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Monday, December 9, 2013

Agenda Aaj Tak 2013

Aaj Tak, the leading News Channel for 13 straight years, announced the 2nd Edition of Hindi Heartland Summit Agenda Aaj Tak on December 4 and 5, 2013, at Le Meredien in New Delhi. The idea was to debate, discuss and ideate with the newsmakers of the country. In line with the last year, this year also brought the most powerful personalities and thought leaders together to set a vision for 2014. The platform will delve into all aspects that occupy national attention and will celebrate thought leadership across varied

The event began right on time at 12:00pm after Delhi cast its vote to select the next ruling hand that has the capacity to change history. The event began with a melodious Vande Mataram from the young rising talent Akash Sharma, filling the atmosphere with the tunes of patriotism. After this a series of political leaders that enlightened us, the in detail description of each day is here: Day1-, Day 2 - In this post I shall summarize the entire event and my learning from it.

The nation shall be choosing its prime minister early in 2013 and there is a wave in politics this time. A common man has picked up a broom to change the political scenario and remove corruption. While on the other hand another man follows the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and is working towards a better India through the age old successful mantra for Indian Independence - Satyagraha. On the other hand a tea seller works his way through a party, becomes a chief minister and proves it to the nation with his achievements that nation building is possible through perseverance and no matter where you are, its where you are going that matters. On the other hand a political party with its orthodox hierarchical rule fights to save the throne it has ruled on for decades! Who will win? What will happen if one wins or the other? We still have issues like terrorism from neighboring Pakistan but we also want  friendship and  no more bloodshed. Also the longstanding injustice to women rights to a quota in parliament. Will we be able to achieve all of these? How? To discuss these burning issues The India Today Group had chosen wisely, eminent speakers from politics such as Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadari, Sheila Dixit, Sushma Swaraj, Omar Abdullah, Hina Rabbani Khan etc. Now only political talk would make it boring so we had Gandhiji, Anna Hazare and even Baba Ramdev as speakers! And over and above all a touch of melody with Sonu Nigam, Talat Azia, Ghulam Ali saab, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Pankaj Udhas. Over and above what event is an event if not star studded and India Today truly got the best ones amongst us, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and the ever entertaining Gutthi.
Well I was most interested in listening to Hina Rabbani Khan, she truly being a role model, achieving it all as a woman in Pakistan isn't an easy job. I have admired her personality, conduct and speech. However she was very diplomatic. She did make some statements where she took a stand against terrorists and that they should be punished. Also that Malala is great ambassador for Pakistan and women like her shall definitely find a place in politics. She also said that in Pakistan hatred for India is never used as a propaganda by major political parties to win elections but in India that is not the case! She believed we should forget the past and move on! Really? Will you do that if our roles were reversed? Ha ha. The best part was the counter talk of Omar Abdullah saying he didn't probe her with questions, else it would be difficult for her to return to Pakistan. well he himself was in a very a firm mode. He said he could do anything in Jammu and Kashmir and fly over any region or rally, that was his land, when asked if he was spying over Narendra Modi's rally! Most diplomats live Nitin Gadkari , Jayram Ramesh, Ajay Maken and Ravi Shankar Prasad maintained that all media did was look for "Breaking News" and so only bad was highlighted. Even following leaders of opposition party for them wasn't possible. The biggest debate amongst the political people was, as has always been "who abused whom" and I just sat there wondering "Do these people even think about the nation?"                                                                

The best person who I really felt was genuine was Rajnath Singh. As the party president of BJP he didnt have greed for power. He said it will be Narendra Modi as PM not him, who can be so selfless? He also said that he cannot see any flaw in Narendra Modi when asked to point out one. He denied that there was a war between Advani and Modi, by saying little fights happen however there are no differences between them. Everey BJP leader just en-cashed on the fact that their's is not a hierarchical part like Congress. They forgot AAP is there to outbeat too.  The session with Anna Hazare had great revelations. He said that Arvind Kejriwal collecting money on his behalf was wrong. He will never accept Kejriwal in his Andolan as their paths are different and he doesn't believe in political parties. He himself never had a bank balance. He also believes that there is a wave in India that rose after a movement he started and he wishes to reignite the flame. He believes the nation will support him. He is beginning his next fasting for a Jan-Lokpal starting on the 10th of December. He said I am not doing it for myself, I am doing it for you! So don't wait guys, do join him! The session I thought would be the most interesting was "Dharam ya Dhanda" with Ramdev baba et al., however they were just screaming and shouting, rather than really making their point, Alas! what a waste! The session where they showed a glimpse of Mahatma Gandhi coming back to life in modern India is a great idea and I really look forward to this initiative.

The melody of music kept the heart and soul light amidst the heavy political drama. Sonu nigam told his story of journey into music and sang some songs. Ghulam Ali saab, Pankaj Udhas and Talat Aziz struck the chord of friendship with romantic ghazals and the melody of the Harmonium. Yo Yo Honey Singh explained that it was the mindset and not him that was dirty. Also that he would et a grammy and iddnt mind doing songs for free. He was touched by love of Gujratis and then started working on Gujrati song. Also he focussed a lot on diction as is proved by "Loongi Dance". I truly had a very bad impression of him but liked his bindaas attitude and his clarity of thought. 

The stars were fabulous apart from Priyanka Chopra, who I was shocked being Miss India World could say something so stupid as "Bollywood has no social responsibility!" Really? However apart from that Aamir Khan really lived upto his image of thinking a lot and also gave the inside story of direction debate over Taare Zameen par. He also said Salman is a bigger star than me, as my movie work s only when each and every unit is perfect but for Salman only him doing some cool moves with a belt is enough to make a movie a "super-hit".  He also shared some insights of his perfection and reason for delaying Dhoom 3 by an year to create a perfect body of a magician with single digit body fat. He is truly a perfectionist. I also managed to get an autograph from him in the end.

The star of the entire show however was Shahrukh Khan. He was inspiring and said that its very important to work hard, endlessly, even in pain or ill health. Success comes when one goes on, when one sacrifices everything he loves (which in his case was spending time with family) and just with a single minded devotion works towards that one goal. He also apologized for his recent bad behaviour, saying that he is a public figure and he must learn to behave himself! Best of all I got a chance to ask him a question! And he gave me a detailed answer for about two minutes, I was just mesmerized by his playfulness and sincerity while interacting with me. It shall always be the moment I shall cherish all my life.
By the way the girl who begins with "kuch kuch hota hai Shahrukh tum nahi samjhoge"! is me :) :) :) Watch the video live here

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