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Focus on caste and gender issues, Akkai to students

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CAMPUS: The burning issues of caste and gender must be engaged with in a deeper manner on intellectual fora, particularly in colleges so that students come to closer grips with harsh realities, according to the activist Akkai Padmashali, who was participating in a discussion at the Ignitors Programme at St. Joseph’s College on Wednesday.

Speaking to The Beacon, Akkai commended the various platforms St. Joseph’s College throws open to have a dialogue on the pressing issues in society. Talking about her role in the Ignitors, she said, “Ignitors is a forum wherein various vast issues of the socially burning sector, especially in the context of general sexuality, can be discussed.”

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AKKAI PADMASHALI AT ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE. PHOTO – SHAHIDHA

When asked why there needs to be dialogue on the subject, “I do believe that there are other important issues, but the burning affair is on caste and gender. We need to comprehend how caste and its politics affects people, how people are marginalised and thrown out of the system. Another issue that must be addressed is on Sexuality and Gender, which is largely unspoken of.”

Akkai has handled the topic on caste and gender discrimination for two years at Ignitors. She feels that “These issues are interlinked. We, as so called citizens and responsible youth, need to know how we enact to the issues. That’s what I am worried about. SJC has a background of mixed thinkers, non-thinkers, those who take neutral and firm positions.”

Satisfied with the participation and interaction of the student community in her sessions, she admits, “I can’t expect a change – it’s a long process. I am just putting the agenda on the floor. In one-and-a-half hours you can’t expect to change people’s minds. It takes certain time and dialogue within themselves and understanding of the society, to address the whole issue of convergence.”

Shahidha

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