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Scholar-Journalist of the Week: A good book is a good friend

This week’s winner, Sukhmanjot Kaur Mattu voices a strong sense of womanhood, in the interview



From academics, sports to cooking and reading feminist literature, Sukhmanjot Kaur Mattu, a student of class 11 at Apeejay School, Rama Mandi in Jalandhar can ace it all. Not only is she a class topper, but an individual who dreams of an egalitarian society. Read On:

Your interests and hobbies?

I love reading books and watching movies. I wish to explore different stories, characters and narratives as I feel that each of these has the capability to teach me something new. My hobbies also include listening to music.

What kind of books do you read?

As a child, I started with Enid Blyton, and then I moved to detective stories, and authors like Agatha Christie. I don’t stick to a specific genre as of now, and have read the works of many authors. I recently read, ‘Everything I Never Told You’ – a novel by Celeste Ng. It was an emotional read since it puts forward the story of a 16-year-old girl who committed suicide due to familial pressure. In the course of the novel, her parents keep projecting their insecurities on her. The book showcases how she tried to battle it. Unfortunately, she succumbed to the pressures. The story is very relatable because often young girls are caught in a dilemma to either pursue their own choices or do what the society expects of them. However, I feel that the character in the book should not have taken such a harsh step. With hard work and determination, everything can become a reality.

Do you think our society is limiting the progress of women?

India has been a largely patriarchal society since centuries. Nonetheless, we have, as a society, tried to adapt and change as per the times. At present, women are making strides in every field in the country but we are still lagging behind globally. I feel that in India, women still need greater freedom.

Only recently, we witnessed a judgement in Ohio against a girl who wishes to abort her baby. Ohio is among a number of states that have rolled back the constitutional right to abortion. According to me, women should enjoy authority over their bodies along with having social-political and educational rights. It pains me how women are judged all the time, and that is a global phenomenon. We need to be more accepting and adaptive towards each other and give every individual the space to be.

Your thought on the Scholar-Journalist – A good is a good friend?

Everyone tells teenagers to read as many books. But by simply reading a book, we can’t gain the desired knowledge. It is important to ponder on what we are reading and why as your thoughts are driven by what you read. So, one must choose wisely.

How do you manage your hobbies with academics?

I don’t have a set schedule. I prioritise my studies, homework, and hobbies accordingly on a daily basis. I try to best utilise my time and manage it. In my free time either I read or watch Netflix.

Best thing about Apeejay School, Rama Mandi?

I have been associated with the school since class Nursery. My elder sister, Eshwarjot studied there too. As a child, I insisted on accompanying my sister to school, and so I sought admission at Apeejay. Since that time, I have loved everything about this school. It feels like a family of my own.

Extra-curriculars activities you enjoy at school?

I am a Basketball player. I have been a part of the Under-14 and Under-17 teams and won at District and Zonal level competitions.

What is your career aspiration?

I wish to opt for Medicine. The domains that interest me are Paediatrics, Surgery, Genetics and Dentistry. I want to make a name for myself.

Your role model?

My role model would be every person who uses his/her power or capability to contribute to the society in an effective manner. I am inspired by the renowned author JK Rowling because in her personal life, many challenges were thrown at her. But, she fought it all and became a successful author.

Any writing tips for fellow students?

The first step to writing is to read a lot. One should try to stay updated with the recent occurrences, global events and news. The next is to write about something meaningful that can benefit any reader in some manner. Third is to express your line of thought with logic, and weigh the pros and cons of everything. 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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