Lady Shri Ram College recently had the pleasure of hosting Padma Bhushan recipient Lord Meghnad Desai. Lord Desai visited college on the 1st of September 2016 to deliver a lecture on “BREXIT: The Implications for India and Europe”.
Lord Desai was welcomed to the auditorium with the recitation of the College prayer followed by the Indian music society’s performance of the college song. Principal, Dr. Suman Sharma introduced Lord Desai as an economist, a prolific writer, a voracious reader and a political activist. He is a professor Emeritus at London School of Economics and a member of the House of Lords. Dr. Sharma described him as “A popular teacher who combines wit and facts, encourages students to pursue excellence and not just grades and inspires students to take up leadership roles thereby breaking all barriers. He epitomizes the saying that excellence is not an act but a habit”.
Lord Desai’s wit was evident as soon as he began addressing the audience. He said “I have to be nice to all of you as you will rule the country after twenty years”. He went to on explain the circumstances and implications of Brexit. When it joined the EU in 1972 Britain thought that it would be the answer to her problems. However that had changed over time. He however pointed out that voting patterns indicated this to be an English revolt rather than a British revolt. Scotland and Northern Ireland had wanted to remain with the EU. He himself had voted "remain" in the referendum.
He mentioned that this would be one of the biggest constitutional changes in the history of Britain, since it had come in response to an external agency. However the withdrawal is being delayed due political pressures caused by impending elections in France and Germany and referendum in Italy. While speaking about the impact on India, Lord Desai did not predict any negative outcomes of Brexit. In fact it would be advantageous to India as Britain will be keen to invest here. Lord Desai also said that the countries are no longer ‘first world’ or ‘third world’, they are ‘emerging and fast growing’ or ‘developed and slowing down’. Regarding immigration, he said that, “Anti immigration sentiment is not directed towards India because Indian immigrants are skilled”. After these and many other insights, Lord Desai addressed a host of questions from the students of LSR. It was indeed an excellent learning experience to engage in dialogue with Lord Desai.
The event concluded with a vote of thanks provided by Smita Sahu, the treasurer of the college students' union.