Unless you’ve been living under a rock all through the past week, you’d have noticed the heart warming pictures of muslim brothers serving refreshments to hindus participating in the Ram Navami procession.
While the internet exploded with headlines such as this
and then this
we realized that news such as this one going viral above all is the biggest proof that people in general are hungry for communal harmony, that people in general, are basically GOOD!
As we dug a little deeper we found that the Alpha man who made the entire event happen was State Secretary, Trinamool Youth Congress, Mr Yasser Haider.
While you’d assume him to be yet another politician, with an ulterior agenda behind the entire event, we too were taken by surprise as the young leader strolled into our office on the day of the interview.
We soon realized that the State Secretary of the Youth wing, TMC is just another young aspiring individual like you and me.
From playing Cricket on the streets as a kid to working for an event-management firm for pocket-money to marrying his college-days-sweetheart, Yasser Haider is as much a Kolkata-guy-next door as anyone can be!
Here’s us catching up with Mr Yasser Haider
Beacon Kolkata: Tell us a little about growing up in Kolkata
Yasser Haider: Well, i consider myself an average guy rather just another soldier working towards the betterment of the youth and the country. I’m NOT at all a leader of sorts.
I’ve grown up breaking my neighbours window panes (sorry aunty) while playing Cricket on the streets and helping the local rickshaw puller in carrying his heavy cart.
So yeah i’ve grown up just like you or any other guy
Today, what you post/share on Social Media is pretty much a reflection of you and your nature. The youth needs to be responsible ‘Net’izens.
BK: Then how did you happen to enter politics
YH: Call it my nature or whatever you may but even today i’d prefer to spend time in the slums of Chetla instead of office.
I never per se ‘entered’ politics. I used to do as much as i could for the not-so-fortunate from my pocket-money as a kid, then as a self-sufficient guy from a complete non-political agenda.
I continued the same after my marriage too as i’d often accompany my Father in Law (Mr Firhad Hakim, Minister for Urban Development and the Minister for Municipal Affairs) to social welfare events.
Soon i came into the notice of Abhishek Banerjee (MP from Diamond Harbour. National President, TMYC) who asked me to meet him one day. As a big surprise to me, he inducted me into the party, giving me the designation of State Secretary, directly under him.
BK: How can the youth of the city be more involved in bringing about positive change?
YH: The Indian youth comprises 42% of the nation’s population. If there’s anyone who can bring about change, it is the youth and only the youth.
Now the big question is, how to bring the change?
Change isn’t brought overnight or in a random action. Change requires you to follow the system, obey the laws, abide by the rules and then slowly and patiently work towards your goal.
To give you a small example to make my point clearer.
Say there’s a Government hospital that is filled with patients and i really need a dear one to be admitted too. Now change is NOT about using force to get your dear one admitted. Change is when you patiently work towards building another hospital.
“I’ve grown up breaking my neighbour’s window panes while playing Cricket on the streets and helping the local rickshaw puller in carrying his heavy cart down the road.
I’ve grown up just like you or any other guy”
BK: What is your view on the internet and today’s youth?
YH: The internet can be your biggest ally and your worst enemy. It all depends on how careful you are while using it. Today, what you post/share on Social Media is pretty much a reflection of you and your nature.
BK: So how to make things a little better about it?
YH: The youth needs to be more responsible about their social media activity. For instance you should not blindly believe facts and figures that you see on the internet. Do a little research, use a little bit of reasoning before reaching a conclusion and forming an opinion online.
In short be more responsible ‘Net’izens.
BK: Coming to addressing the Elephant in the room, what do you have to say about communal tensions in the country?
YH: I’ll put it simply, my Father in Law, Mr Firhad Hakim is the Chairman of the Chetla Agrani Club Pujo. And i don’t think i need to emphasise the fact that this is one of the biggest Pujos in Kolkata. He has beautified temples and turned them into tourist spots.
Kolkata is called the City of Joy for a reason. We celebrate irrespective of religious backgrounds, we share our problems irrespective of communal differences.
BK: Tell us a little more about the Ram Navami procession and your efforts.
YH: Honestly, it wasn’t a planned event at all. I’m sure if anyone in the city sees another person walking in the heat, they wouldn’t pause to ask their religion before offering water.
Similarly, we knew our Hindu brothers would be tired during their Ram Navami procession, so we set up temporary stalls to offer them sherbets and water along multiple crossings on their path.
BK: Lastly, what would be your message be to the youth of the city?
YH: Please follow your heart always. Be alert at all times about your decisions. Respect the choices of individuals and try enjoy the beauty of the city a bit outside of the smartphone too!