Turning 18 with HT: ‘Misogyny towards women in India is systemic’

Tanya Syngle says she draws inspiration from Elon Musk and Nelson Mandela.

punjab Updated: Mar 01, 2018 10:37 IST
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Turning 18 with HT,Turning 18,Elon Musk
Tanya questions patriarchy where right from childhood a girl is treated less equal than her brother.(Karun Sharma/HT)

She has done everything from parasailing and bungee jumping to undersea walking and a four-week scholarship at Cambridge. Meet Tanya Syngle, who doesn’t do the ordinary.

Name: Tanya Syngle

Born: January 1, 2000

Badge of honour: Head girl, Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26

What turning 18 means

It’s a very precious moment, for it combines freedom with responsibility. I have always felt the more freedom we get, the more we develop. In a weird way, turning 18 has made me more confident in all my interactions.

What I want to be and why

My parents are doctors and the field of medicine has always fascinated me. I want to use economics to make medical care accessible and affordable to everyone, especially the poorest of the poor. There are simple treatments for malaria and even diabetes but the poor are not aware of it. I want to bridge this gap.

What makes me happy

My family, especially my elder brother Devaansh who is in a medical college, makes me very happy. I also love reading books. I can read all the time.

What makes me angry

I get very angry when people aren’t kind to each other. I also hate it when people waste my time or when I waste theirs.

My fear and fantasy

My biggest fear is of stagnating. I want to learn something new every day of my life.

As for my fantasy, I don’t fantasise because I know I have it in me to turn my dreams into reality. I will get whatever I want.

What I can’t live without

It’s difficult to imagine life without my family and books.

Am I happy at the moment

Yes, I have college ahead of me, and so many plans. Life is good.

Religion to me

I am an ardent believer in God. I have full faith in Him and his plans for us. God is truly all powerful and I pray to him every day, but I don’t believe in any religion per se. God is natural, religion is a human construct, which only creates divides.

Money to me

Money is a means to an end, I need it to buy clothes and food. Thanks to my indulgent parents, I have never really hankered after it. My friends tell me they can’t see me taking up a job only for money.

Social media to me

I find social media very helpful, it helps me to learn new things and meet new people. Even though I am in the thick of boards, I was able to follow the winter Olympics, thanks to it. It is good or bad depending on the way we use it, and how we use it. I know of people who get distracted or negatively impacted by it.

The construct of India

India has a very rich culture. Our traditions are steeped in science, there is logic behind the various rituals we observe.

What I dislike the most about India

I detest the way India treats its women. It’s a patriarchal society where misogyny towards women is systemic. Right from her childhood, a girl is told she is less equal than her brother. It’s a vicious cycle perpetuated for thousands of years. Women in India lack respect, status, and safety. Why do I have to watch my back when I am on the street? Why are women denied the right to self-actualisation? Do you know only 5% women in the country have access to menstrual pads? I feel so sad about it.

The change I would like to see in India

India must learn to respect its women, and treat them as equals. We also must reform our education system. It should promote more spontaneity and analytical skills among its students. It should celebrate growth instead of rote learning.

The change I want to see in Chandigarh

I think people in Chandigarh are very laid back and complacent, they don’t raise their voice against any wrongs. The city elders must join hands to build a safe city.

My role model

I draw inspiration from numerous people. One of them is Elon Musk, the futurist. I like him because he is able to blend so many fields. I also idealise Nelson Mandela because he did not let hatred and oppression embitter him. Instead, he remained deeply compassionate all his life.

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 10:35 IST