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Change riding on young shoulders

chandigarh Updated: Aug 07, 2013 18:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
top 30 under 30

On the right track Be it with path-breaking voice, a stroke of the bat or an unforgettable act, these youngsters from the region proudly carry the responsibility of holding the baton of change. Meet them in the fourth of our six-part series, Top 30 Under 30


richa chadda

28, Actor, Amritsar




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Amritsar-born, Delhi-bred Richa Chadda made her mark in Bollywood with her gritty role in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur. She made her debut with critically acclaimed film, Abhay Deol starrer Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! In 2013, Richa was seen essaying the role of ‘female don’ Bholi Punjaban in Fukrey. Her unreleased projects include Ishqeria, Ram Leela, BAD and Jia O Jia.

Q. Who is your youth icon and why?
A. None of my icons are young.

Q. What revolutionary change(s) would you like to see in the nation by 2020?
A. I would like to see a reform and revolution in agriculture, as it is the backbone of Indian development. Also, we must strive to attain 100% literacy rate, zero infant mortality, lesser percentage of people below the poverty line, a better sex ratio and a very high GDP. I would also like to see an autonomous self-government, but then again, that’s my personal dream. My definition of change is economic growth with social justice. Both go hand-in-hand. Being rich in a dictatorship is like being marooned on an island with bags of cash — pointless.

Q. What in your view best defines the young spirit of India?
A. India is a young nation with an old soul. Young India embodies a spirit of enthusiasm and ‘jugaad’. The youth of India is intelligent, aware, ambitious, passionate and jugaadoo, like young blood everywhere. However, because India today is a land of opportunity, we hope that the youth takes the country forward and creates world leaders. India has managed to stay a democracy, despite all its flaws. And today, while we look at the perils other developing countries are facing, including our neighbours, with whom we empathise, I believe that it is a big achievement that we are the largest democracy in the world.

Q. What would drive the youth to become the change-makers of today?
A. If the youth is assured of the fact that a good degree guarantees a job, or that one can earn a respectable living if one has the drive to work hard, I am sure the country will progress. The youth will then vote well, an educated government will come to power, which will bring about effective changes. Politicians would not be able to divert attention from real problems, and would be unable to exploit an electorate in the name of religion and caste. That is, if the electorate is aware and educated. Apathy has set in, because criminals sit in the parliament, cases go on for years and the guilty are not punished.

Q. What should India’s priorities be over the next ten years?
A. Primary education is the first step towards any kind of development. Healthcare is also at par with this. Every citizen of the country must have the right to life — clean drinking water, food and basic health care. For correct utilization of funds, it’s easy to blame the system and say corruption must end. Sadly though, corruption has become a way of life in the country. Funds should be allocated where they matter. For instance, in R&D of renewable and green sources of energy, in trying to minimise the harmful impact of nuclear energy. Environment preservation should also be a priority. As for gender parity, there will be slow but definite change with education.

jyoti nooran & sultana nooran

Sufi singers, Khurla Kingra, Nakodar





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Granddaughters of renowned Punjabi folk singer Bibi Nooran, Jyoti and Sultana started singing at the age of five and seven, respectively. Since then, they have performed various shows for Jalandhar Doordarshan.

In 2011, Bollywood music director Sneha Khanwalkar heard of them and signed them up for MTV Sound Trippin’ (season 1) for the song Tung Tung, which made them stars overnight. Post Tung Tung, Nooran sisters were called to the sets of MTV@Coke Studio, by music director Hitesh Sonik, where they performed their version of Allah Hoo. The song made them a household name in the country and the sisters came out with their first album, Tatdi, this year. Jyoti and Sultana have also sung a shabad for National Award winning film Nabar.

Q. Who is your youth icon and why?

A. We don’t have a youth icon, but we look up to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar.

Q. What revolutionary change(s) would you like to see in the nation by 2020?

A. Some incidents that have come to light recently have made us see what an unsafe country we are living in. The environment is not safe for women, which contradicts our culture and values. Therefore, we simply want to feel safe in our country.

Q. What in your view best defines the young spirit of India?

A. The young spirit of India defines itself in girl power! Nowadays, young girls are making a mark in every field. Pick any field and you will come across Indian girls making a name for themselves and their country.

Q. What would drive the youth to become the change-makers of today?

A. Hard work has always been the key to success. But, one rarely comes across a youngster who believes in hard work. They have also started disrespecting their parents, which is going to start working against the nation very soon.

Q. What should India’s priorities be over the next ten years?
A. Getting rid of drug addiction — it is eating the country whole, especially Punjab.


manjur mohammad

26, RTI activist, Naila village, Chamba





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At an age where youngsters are still deciding their career options, Manjur opted to fight against the corrupt by being an avid RTI activist. He received a national level award by the centre government for his individual RTI efforts in March this year. In 2008, Manjur exposed a large-scale corruption being carried out by the panchayat functionaries in government-run Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna.

Q Who is your youth icon and why?
A. OP Sharma, a central excise and customs officer, now working as a general manager (ADP) in Churah valley. Apart from being an officer, Sharma is an anti-drug activist. He is a source of inspiration to me as he has opted to serve the people of his state by joining a cooperative society that aims at eradicating the menace of narcotics in Himachal Pradesh, using developmental strategies.

Q. What revolutionary change(s) would you like to see in the nation by 2020?
A. I would like to see a change in the mindset of our citizens towards humanity. I want to see a corruption-free India, establishment of gender equality, equal infrastructure and facilities (especially education) throughout the country; no discrimination on the basis of caste, religion and wealth. If every Indian has an equal access to opportunities, services and justice, then there will be an end to
discrimination.

Q. What in your view best defines the young spirit of India?
A. India is a country of youngsters. It has the capacity to perform very well in all sectors if this young energy is allowed and promoted towards nation building. However, we need to strengthen our youth morally, socially and economically. Most importantly, we need to save our youth from the dangerous web of drugs and their increasing lust for making quick money.

Q. What would drive the youth to become the change-makers of today?
A. I believe the youth can become change-makers when they are given an opportunity to lead in the political sphere, thereby making them responsible towards nation building. The youth should be involved in all spheres of development and decision-making. Youngsters must involve themselves in the socio-economic and political development of our nation. Thus, they should adopt a participatory approach.

Q. What should India’s priorities be over the next ten years?
A. India should work towards the creation of equal educational infrastructure in rural areas vis-a-vis urban areas; creation of a job market in the rural areas, especially creating self-employment opportunities through application of viable technology. The threat of internal security of the nation should be dealt with sternly.


jaspreet kaur

18, fullback, women national hockey team, Shahabad, Haryana





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She is a regular member of the Indian team and was adjudged the best player of the world cup qualifiers tournament held in New Delhi. Jaspreet defies the old mindset of early marriage and sticks to her goal of making it big in the sports field.

Q. Who is your youth icon and why?
A. Surinder Kaur, former Indian women hockey team captain, for her sportsmanship.

Q. What revolutionary change(s) would you like to see in the nation by 2020?
A. Above everything else — from poverty to inequality — the most burning issue for the nation is empowerment of women. The society’s mindset needs to change towards women; people need to see a woman as someone who can aspire and dream of achieving goals. We also need to ensure food for all. Despite being a surplus nation, our country has many who go without food for days.

Q. What in your view best defines the young spirit of India?
A. Single-minded dedication towards their aim. Youngsters these days are very determined and focused. The changing
economic and social scenarios make it ideal for us youngsters to achieve our goals.

Q. What would drive the youth to become the change-makers of today?
A. Leadership that inspires and also acts as a catalyst in change. The government also has to take the initiative of engaging the youth in their working.

Q. What should India’s priorities be over the next ten years?
A. Education for women, childcare and food for all.

parvez rasool

24, cricketer, Bijbehara, Jammu & Kashmir

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In the backdrop of the upheavals that Kashmir valley has faced, Rasool has emerged as a beckon of hope for youngsters of the valley. First cricketer to be picked for the Indian team from the valley, Rasool, an all-rounder, has played 17 first-class matches, scoring 1,003 runs and taking 46 wickets.

Hailing from a family of cricketers, Rasool came into limelight when former India spinner Bishen Singh Bedi became the coach of J&K team. His first break came against visiting Australians in a warm-up game in Chennai. He picked seven wickets for 45 runs. He is yet to make a debut for India in the ongoing series against Zimbabwe.&

Q Who is your youth icon and why?
A. Sachin Tendulkar, for obvious reasons.

Q. What revolutionary change(s) would you like to see in the nation by 2020?
A. The change in mindsets. The youth of today wants everything served on a silver platter; that’s not how you attain success. You have to go through a lot of turmoil, fight all odds and keep your spirits high if you wish to reach the top. I would also like to see the people of our country not discriminate on the basis of caste.

Q. What in your view best defines the young spirit of India?
A. The fact that we are a spirited youth. We go after what we want with all our might. It’s our single-minded determination that sets up apart.

Q. What would drive the youth to become the change-makers of today?
A. Giving all youngsters of the country equal opportunities will help them bring about change.

Q. What should India’s priorities be over the next ten years?
Parvez Rasool was unavailable for this comment.

gaganjeet bhullar

25, professional golfer, Kapurthala





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Gaganjeet Bhullar is India’s top-ranked professional golfer and is placed at the second spot in the Asian ranking charts. The Kapurthala lad was country’s numero uno amateur golfer in 2004 and 2006, and part of the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games. Since turning pro in 2006, Bhullar has reinforced his rising star status with a number of victories on the Indian, Asian and European professional golf circuit. In January 2011, Bhullar won the inaugural Gujarat Kensville Challenge to become the first Indian player to win a tournament on the Challenge Tour. In March this year, he finished runner-up at the prestigious Avantha Masters, which propelled his world ranking to the best ever 85 (his current world ranking is 136).

Q. Who is your youth icon and why?
A. Abhinav Bindra is the one I have always looked up to. To win the first individual gold medal for the country at Olympics is not an easy feat. It takes great amount of patience, self-motivation and discipline.

Q. What revolutionary change(s) would you like to see in the nation by 2020?
A. I’d like to see the gap between unemployed educated youth and employment opportunities diminish. Due to its young manpower, India stands above the rest. But, while the number of youngsters coming out of our education system has increased over the years, it is not in tandem with the number of jobs available. I would like the government to frame policies to address the issue.


Q. What in your view best defines the young spirit of India?
A. Indian youth is aggressive and hardworking. Because of their innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, many young Indian professionals have occupied top posts in different organisations across the world. But, despite all their achievements, I personally feel that Indian youth remains disciplined and rooted, something that can be attributed to our culture and moral values.

Q. What would drive the youth to become the change-makers of today?
A. Proper guidance and motivation are important in moulding the youth. The first can be taken care of by parents and an effective education system. Motivation pertains to recognising the achievements of a youngster in a befitting manner. Both, guidance and motivation, would not only prompt the individual to aim for bigger things, but also inspire him to do good for the society. He will be a role model for many others. At the same time, it is important that every youngster understands his role and social responsibilities. Only then can they become the harbingers of positive change.

Q. What should India’s priorities be over the next ten years?
A. Development of infrastructure, weeding out corruption and working towards a transparent and accountable bureaucracy should be India’s priorities over the next ten years.