young then the representative state governments should also be formed by young individuals. It has been so many years after independence but still, our education system in rural areas isn’t developed. This is because the British never wanted us to get educated. We need young people on board. We need the education to be precise and changed. If we go to Delhi and see the schools of Delhi (I’m not a fan of the Delhi Government), education is something really important there, which the government really focuses on. We’re not here to work on temple or other things but to work on education, on health, and on the judiciary as forth. I hope the faith still remains with the judiciary but as the question stated for parliament, we should have young people as representatives and young voices representing the nation.
According to you, what role do internships play in a student’s life?
Well, students get exhausted in the name of the internship which is happening in our country. As a law student, I was not privileged enough to have done an internship, but if I want to become a good lawyer then I would have to start practising and would have to start going to court from the very 1st year. If a young law student is interested in litigation, then I would suggest to them that you should directly start interning under a lawyer and go to the court to know the reality. There are a lot of youngsters who have finished college and then there some who are in colleges, they don’t know what real life is. Let me give you an example, I have a best friend, we were in school together, we decided to do law together, he went to GNLU and I went to Pune. But I just came back in 6 months. I started reaching out to the people and I started knowing what real life is, how we’re supposed to talk to people, and how we’re supposed to communicate with people. Outside college, there exists a great world. We need to understand as a youngster that the real life is all about how we should go out and talk to people and communicate. In the corporate sector, we communicate, in litigation, we communicate, hence, the law is about communication. If we learn how to talk and what to talk in front of people then our life gets easier and better. Students who are going for internships should understand the purpose of their internship and what are they going to get out of this internship. The internship is all about the knowledge of self, whereas many youngsters don’t know what they should know and the sooner they know, the better it is.
What is the success habit you would like to share with our readers?
I don’t have any habit in particular, but yes there’s something I would like to share. My only mantra is to work and work harder every day. I want to get connected with things while working. I started back in 2015 with no clue as to this is what I’m going to do today. I just started and things turned over for me. As my law was about to get completed, I used to get cases and then people who were practising for the last 10 years were not getting cases, and they used to come and say “Kunal Bhai please give us some cases”. That time people used to call me and tell me that this is my case and now how should we go ahead? So, you know, it is just the hard work which has paid for me.
Just remember whatever you do, do it with your heart and just do it with the right intention without hurting anybody and improving yourself. But today the problem with people is that people are jealous of you, the things you do. If you do something good there will be 10 people who will be good with you but would be jealous of you from inside. Let’s learn to be happy with others’ success and learn to be ourselves.