Eighteen years after India held its first Queer Pride Parade, the event finally came to Lucknow on Sunday. The city’s LGBIT (lesbian, gay, intersex and transgender) community walked a distance of barely 1.5 km, from the Sikandarbagh crossing to the General Post Office Hazratganj, but their message went a long way.
The first Awadh Queer Pride Parade saw at least 300 people march hand in hand, waving rainbow flags or wearing its colours. Many of them had come from as far away as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Jaipur.
“This was a full-fledged Queer Pride Parade,” said Darvesh Singh Yadvendra, the organiser of the event. “The first one was held in Kolkata in 1999 but in that, very few people turned out. Here, for the first time it was held and not only LGBIT but their family members turned out in support. It shows that they are also getting acceptability.”
Yadvendra said the parade had two objectives: to celebrate the diversity of sexuality and gender, and to protest the harassment and discrimination the community faces. “There have been cases where such people have committed suicide,” he said. “We have seen discrimination in the family, at the work place and in society.”
But Sunday’s march was mainly about the celebration. Participants danced, shouted slogans – “I am Gay, It’s OK”, “Hey Hey Ho Ho Homophobia has to Go”. One placard that got all the attention read, “I’m a Queer Muslim, Babes, Get Over it.” The young man holding it up was happy to oblige the many people who flooded him with selfie requests.
Curious onlookers asked the participants who they were, why they were dancing on the road, and about the colourful clothes they wore.
By evening, social media users in Lucknow had flooded their pages with photographs of the city’s first gay pride parade.
The parade comes just a few weeks after a new government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has taken charge of Uttar Pradesh. Could it have been conducted under the previous regime?
“We started the preparation for a whole year. At that time, it was the SP [Samajwadi Party] regime,” said Yadvendra. “Whosoever is in power, we have to engage with them. It hardly matters. We took proper permission [for the parade] and it was given by the present BJP regime. So for us, there is no such issue. We have to engage with them for our cause.”
For Lucknow, often perceived to be a conservative city, this was indeed a brave step. As woman who attended the parade later said on social media, people were now terming her association with the parade as “un-Islamic”.
But there were many others who were cheering on the community.
All images courtesy Darvesh Singh Yadvendra, organiser of the parade.
Harvard Business School’s HBX brings the future of business education to India with online programs
HBX is not only offering courses online, but also connecting students to the power of its network.
The classic design of the physical Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom was once a big innovation – precisely designed teaching amphitheaters laid out for every student to participate from his or her seat with a “pit” in the center of the room from which professors orchestrate discussions analyzing business cases like a symphony lead. When it came to designing the online experience of HBX—the school’s digital learning initiative—HBS faculty worked tirelessly to blend these tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of new technology. With real-world problem solving, active learning, and social learning as its foundation, HBX offers immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive online learning platform.
Reimagining digital education, breaking the virtual learning mold
Typically, online courses follow a one-way broadcast mode – lectures are video recorded and reading material is shared – and students learn alone and are individually tested. Moving away from the passive learning model, HBX has developed an online platform that leverages the HBS ‘case-based pedagogy’ and audio-visual and interaction tools to make learning engaging.
HBX courses are rarely taught through theory. Instead, students learn through real-world problem-solving. Students start by grappling with a business problem – with real world data and the complexity in which a business leader would have to make a decision – and learn the theory inductively. Thus even as mathematical theories are applied to business situations, students come away with a greater sense of clarity and perspective, whether it is reading a financial report, understanding why a brand’s approach to a random sample population study may or may not work, or how pricing works.
“Learning about concepts through real-life cases was my favorite part of the program. The cases really helped transform abstract concepts into observable situations one could learn from. Furthermore, it really helped me understand how to identify situations in which I could use the tools that HBX equipped me with,” says Anindita Ravikumar, a past HBX participant. India’s premier B-school IIM-Ahmedabad has borrowed the very same pedagogy from Harvard. Learning in this manner is far more engaging, relatable, and memorable.
Most lessons start with a short 2-3 minute video of a manager talking about the business problem at hand. Students are then asked to respond on how they would handle the issue. Questions can be in the form of either a poll or reflections. Everyone’s answers are then visible to the ‘classroom’. In the words of Professor Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX, “This turns out to be a really important distinction. The answers are being updated in real-time. You can see the distribution of answers, but you can also see what any other individual has answered, which means that you’re not anonymous.” Students have real profiles and get to know their ‘classmates’ and learn from each other.
Professor Anand also says, “We have what we call the three-minute rule. Roughly every three minutes, you are doing something different on the platform. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Anyone could be called on to participate at any time. It’s a very lean forward mode of learning”. Students get ‘cold-called’ – a concept borrowed from the classroom – where every now and then individuals will be unexpectedly prompted to answer a question on the platform and their response will be shared with other members of the cohort. It keeps students engaged and encourages preparedness. While HBX courses are self-paced, participants are encouraged to get through a certain amount of content each week, which helps keep the cohort together and enables the social elements of the learning experience.
More than digital learning
The HBS campus experience is valued by alumni not just for the academic experience but also for the diverse network of peers they meet. HBX programs similarly encourage student interactions and opportunities for in-person networking. All HBXers who successfully complete their programs and are awarded a credential or certificate from HBX and Harvard Business School are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty and business executives, and also experience the HBS campus near Cambridge.
Programs offered today
HBX offers a range of programs that appeal to different audiences.
To help college students and recent graduates prepare for the business world, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) integrates business essentials such as analytics, economics, and financial accounting. HBX CORe is also great for those interested in an MBA looking to strengthen their application and brush up their skills to be prepared for day one. For working professionals, HBX CORe and additional courses like Disruptive Strategy, Leading with Finance, and Negotiation Mastery, can help deepen understanding of essential business concepts in order to add value to their organizations and advance their careers.
Course durations range from 6 to 17 weeks depending on the program. All interested candidates must submit a free, 10-15 minute application that is reviewed by the HBX admissions team by the deadlines noted on the HBX website.