Sonepat: Ashoka University hosted the Convocation ceremony of Young India Fellowship (YIF), Class of 2017 at its campus in Sonepat on 24th June 2017. The sixth cohort of 210 enthusiastic Fellows received their certificates from the Guest of Honour of the occasion, social activist and one of the founders of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Aruna Roy, in the presence of Founder & Trustee Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha, Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rudrangshu Mukherjee along with Pro Vice-Chancellor Vineet Gupta, faculty and families of graduating students.
Dr. Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University, led the ceremonial procession, and during his opening remarks to the audience, said, “Today marks the beginning of the day you go out of Ashoka, into the world, to make a life for yourself. To touch and shape other lives and to begin the process of making yourselves the best for India and the World. The Young India Fellowship programme wanted to imbibe in you a sense of the fragility and the transient nature of knowledge. Do not cease from exploration. Your tenure as a Young India Fellow has given you the strength to lead where no-one leads, the strength to lead where no-one follows and the strength to follow where no-one follows. The strength to be alone when necessary and the strength to be still when there is no use all around you.”
Aruna Roy, while addressing the graduating fellows on the occasion, said, “Now, it is onerous responsibility to redefine India. As Young India Fellows, you need to make sure that in this redefining, you don’t lose substance for the rhetoric. Young India should be about morality, ethics, culture, responsibility, critique and dissent. There’s a rationality in asking questions. Rationality, at all costs, must prevail and a liberal education, which is what Ashoka University gives you, the end of the liberal education is the right to speak, the right to question, irrationality, the right to question things that go wrong, ”
As the evening drew to a close, Vineet Gupta, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Founder, Ashoka University concluded the evening with a heartfelt vote of thanks, saying, “The Young India Fellowship finishes six years today. The fellowship pre-dates the University and laid the intellectual foundation on which Ashoka University has been built. It is a marvel on how a University can get built around one programme. And the reason for that is simple. The fellowship defines the ethos of Ashoka – it defines our teaching pedagogy, it is the bedrock of our inter-disciplinary curriculum, it was also the magnet which helped us attract distinguished faculty from around the world and most of all – our fellows embody all that we would want in our students – a hunger for learning, a spirit and willingness to question and a burning desire to change the world and make it a better place.”
Aruna Roy expressed her happiness on being a part of the occasion and gave away special awards. Shashank Sharma and Ragavijaya G were awarded the Torchbearer Award for embodying the spirit and ideals of the programme and displaying all-round excellence. Shweta Chopra received the YIF Valedictorian Award for leading the batch in academic excellence. The Spirit of YIF Award was awarded to three students from the cohort, Nayanika Chatterjee, Sajal Sehgal and Manish Reddy Guduru. The YIF Class of 2017 was an eclectic group of Fellows whose achievements shone brightly across diverse fields. Some of the accomplishments among several others include that of Samarth Mahajan whose paper titled “Is Neo Liberalism Catalysing Fundamentalist and Racist Conflicts” published in the Indian Journal of Society and Politics. He is also the Director of “Unreserved”, a documentary that portrays the lives of people traveling in the general compartment of the Indian Railways, which received extensive media coverage upon its release in 2017. Joanna Korey’s paper, titled “The Crisis of Democracy” was published on Yale Global. Jeeva Mathew was the Campus director for first ever Hult Prize at Ashoka University and represented Ashoka at Hult regional finals at Dubai, where he also promoted the AIM Smart City Program of Centre for Entrepreneurship, Ashoka University and was successful in bringing in international applicants for the first time.