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Patkar urges youth to bat for farmers

“I am worried about the livelihood of the 35,000 farmers who were affected by the Statue of Unity and its tourism. I am not against Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel but I am against what the Central government did illegally at the Sardar Sarovar Dam,” said social activist Medha Patkar, expressing her concern for farmers and other marginalised sections of society.

She was delivering the memorial speech of Dr Fr Ambrose Pinto SJ, former principal of St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) in Bengaluru on Friday, November 23. Patkar invited the youth of India — especially students — to join her and farmers in Delhi on November 29 and 30, where the ryots will put forward four demands, including freedom from debt and at least Rs 2,500 pension. “Mitigating the inequity that 93 percent of workers are not able to afford private educational institution was one of the concern of Fr Ambrose Pinto. The educational curriculum that is really addressing the needs of the corporate world more than the real social challenges is what is driving the youth towards careerism,” said Patkar, expressing her concern about the saturation of private educational institutions.

Associate Professor Dr Etienne Rassendren, from the Department of English said on the occasion: “Fr Pinto’s ultimate and tremendous aim was to communicate to the youth that you have to love with your heart. He impacted young minds to the extent that they would claim later they had become a social activist because of Fr Ambrose. He was in every sense of the term a committed person.”