Marking a cultural end to the week, last Friday we were delighted to welcome Dr Virander Paul, the Deputy High Commissioner for India, to the school to speak to pupils and parents about India’s position in the world, its challenges and successes. The occasion held particular poignancy as it was also ‘Gandhi Jayanti’, a national day of celebration in India that marks the birth of Mahatma Gandhi and in tandem the United Nations International Day of Non-Violence.
A packed Bristow-Clavell theatre listened intently as Dr Paul talked about the Indian economy, the emergence of a very young population and the emphasis by the government on ensuring that they are skilled to take India forward, the Indian government’s rapid economic development objectives, it’s delicate relationships with neighbouring countries and Russia as a military partner.
Then, ably hosted by pupil Sophie Parekh, Dr Paul took questions on a range of subjects such as discussions about the future of Kashmir and the bilateral solution required. He also fielded questions on the need for India’s national infrastructure to be developed, the role of women in India’s evolving economy, policies on income equality, the transparency of government, pollution, the efficiency of the court system and many more.
“We hope that inviting speakers such as Dr Paul to the school encourages our pupils to think more widely about the world that they live in and the challenges faced by other cultures,” said Mr James Priory, Headmaster at The Portsmouth Grammar School. “It was interesting and inspiring to hear Dr Paul speak about India’s future and the work their government is doing to take their country forward.”
The Lord and Lady Parekh, who are grandparents of pupils Emily and Sophie at The Portsmouth Grammar School also attended the event. Lord Parekh is an acclaimed academic in the field of political philosophy and author of the Parekh report into the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (2000).