Stressing that all citizens should adopt the attitude of "duty first", retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi said here on Saturday that it was very important for the youth of the country to be aware of their duties while asking for their rights.
Bedi was addressing a gathering at BBK DAV College for Women at a UGC-sponsored national seminar on human rights.
"We are very lucky that the maximum population of our country comprises youth. As youngsters have a tendency to bring about changes, it is very important that they perform their duties and fight for their rights. Even teachers can be the game-changers by giving a right direction to the students," she said.
Speaking about the scourge of corruption, the India Against Corruption leader said, "In the recent past, we held protests and raised our voice against the scams and corruption in the country. I feel it is our right to question the people who misuse our money."
Urging students to involve themselves in key issues concerning the nation, Bedi said, "We just vote and forget. We need to ask the politicians what they did after getting votes and how they utilised the public money. If we do not do this, I feel we are running away from our duty. We don't need to worry about rights because they are ours, and nobody can deny them to us. For nation-building, performing duty is most important."
Stressing on the importance of social sciences and liberal arts, she said there was a need to introduce liberal arts in engineering and medical colleges to apprise students of the importance of history and literature and help them understand the value of humanism and humanity.
Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, head of the state crime branch in Mohali, reflected on the changes and continuities in the patterns of human rights. He spoke on the measures that could protect human rights and prevent their violation.
Dr Rajesh Gill, chairperson, department of sociology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and a renowned social scientist, said Indian citizens were bestowed with many rights under the Constitution, like the right to life and personal liberty, right to equality, right to education and right to clean environment, but there was a need to exercise these rights.
"In order to reinforce human rights, our culture and society needs to be changed radically. Human rights cannot flourish in highly individualised societies. So, the need of the hour is to stand up and take your decisions," she said.
Anil Joshi, programme director, Human Ability and Accessibility, IBM Research, India, talked about the rights of disabled people and families in crisis. He recommended a legal system that could be helpful in such cases. "Everyone has a role to play to ensure the proper implementation of laws meant for special children," said Joshi.
College principal Prof Neelam Kamra said people should raise their voice whenever a right is violated. "Ours is a girls' college and I feel that these students can change the face of the nation. They need to be strong. They should not only fight for their own rights, but also react strongly when they find the rights of others being violated," said the principal.
Renu Bhandari, head of the political science department of the college, and Abhilasha Kumari, senior social development expert, AECOM, and director, School of Mass Communication, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, also spoke on the occasion.
Dr SS Sohal, head, department of social sciences, GNDU, and Prof Sulakhan Singh of the department of history were also present.