Students were treated to an invigorating session by Nandita Das
FOR A change, students were not star-struck despite the presence of an acclaimed actress. Full credit to Nandita Das for achieving that.
Without getting over familiar, she spoke to students in a language they understood. And, the topics she discussed were chosen with care and related to them.
At the `Face-to-Face' programme of the GRDSCIB, Nandita straightaway said, "It should not be just me doing all the talking. I want you all to make this an exciting interactive session."
After a brief talk, came the time for the students to shoot questions and the very first one put across to her was: "Are you a feminist?"
The response was swift. "I prefer to call myself a humanist. But, at times, I am forced to be a feminist because of the demanding situation and inequalities in society. And, I don't feel apologetic about it."
Though the interaction was brief, Nandita left the crowd spellbound with her firm responses.
She quoted Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King to drive home the point that being vocal is important, for "it is often the good that are silent."
The feeling of insecurity in society also rankles her. "War and riots are happening in our neighbourhood. Can we be truly happy in such a scenario?" she asks.
So what can a common man do? "Bring that little change into your lives. It will surely inspire others and create a ripple effect. Nobody can do it singularly. It is for all of us to make the world a better place to live in."
Her family has contributed enormously to making her the kind of person she is.
"My father (painter Jatin Das) used to work from home while my mother went to work in a publishing house. I grew up thinking that men stay back at home. It was a shock when I realised the world around me worked the other way."
Nandita asked the students to enjoy what they do.
"My parents never told me what to study. After completing my graduation in Geography, I was wondering, `what next?'. I took a year off and taught at the Rishi Valley School. I handled everything except Maths there. It was the best year of my life." She then went on to do her masters in Social Work.
The actress has good memories of her recent visit to Pakistan.
"I met a cross section of students, social scientists, politicians and the general public. Contrary to what we think about citizens of that country, they are very warm people. Human beings are good in creating boundaries, but do not know how to bridge them."
She wanted the student community to dispel all animosity about the neighbouring country.
Her favourite sphere of activity is championing the cause of women.
"The disparities between men and women are so huge that it hurts. Women are denied even their basic rights... one reason I am fighting for their cause."
She cites a classic example to support her case.
"When I was shooting near a temple in Pollachi, I saw a woman eating the food left over by her husband. What was more shocking was that the woman did not consider it demeaning."
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