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The Art of Man-making: ‘To be sincere and an active member of society is the greatest human value’

The winner of the prestigious Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values says his parents inspired him to become the voice of the four-legged animals



For those who live in Jalandhar and want to pursue their graduation without wanting to leave the comfort of their home, the best place to head to is Apeejay College of Fine Arts (ACFA). The same was true for Aditya Arora, a student of BCom but he decided to go to Chandigarh to pursue his graduation. But fate had a different plan for Arora.

“After I completed my class XII from La Blossoms School, I decided to go to Chandigarh for higher studies. But as luck would have it the college I was interested in had closed its admissions. So I decided to return home; I was missing Jalandhar and getting homesick. It was my destiny to study at ACFA; I enrolled and got admission,” Arora said.

In an impromptu interview, the graduate who is on his way to Canada for a post-graduate diploma in Accounting talks about how he got interested in working with strays among other things.

When and how did you win the Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values?

It was during my fifth semester; I was in effect in my second year of BCom when I got the award. I joined the Student Association at ACFA; it was one of the first things that we were made to do after joining. When I came in the second year, I was shortlisted from among several students. In the interview round, I was asked a few questions about human values which I replied with honesty. After this, I got selected and won the award.

What are some of the activities that you have been part of?

I will be honest and say that there weren’t very many activities that I took part in college but outside of it I am part of the Animal Protection Foundation. It is a local foundation where we go to schools and create awareness among them about animal rights and that we should not be cruel to them. We do site visits and even take the injured strays to the vet.

Why and where does cruelty to animals stem from?

It all stems from the fear that we have created in the minds of the children. They grow up with a mindset that there is nothing wrong with being cruel. We bring up our children telling them to stay away from strays lest they harm us; we have a preconceived notion about how strays act. This makes us act against them even though they mean no harm.

It can’t be denied that the stray population is on the rise but there are measures to control this. We don’t have to lose our humanity and act prejudiced. As humans, we think that we are superior beings and therefore have the right to suppress those who are weak.

The simplest thing would be to make a small donation to NGOs that work with strays. During winter, one can donate blankets or wood so that shelters can be made for these animals

Aditya Arora, Alumni, Apeejay College of Fine Arts

Have you seen changes since you started working for the foundation?

I started working with the foundation when I was in class XI and once I was in college I became an active member. When I held a workshop at ACFA, I had a few volunteers who joined me. I have seen a lot of changes and public awareness. There have been cases where we have got a call about an injured stray. Most of the time, people want to help but don’t know how to go about the same. Even a call to us is a step in the right direction.

What is the easiest act of kindness one can show to the strays?

The simplest thing would be to make a small donation to NGOs that work with strays. During winter, one can donate blankets or wood so that shelters can be made for these animals. Even feeding one meal to the stray is an act of kindness.

How do you define human values?

These values are very subjective. For me, it means to be sincere and be an active member of society. This need not always translate to animals; we have to be good to all living beings. Even helping a child cross the street is a human value for me.

What role have your parents played in your walking this path?

They have played a huge role. My mother introduced me to the concept of helping others. She worked with an organisation that helped the elderly and the needy. My father, on the other hand, was the one who used to feed the strays where we live. Each morning, he would get up and make a meal of bread and milk and feed the strays near our house. People used to complain but it never deterred my father from feeding them even though he got a lot of hate for his actions.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.