Sreekar Voleti as Lord Mountbatten, Ishan Gargas M. K. Gandhi and Parv Khurana in the role of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, locked in fierce discussions on the partition of India into Hindustan and Pakistan. This enactment of an important chapter in India’s history was captivating and at the same time heart-breaking.

They were performing at ‘India Calling’, a platform for the youth to present their thoughts on various issues. Students drawn from nine schools across Gurgaon participated in three simulations.

“Set on 1 March, 1945, this simulation saw members of the Indian National Congress, Muslim League and the British Government. Students as delegates like Sir Cyril Radcliffe, Leo Amery, Sir Louis Dane, Stafford Cripps, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu debated over the issue of partition of India. The discussion saw many highs and lows, backroom negotiations, walk outs, deadlocks, talk of coalition and finally partition of India and the formation of the Union of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” said Surabhi Joshi, a teacher associated with the project.

Students buried themselves into long hours of research for this debate. “Not less than 60 hours of research was involved,” said Parv Khurana. How did they learn mannerisms? “YouTube sir,” smiled Ishan Garg, who was Gandhi.

The participants, according to Sunny Bansal, an organising member, were enthusiastic students who had grouped together on their own to come up with these unique simulations. “We had a mix of Commerce, Science and Humanities students,” he said. The effort, noted Bansal, was, “aimed at getting to know what the young generation thinks of freedom, independence, present India and its future.”

In Simulation-II, the debate concentrated on the benefits of Communism and Democracy and tried to envision a futuristic government for India. A united consensus was adopted and the representatives chose a reformed communist government over a hypocritical democracy. The star of this episode was Emaad Muzaffer, who has won many laurels abroad for similar debates. There was praise for VarunVibhash and Prakriti Nambiar for their contributions in this debate.

The agenda for the third Simulation was the existing educational policies in India and the session was conceptualised by Shalu Sharma, Ayush Verma and Vibhor Dhingra. “These students not just conceptualized the event but went on to plan every detail,” saidveteran teacher Dhriti Malhotra, the key figure behind the project.

“The children voiced their opinions on topics like Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) procedures, National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) and Four Year Undergraduate Program (FYUP) of Delhi University. Skill based education was stressed upon rather than pushing the focus on cramming information. According to them our new education system should be able to create entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, scientists, thinkers and writers who can establish the foundation of a knowledge-based economy rather than the low-quality service provider nation that we are turning into,” added Ms. Malhotra.