After much build-up and detailed reportage on their work and success, it was time again to give away 30 awards to achievers under the age of 30 from the northern region at the fourth annual HT Youth Forum, held at Hotel Park Plaza in Zirakpur near here on Saturday.
From Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and J&K, the ‘Top 30 Under 30’ were chosen with an eye on performance as well as potential.
The chief guest was hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior, who was part of three Olympic gold medal-winning teams (1948, 52, 56) and also the coach of the Indian team that won the 1975 hockey world cup.
Hosted by one of the legendary faces of Indian broadcasting, Shammi Narang, the event began with a brief address by Nic Dawes, HT’s chief editorial and content officer, after which the first batch of achievers was honoured by Balbir. Those on the list included singers to sportspersons, to social workers, entrepreneurs, and academic stars, among others.
Following that, it was time for some brainstorming by the Hindustan Times discussion panel for 2014, which consisted of BJP Lok Sabha member from Chandigarh, and actor, Kirron Kher; writer-broadcaster Neelesh Misra; lyricist-poet Irshad Kamil; AAP’s Sangrur MP, and comedian, Bhagwant Mann; and actor Mahie Gill. Moderated by HT assistant news editor Aarish Chhabra, the discussion focused on the overarching theme, ‘What Young India Wants’, and covered several points of reference.
Misra and Mann called for parents to be more like friends and “less like detectives”, while Kamil and Gill stressed the need for formal education. Kher’s moot point was: “The youth of today wants to either party all night or succeed instantly.”
Among those in attendance were the proud families of achievers; politicians from across party lines; and the who’s who from other sectors. There was also a musical treat by Gurnazar Chattha, upcoming singer-lyricist-composer, and his band, including Sahil Sharma, Bhupender Jaidia and Nitin.
In his concluding speech, Balbir said something pertinent for today’s times, citing his own life as an example: “I am a Sikh by birth; nationalist and secular by choice.”