The College is into some, hopefully better, press than we have been plagued with for almost three years.
The decision to hold the Doha Debate in the college premises has brought some positive news about our alma mater in the world's media.
The debate, which should be over by now as I write this on the evening of Monday 15th February, had as the topic "This House believes Muslims are not getting a fair deal in India"
Many of our alumni felt this was a very inappropriate topic for our College. As India has had two Presidents who were Muslims, the highest post in India, I think that there is much to be said against the topic. Also, as a person who has worked with ethnic minorities who are refugees in Finland, I think that the Muslims, and all ethnic minorities in India have had a better deal than the refugees that I have come across. I am not suggesting for a moment that they have a rosy and cushy time, but the longer we pamper the minorities, the longer will be the lack of integration into the mainstream.
Injustices should be removed. The legal system should be transparent. We should be a totally secular country in all respects. Let us hope that Doha Debate in our college has focussed on the pros and cons facing all minorities in india, not just the largest one - the Muslims!
Let us see when we view the edited version of the debate on 20th and 21st February on BBC World News TV Channel.
This was what was written in the online edition of UMMID.com
Speaking for the motion is Ms. Seema Mustafa, the Editor of Covert magazine. She has authored a number of books on Indian politics and in 1999 received the prestigious Prem Bhatia Award for Excellence in Political Reporting and Analysis for her coverage of the Kargil war.For more information of the broadcast visit the Doha Debate website.
With her is Ms. Teesta Setalvad, Civil rights activist and the co-founder of Sabrang Communications, an organisation aimed at protecting and promoting human rights in India. She has been at the forefront of the campaign for justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots and in 2003 she won the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award. In 2007 she was awarded the prestigious civilian honour, the Padma Shri by the Indian Government for her work in public affairs.
Against them is M.J.Akbar, distinguished journalist and Chairman and Director of Publications of Covert Magazine. He has launched and edited several publications in India including a new weekly publication The Sunday Guardian and served as a member of India’s Parliament from 1989-1992.
He is joined by the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Sachin Pilot. Pilot made history in 2004 by becoming the youngest Member of Parliament when he was elected in Dausa, Rajasthan. He won by a record margin of over 120,000 votes.
The trip to St. Stephen’s College, one of India’s top-rated educational institutions, is a sign of the unique status of The Doha Debates as the leading forum for free speech in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
I will reserve my verdict about the Debate after I view it in its entirety. I found that one TV airing will be next Saturday at 11 am Finnish Time.