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LADAKH: Not even in his wildest dreams did a young man from the sturdy valleys of Kargil - Ladakh had thought that he would get an opportunity to represent the country at an international forum. The 19th World Festival of Youths and Students  2017 held at the city of Sochi in the Russian Federation saw the participation of a delegation of the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs consisting  of One hundred Twenty-five  and students' leaders from across the country. The delegation had student and youths leaders from all across the country. Mohd Hassan Pasha, a youth leader working in the high mountainous regions of Ladakh had made it to the final list. 
 
Mr. Pasha has been involved in youth politics from the last Six years and have been instrumental in voicing the concerns of the youth and the students. Working with Bhartaiya Janata Party (BJP) major national party, Mr. Pasha has successfully acted as a bridge between the youth and students' community from the far flung Kargil and the echleons of power in the state capitals as well as New Delhi. His contribution has been hailed by the students community. Besides he has been struggling hard for the construction of a sports stadium of the highest standards in his native place, which today stands sanctioned. He has been extremely vocal about his opinions regarding the injustice meted out to the students' community in particular and the youths in general.
 
"Look, we are no more living in the twentieth century. Today when we have the boon of technology, why should we shy away from voicing our concerns. If we won't voice our concerns then who will? We, the youth, are the future and it is for us to decide what kind of a future do we look upto?" Mr.Pasha said while conversing with this correspondent. 
 
Asked about the Youth festival, he said that it was an experience he would remember a lifetime. "Events like these open up your mind. When you see people from other cultures and other countries, you get to appreciate the diversity. When you dress up in your traditional attire where everyone else is flaunting theirs, you learn to appreciate your own culture even more. When you get to listen to great leaders like the Russian President, it does instill a sense of confidence in you.  Mr. Afroz Shah, environmentalist and Lawyer from India, Mr. Gamal Albinsaid a young doctor from Indonesia, Artem Oganov a young scientist from Russai and Reeshemah Krystal Ball, a young artist from Jamaica were some of the extraordinary youth icons who got to interact one on one with the Russian President. Witnessing a great leader like Mr. Putin interacting one on one with young people who came from all over the world with a diverse range of ideas was extremely enriching," he added.
 
Mr. Pasha said that he was happy to have represented the country at the largest youth festival held in the world. The festival saw the participation of more than 30,000 people from 180 countries. During the festival Mr. Pasha took part in several conferences and spoke about the need for mutual understanding among the nations of the world so that peace and stability is ensured. It was interesting to note that a very vocal supporter to his ideas came from a youth who was a member of the Pakistani delegation. It was a bit disappointing to Mr. Pasha that he could not find any member from Gilgit-Baltistan in the Pakistani contingent. "Participation in this festival, which is celebrated in a different country after every four year or so, also led to the realisation that English as a language is very over rated in our country, instead we should focus more on our regional languages. It is okay that English is a connecting language, however we should let that be just that. A connecting language, nothing more.  This is what I personally felt while interacting with youths from Russia, Germany, France and many other nations. They take so much pride in speaking their own language," Mr. Pasha said.
 
Coming from a humble family background from one of the remotest places in the country, it was certainly quite an achievement for a middle class young man to have represented his country on such a platform of international repute. Besides celebrating the festival of Lights - Deepavali - in the Olympics city of Sochi, the Indian delegation took part in various other cultural events during the cultural exchange programmes. Mr. Pasha proudly donned the Goncha, traditional dress from Kargil - Ladakh, that he had brought all the way from home. 
 
Events such as these also do enhance a person's ability to think broader due to the exchange of ideas and thoughts. This is what Mr. Pasha thinks was the biggest takeaway from the event held from October 12 - 22 in the Russian Federation. "I hope to contribute to my society whatever I learner from the tour. It was a great learning experience." Mr. Pasha signed off with these remarks.