Bringing great pride upon the community and the country, Baroda’s twenty-five-year-old youth icon, Jamshed Bhagwagar, was invited by the Government of Sri Lanka to represent India at the International Youth Conference held at ‘Yowun Pura – The City of Youth’, at Hambantota, Sri Lanka, from 25th March to 3rd April, 2019. Jamshed was one of the only eight Indian delegates shortlisted by the Indian Government for this global youth fest and he shared his vision across topics including ‘Good Governance; Youth Policy; Media and Communication; and Contemporary Social issues’, in the presence of over seven thousand youths and dignitaries from all over the world. Jamshed received congratulatory letters from Gujarat’s Chief Minister – Vijay Rupani, as well Governor – O P Kohli, commending his outstanding achievement. Jamshed is indeed an all-rounder having been a Gold medalist in Athletics, a TATA Scholarship recipient and a national level Skater. He currently works as a Project Manager with the Gujarat Government under its State Youth Board in Gandhinagar. Parsi Times is delighted to share an interview with Jamshed Bhagwagar, even as he just returned to India, after a momentous week spent in Sri Lanka.
PT: Tell us about yourself.
Jamshed: I’d like to introduce myself as a student, because my learning never stops. I am currently pursuing part-time studies in Public Policy and Administration. I’ve been passionate about social service activities since my school days and have volunteered with various NGOs, social organisations and cultural exchange programs pan-India. I’ve served as a Media and Communication Researcher at the Ministry of External Affairs, GOI, New Delhi and am an elected President of the Indian Student Parliament, Gujarat State. I continue to provide voluntary services at various national, state and district platforms across multiple development sectors because I believe if we don’t utilize our skills, they could fade away and go to waste.
PT: How did you come to represent India at the event in Sri Lanka?
Jamshed: As my passion lies in working towards Public Policy and Good Governance, I’ve been actively researching Indian and international polity. My suggestions on Youth Policy and Good Governance found great appreciation and I was shortlisted and invited to share my views with the global delegates and represent India at the Global Youth platform, where over seven thousand global youths participated, alongside academicians, politicians, media personnel and public-policy makers from the world over.
PT: Tell us more about the event. What were its highlights for you?
Jamshed: The conference hosted multiple dialogues and debates across youth over current burning issues. Numerous activities which formed a good part of the event included daily discussions with global delegates on contemporary Political, Economic, Cultural and Social issues in the world. In addition, there were numerous Out-bound activities; Community outreach projects; Sports activities; as well as cultural performances and a campfire. We were also addressed by the Sri Lankan in the Closing Ceremony.
Some of the highlights for me included the opportunity to meet and have a brief discussion with PM Shri Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was an honor to felicitate him with a shawl and a book on behalf of India. I also had the opportunity exchange dialogues on the various models of youth initiative programs, SDGs and UN projects with Shri Sagala Ratnayaka, Cabinet Minister of Youth Affairs and Project Management, Government of Sri Lanka. I had a great interaction with Stephen Mani – Deputy Head of Political Affairs where we spoke about the Indo-Sri Lanka relations. I was also invited to visit Sri Lanka’s live Parliament session and had a brief discussion with the Parliament Secretary on contemporary of Indian and Sri Lankan democracy; as also a courtesy meeting with the office of the Indian High Commission. As a Parsi, I always like visiting and interacting with our Community members wherever I go, so I took an appointment and had a courtesy visit to Aban Aunty from ‘Abans Group’. It was an honor meeting her.
PT: What or who serves as your biggest inspiration?
Jamshed: My passion is my biggest motivation and it’s taken me places. Challenges inspire me – thanks to the teachings of my 102-year-old grandmother, who continues to support me and encourages me towards learn new things for public Life. Even my parents and my sister are my pillars of strength and have helped me achieve whatever I have till date. The support and expectations of my mentors and friends also pushes me to better my services for the people.
PT: What message would you like to share with our Community, especially the youth?
Jamshed: I believe that the nature of experiential learning cannot be duplicated through other formats. Leadership and community building skills acquired would be a great asset in the development of the next generation of Zoroastrian leaders. Let’s come together and work together to further enrich and empower our community. I’m happy and proud to be part of the Parsi Community but mournful that our youth is not well-connected. We need good Youth Leaders to be the pillars of our community. I would like to tell my fellow Parsi youth to be connected and help get others connected within the community, so that we can continue the legacy of our great ancestors.
PT: Any parting words?
Jamshed: I feel proud to have represented my country. It was an amazing experience and I wholeheartedly thank the Govt. of India and the Govt. of Gujarat for the opportunity to lead the delegation and represent India at the global platform.