The youth has the power to trigger change and bring about monumental changes in society. That’s what Gauri Sawant believes in and to help her cause reach a wider audience, UPG college in Mumbai invited her to deliver a lecture on breaking stereotypes.
It is important to address these youngsters as they are the ones who are going to make a difference. Baat karne se hi baat banti hai – Gauri Sawant
Initiated by the college’s Women Development Cell, the lecture titled ‘Gauri Ki Kahaani, Gauri Ki Zubaani’ was replete with meaningful lessons for the youth on why they need to spread the word about equal rights.
Around 120 students along with staff members attended the seminar, which received overwhelming feedback.
Second Year Mass Media student Pranil Tailor spoke to HT about the little ways she will contribute to empower them. “Our society always discriminates against those different from us. It was heart-breaking to know their condition and how our society reacts to the community. Her lecture was an eye-opener. She is the epitome of energy and good vibes. By the end of the session, our outlook towards them changed completely. I think the next time I encounter one of them, I’m going to walk up to them, compliment them and take a selfie. That will certainly cheer them up, at least a little bit, amidst all the prejudice they face daily.”
Gauri urged the students to buck stereotypes and myths surrounding the transgender community. Pooja Satra, a Third Year Mass Media student, said, “We tend to make these baseless and ill-informed comments about transgenders. But her lecture made me realise how every human being, be it a male, female or third gender, is justified in fighting for their right to education. The way she conducted herself was empowering, so much so that some of us were left with goosebumps and tears!”
The college’s professors also looked quite impressed by Gauri’s tenacity and commitment towards her cause.
Professor Archana Mehra told HT, “Gauri’s emphasis was on educating members of the community. I hope our education system comes up with policies and rules designed for them. As teachers, we are always expected to be unbiased and non-judgmental, but we need to put that in practice!”
“The youth today is not afraid to speak their mind, and that’s one reason I enjoy interacting with them. They are more accepting, they do not judge based on the skewed sense of society and they aren’t afraid to speak about their sexuality. It was great to see that they weren’t scandalised by my talk. It is important to address these youngsters as they are the ones who are going to make a difference. Baat karne se hi baat banti hai. We need to sensitise not just the youngsters but also the educators about how they should be handling scenarios when they have students from the third gender community alongside male and female students,” Gauri tells HT.
It is good to see educational institutions conducting lectures of this kind to stimulate young minds. Such initiatives are pivotal in the direction of making the youth think in a responsible and rational way.