Student Leader Interview - Manawwar Hussain, Kirori Mal College

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1. Tell us more about your role & responsibilities in your college.

I was elected as the General Secretary of Kirori Mal College student Union which was a great privilege for me to work towards the betterment of students of the college which included organising various student-related events by utilising union fund as seminars, cultural programmes, conclaves, and the annual college events. Moreover, I also had an opportunity to bring out the problems of students to administration thus creating a healthy link for both administration and students.

2. How did you rise up to your position and how can a student aspiring the same, approach it?

My rise to the position was both a result of my interest in student's problems and initiatives to help the cause. To know the problems I met students from different departments and societies moreover my active participation in my department and debating society helped me getting to know people from diverse backgrounds. This also made me aware of their problems and then it became my determination to help them by rising to the position of the student union. 

The campaign for the election was based on the works which I had done as a normal student by raising the issues to the college administration which included fundamental issues such as water facilities in the college, canteen food quality and rates. 

Moreover, I took a keen interest in helping students during the whole admission process especially who are from backward areas by helping them to settle on campus with the help of my team. There was a popular notion in DU elections that money and muscle power are the decisive factors but I took the challenge and proved it wrong by making a healthy relationship with students by personally interacting with them throughout the year.

Those who are aspiring to contest elections best wishes for them and will suggest not be part of false practices as big hoardings, massive paper materials and spending money for unfair practices. Just try to be active during the whole academic year and positively take part in the matters of students and raise their issues to the administration which will help you get good student support who will be true to your campaign and will help you during the working for students cause.

3. What's it like to juggle between a leadership role and normal college life?

Actually, it depends on your interest,i.e. if you are really interested in helping out the students and working for their cause it becomes easier for you to find time from your academic activities. And for me, academics were always a priority but my interest in student activism made it easier for me to go an extra mile for my goal of helping the student cause. And yes I had to put some extra efforts for my studies which I did happily.

4. What have been some of your biggest challenges and learnings from what you do?

Yes, there have been a lot of challenges and difficulties in what I do. Being a migrant student from other states it was difficult to do what I do against the local anti-social elements. At times it was difficult to manage due to their threats, disturbing intervention. And it is always challenging to work against the preoccupied lobbies of students which are formed on a regional basis. 

But despite the challenges I got an exposure to learn the management skills on the student level, know the electoral politics and its working and most importantly the way to interact and convince both administration and student. I learnt the way of raising the issues and campaigning based on better ideological grounds.

5. Do you enjoy the kind of influence you hold at such a young age?

Yes, obviously I enjoy the support and kind of influence I have at such a young age because it is always an aspiration for anyone willing to join active politics at a later stage. So it was always a pleasure and motivating factor for me.

6. How do your parents’  look at you participating in extracurricular activities?

My parents have been really supportive during my journey and gave me the freedom to shape my career the way I want to. Yes, they believed in raising the concerns of people around but they were a bit afraid of the notion of violence during the elections but still, they never stopped me from participating in any of the extracurricular activities. 

And they equally feel very happy and proud when I tell them about my achievements. Even they gave me permissions to participate in local campaigns and movements at my native place.

7. What are your career goals and how is what you are doing going to help you with that?

I look at active politics as my career goal, mostly because of the keen interest in helping the people around and my activism during the college days is helping me a lot in understanding, participating and working in the active politics. This was mainly because of my election campaign and thereafter working in the union.

8. What are the top skills that you have learnt with what you do?

My top skills which I learnt from what I do have been a great way of interacting with people, public speaking, managing the people around me and also the working in a union with people from different ideologies.

9. How can we encourage more young students such as you to take-up leadership roles?

We can urge the students to come and take up the leadership roles because it helps in overall personality development on the individual level as well as helps in getting you a support team to work with. 

Moreover, it also helps in achieving a noble cause of helping the people around by taking initiatives and raising their concerns to the authorities. There are lots of privileges which come with the responsibilities of a leader and this can be understood if and only if they come for it.

10. Do you have a message for parents to allow their kids to do things besides academics?

Yes, I would like to request all the parents to give freedom to their kids to do things other than academics which is highly required in this world. Moreover, it helps in their overall development and inculcating various qualities besides academics.

11. What did you do in your current role that makes you feel really proud of yourself?

I would like to list out some of the things which I did during my tenure as the General Secretary are really enriching for me. We organised First-ever  Academic oriented seminar series(with IAS topper, IES, Eminent Professors, Defence personality even in Corona pandemic via an online medium ),first-ever Sports fest to encourage students to engage in sports activities, RTI activism regarding long term issues related with auditorium and library. 

We lead the movement regarding fee hike and also mobilised our college to participate in the university-level movement against commercial building construction in the campus area. These works always make me proud of myself for what I did.

12. What's your message to encourage students to do internships and attend conferences?

My message is that it's not just the academics which is required in life or career rather it is also the practical working knowledge as well as the additional information about our surroundings and coursebook. 

And for that, there are various internship programmes available and various academic as well as issue-based seminars are held regularly. So it is always advised to take a keen interest in them and attend them because they really help a lot.

Interview by - Mahi

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