‘Fifth Space’ is a secular, non-commercial platform formed for the youth to exchange and develop fresh ideas

In today’s fiercely competitive, disconnected and fast lives, the need for a secular, non-commercial platform for the youth where they can exchange, nurture and develop ideas about themselves and society at large is immensely felt.

In its bid to address this requirement, Pravah — an outfit committed to working for the youth — recently launched ‘Fifth Space Event’, which is a series of events where youth can connect with each other to discuss, debate and de-construct the processes of consciousness around them.

“With the advent of globalisation and commercialisation, there has been a gradual reduction in the intimate channels of communication between youth,” said the organisers. The day-long event was attended by students and young professionals from various fields. It picked on issues of concern to young people and galvanised a move towards active citizenship. “Through group discussions, presentation, dance and music, the various programmes tried to bring about a heightened sense of awareness regarding society at large and in the process engaged in a fruitful conversation with the aim of connecting the youth with their socially responsible aims,” said one of the programme co-ordinators.

Thematic kiosks on environment, gender, livelihood, education and peace dotted the event where engaging debates churned out a plethora of ideas and commitment to take them forward. Siddarth, a participant at the gender kiosk, said, “I understand now how subtle the machinations of gender are, right from the time a girl and boy are identified as separate entities. I wish to break the barriers of such identifications at least in what I do and where I belong to, to make a small start at least.”

“The idea of incorporating various forms of expressions to enliven the ‘Fifth Space’ is to make the process of this engagement with the youth a holistic one so that none feels left out. Also, what music does is different from what debates do,” says Swati, a volunteer.

The Ekam Satyam band which performed at the end of the programme is working in association with Pravah since 2003. The band’s lyricist Sumit talked about the journey of the band members from being hard core professionals to people who compose music on issues like Narmada Bachao Andolan. He says that the connection one feels with an initiative like the ‘Fifth Space’ makes them socially responsible and responsive, something which is clearly what the event aimed at.

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