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Turning 18 with HT: India’s youth are too quiet, they should speak up, says YPS head girl

Sajneet Mangat wants us to trust our youth and hopes they find a voice to end intolerance; she hopes one day her opinion will count and help resolve conflicts; and she believes in striking an intelligent conversation.

punjab Updated: Jan 01, 2018 20:08 IST
Yojana Yadav
Yojana Yadav
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Turning 18 with Hindustan Times,Hindustan Times,Sajneet Mangat
PICTURE OF CONFIDENCE: Sajneet at the HT office in Mohali.(SUSHIL KUMAR/HT)

Sajneet Mangat

Born: February 8, 2000

Badge of honour: Head girl and editor-in-chief, Yadavindra Public School, Mohali

Spirit if new age: She wants us to trust our youth and hopes they find a voice to end intolerance and indifference; she hopes one day her opinion will count and help resolve conflicts; she dreams of a mobike adventure in the mountains but thinks money shouldn’t matter as much as it does; and she believes in striking an intelligent conversation

What turning 18 means to me

Turning 18 means I’ll be legally responsible for my actions. I’ll have a lot of identity cards! It’s a starting point and the smallest push the world can give as I turn a year older.

What I want to be and why

I want to be a policy maker, someone whose opinion matters. I have diverse interests but have chosen to study economics and psychology with math because they help understand the origin of problems. So they are at the root of solving global conflict. I plan to go abroad for higher studies after Class 12 but shall be back. This hemisphere remains mine.

My idea of India

We are a nation of young people but our young are too quiet. That’s why you hear all this noise of religious intolerance and economic indifference. Only a minority cares about the country’s development. They should find a voice. There is hypocrisy at the highest level of administration and all this leads to ineffective implementation of policies and a flawed economic system.

What makes me happy

I like being proved wrong. I like to be surprised. Sometimes I have misconceptions but when I meet people or visit new places, the perception changes. It makes me happy. I’m happy there is so much more to Chandigarh because at one time I believed youngsters here couldn’t think beyond SUVs and gangs.

What makes me angry

It angers me when the best of minds become victim to the worst of values. They start out well but end up as victims in a corrupted system. Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party and Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress are examples. Also, the fact that we Indians don’t innovate much. The culinary industry in India, for instance, is still stuck in 2007. India should be known for much more than Kurkure namkeen.

Fear and fantasy

No particular fear except some weird-looking creatures (smiles). Fantasies? Yes, I want to go biking in the mountains one day. I want to experience how bikers live off their backpacks for days riding through the mountains. I dream of learning horse riding too.

Am I happy where I am?

I’ll be taking the board exams this time. To have a good functioning mind you need a body that accepts good food, so I’m off junk though I’m big a pizza person. I’m a sportsperson too so I miss playing basketball though I manage to go running every other day.

What money means to me

Money is a generally acceptable form of exchange. But we have an odd fascination with money in our country. It’s a piece of paper that holds far too much value.

What makes me proud of India

Indians are intelligent people. We are jugaadus, we can find a way out of any problem if we want.

What I can’t live without

Air and water (laughs) and pizza once in a while. Sometimes, the truth.

What does social media mean to me

It’s made messaging free and easier but beyond that it’s taken a toll on human communication. It’s made us self-centred and dulled conversation, observation and creativity. It’s taken the fun out of surprises.

The change you’d like to see in your city

I live in Mohali so I’d love to see its parks to be Chandigarh-esque like the Hibiscus Garden there. I’d like institutes such as Alliance Francaise to come nearer home. I hope for a better policing system as Chandigarh’s.

What religion means to me

Religion has deviated from spirituality. It’s ironical how in a land that gave birth to major faiths, money and blind faith instead of spiritualism have become the centre of our universe.

My role model and why

My seniors from Tagore House at YPS are my biggest role models. They did not push or run down their peers and juniors. I look up to them because they cared and reached out to us when they didn’t even need to. They taught us compassion and kindness.

I look up to writer JK Rowling too because she used her inter-disciplinary knowledge, including Latin, to enrich five years of my life. She taught my generation not to fear failure but to accept it and get back in the game. How we take failure defines us.

Change I want to see in India

I want the culture of conflict in universities of India to end. Students make a university and are its most valuable resource so they should be given more space to do what they can for their institution. Academically, we are brilliant but we need to trust our youth.

First Published: Jan 01, 2018 10:27 IST

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