As the world prepares to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, The Teenager Today feels privileged to feature Arya Rajendran, the youngest Mayor in the country, on our cover this month, bringing you an exclusive interview with her, as well.
In the recently-held civic elections, Arya Rajendran, a student activist from her young days, was fielded by the Communist Party of India (CPM) in the Madavanmugal ward constituency which she won with a large majority. Arya was later elected Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. She holds the unique distinction of being the youngest Mayor in India. Arya was only 21 years, when elected. She turned 22 on January 12, this year.
More striking is the fact that Arya continues to be a student of All Saints College, Thiruvananthapuram, managed by the Congregation of Carmelite Religious (see pgs 14 & 15). The Teenager Today is deeply grateful to the management of the College, headed by Mother Mary Frances, and the staff for making an exclusive interview with Arya possible for us, soon after her swearing-in as Mayor.
The Teenager Today also congratulates the city Corporators for electing young Arya Rajendran as the Mayor, creating history and also setting an example before our political class who often refuses to gracefully pass on the mantle they don to the next generation who can possibly handle the responsibilities better, today. (See also the Sports column).
Arya has clear views on students entering politics, and on other issues involving students. “If education is about understanding the society we live in, addressing the challenges and finding ways to tackle the problems we face, there is no better way than having a deep sense of political awareness. In a democratic society like ours, how can the students be kept away from politics? However, students should receive guidance from their families and Institutions how to manage study and politics together well. Running away from politics is never the solution!”
But Arya affirms: “I do not condone violence of any sort or unlawful activities like the destruction of public property, exploitation of gullible people, breeding fanaticism in the name of politics, religion, etc. Students should understand well the problems the country faces, and address them through democratic and peaceful means!”
Arya Rajendran has mastered the art of striking the right balance between her studies and other activities and responsibilities she is committed to, in the process of reaching where she is today. Young students in the country can look up to her and learn from her how to ably handle the conflicting situations they often have to face in their lives, without compromising either.
Alfonso Elengikal, SSP, has the unique distinction of being the longest-serving editor of The Teenager Today, an office he held for over 17 years. He is the bestselling author of You Can Make A Difference, You Are Destined For The Skies, Let The Real You Stand Up! and Discover The Hero Within You published by Better Yourself Books.