Every journey has an end and it is actually the end which justifies the means. There has to be something endearing in the end to induce someone into doing something. As a student of engineering, a question may arise in a person’s mind as to why should they at all care about attending a conference, let alone a conference which deals with issues which are seemingly not relevant to his faculties of studies such as ‘uniform civil code’ and ‘misuse of sexual harassment’ code!?
The answer to this question lies fundamentally in the proposition that what an individual would do once he/she completes his/her studies. The logical answer to the same would be to get employed, in order to satisfy one’s whims and wishes and somewhere down the line to do something for the society which has given an individual, the opportunity to coexist.
Samvaad is a conference which will culminate the fields of politics, business, academia, entertainment, journalism and sports by opening a cross-cultural dialogue on the issues persistent in these fields. By virtue of this event would enable everyone to take a step towards bringing out the solutions for the issues and challenges thwarting us in the present day. With the central theme of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’, the conference aims at involving the participation of as much young citizens of this country as possible so as to witness the vibrant and transforming ideas with respect to the issues rooted in the country and their suggestions as to how the government should respond towards these challenges.
Engineers design systems and produce goods and services for the benefit of mankind with the help of socio-economic factors such as public priorities, participation, adoption of engineered systems and affect on the economic growth of the country. The role of an Engineer relates to the contemplating of feasible projects, which can be undertaken in various sectors and which have the potential of being unique to our geographical & economic setting. Secondly, an engineer’s role is to create the infrastructure for the private as well as public sector and thirdly, to work as managers & business entrepreneurs in developing manifold systems and processes for various sectors of the economy. Thus, innovation & creativity are critical in an engineer’s life.
Apart from the above mentioned areas of professional work, engineers also have a transformative and positive role in the field of government, public administration, business and sciences, thereby inherently impacting the society through their decisions. Thus, students of engineering should graduate with experience in working in teams, have strong written and oral communications skills, and be well versed in the economic, social, environmental and international affairs. Participation in such a conference would give an opportunity to the engineers to learn about the issues persistent in the governance of the country and a chance to voice their concerns relating to the same, thereby increasing their awareness as well as participation towards a better India.
While it is in reality a far from ideal proposition for an engineering student to attend a conference, let us just for the time being assume a situation, where a student attends the present one. The conference will mainly focus on the issues of Uniform Civil Code and Misuse of Sexual Harassment Laws in India.
Uniform Civil Code is a complex and forbidden topic to talk about in this society as such. It actually talks about having one single code which shall deal with all property and family related matters of all individuals from all religions. One would be inclined to think that the same should be acceptable to everyone as it would make the system hassle free, but in the real world, in a so called secular fabric of India it is anything but blasphemous to even think of the said situation. The thought of a Hindu judge giving verdict in a Muslim divorce case is unpalatable and vice versa. Legally speaking, Hindu marriage laws are codified, that is they are put in words in the form of legislations while Muslim law is not codified and they derive their authority from personal laws which are given in various religious scriptures. It is a fragile issue, one which does not have an easy yes or no answer. A dialogue on the same would help bring out the transformed views of the current generation.
Sexual harassment in work place was first proposed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the landmark Visakha case1 in which it gave guidelines for dealing with the said issue. It dealt with the inhuman rape of a woman named Bhanwari Devi, by the members of the so called upper class. Further it was codified in the year 2013. Consider a situation, whereby one is wrongly framed for harassing other. In this what is the remedy available to the other person. What does harassment constitute of? What is the fine line between casual flirtation and serious harassment? An elaborate discussion and an answer to all these concerns shall be given away at Samvaad.
It is also important for an engineer to have leadership skills in order to function at a professional level by assessing risks and taking initiatives to make sound decisions. With regards to this, the conference would involve a life mapping exercise and a leadership development conversation as informal events. The conference would mark the presence of various eminent speakers from legal, political and educational background giving the students the opportunity to converse with such personalities, put forward their views and grievances with respect to the issues and a global perspective of the same.
The engineers should not restrict their scope only to the exercising their skills in their technical fields and always aim to spread their wings to social issues and provide a helping hand in development of the society in whichever way possible. Samvaad provides an incredible platform to engineers to raise their voices regarding their social concerns, a mouthpiece for their grievances and an effort towards good governance.
1 Vishaka & Ors v State of Rajasthan & Ors, (1997) 6 SCC 241.
About the Author
Rashmi Singh is a fourth year student of ILS Law College, Pune. Her interest areas are Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property Laws. She enjoys researching and has been associated as a researcher for various moot court competitions. She likes to read and paint in her free time.