Shillong youths keep their date with Mind Rocks

Hindi pop singer Rabbi Shergill performs in the presence of Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma and actor Vivek Oberoi at the India Today Mind Rocks in city on Monday. (ST) lAnother report on P-3

SHILLONG: Defying the HNLC bandh call young people kept their date with the India Today Mind Rocks Youth Summit 2013. On Monday all roads led to the plush new Convention Centre where Bollywood stars, sportsperson, singers, activists, musicians et al, addressed the audience on various issues and answered pointed questions.
Monday was a blend of everything that galvanizes youngsters.
Held for the first time in the North-east, Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, actors Abhay Deol, Vivek Oberoi, Commonwealth boxing gold medalist Akhil Kumar, cricketer Ajay Jadeja and singers Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta of Kyon and Sun le re fame and Rabbi Shergill were among those who spoke at the event.
In his keynote address, Dr Sangma said Mind Rocks was the perfect platform to gain ideas from various sections of society including the youth. The Chief Minister said the rest of India should be made aware of the cultural diversity in the North-east. Sangma even took to the stage to sing a song.
Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi, basking in the success of Krish 3 and Grand Masti spoke about how he felt like the luckiest man in the world after his son was born and how he lived in a kholi and put on a grubby look to audition for Company. “Ram Gopal Varma gave me a signing amount of Rs 10,” he said.
In the next session, Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, and Assamese actor Zerifa Wahid shared how people from the North-east faced discrimination in other parts of the country. They also spoke on how others can overcome the bias.
“You have to assert yourself since there is a preconceived notion about the people from the North-east,” Zerifa said.
In a session on political changes, Dr Mukul Sangma and Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, head of the royal house of Tripura and editor of The Northeast Today, called the promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi Assembly elections unrealistic and said the Congress under Rahul Gandhi was undergoing a major transformation.
“The Central government’s revolutionary decisions are bringing about transformative changes in the country,” Dr Sangma said.
Boxer Akhil Kumar came next and shared the factors that motivate him, one of them being criticism. “Boxing is an art. If there is trouble in front of you, it teaches you how to cope with it,” he said.
He also praised the boxers from the North-east for not being egoistic.
Cricketer Ajay Jadeja said the new generation of Indian batsmen had got something different. He also said cricket had nothing to do with individual players but was a team sport, citing how Sachin Tendulkar played. “Not many people would have applauded had India lost the Test against West Indies in Mumbai and Sachin was retiring after the same match,” he said.
Miss India 2008 Parvathy Omanakuttan said she had dreamt of becoming as a child after watching the Miss India contests. But she rued that the fact that fashion industry did not get much leverage in the country and models were looked down upon.
Singer and actor Monica Dogra said music had the capacity to change a nation.
“The whole universe is a vibration,” she said and presented some songs.
Actor Abhay Deol spoke on the hard work put in by actors that lead to hits. While targeting stereotypes in Bollywood, Deol said an actor from the North-east should ideally play the role of boxer Mary Kom.
In the last session of the day, When Bihu meets Sufi, Assamese musician-producer Papon and Sufi-rocker Rabbi Shergill who had collaborated recently spoke of their jugalbandi. Rabbi said ethnic music got very little airtime on TV music channels all this while since the market was down. He said Indian music will grow more robust since a change in fortunes had taken place on the said channels. Papon, whose parents are also singers, spoke at length on his first Assamese album.
Rudy Wallang and Tipriti Kharbangar of the blues rock band Soulmate, who had jammed with Carlos Santana when they opened for the legend in October last year, rounded off the evening with their performance that capped an event that was brought alive by music.
Those who attended said it was “paisa wasool” programme. “It was wonderful to listen to Vivek Oberoi and Ajay Jadeja amongst others. While Shillong is known as the music capital we hardly have such cerebral pow-wows,” said S Goenka.
Robert Lawai said, “We hardly have occasion to listen to such enlightened speakers such close quarters and to see them as real people. However, some of the themes addressed by certain speakers turned out to be rather mundane.”
DGP, PJP Hanaman said the programme was excellent and the speakers were all articulate and well spoken.