A 22-year-old Indian law student and gender activist spent a day as the British commissioner to India after winning a video-making competition.
Rudrali Patil earned the role for a day following the British High Commission-organised competition to make a video on girls’ rights.
Patil took time out of her law degree at Amity University Noida, New Delhi to fulfil the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as British commissioner to India.
She stood her post this week, giving a speech to the media on empowering young women in rural India.
“I recorded the video and submitted online. Later, I received a call from the British Embassy saying I had won the competition. The Embassy officials offered me to become the British High Commissioner for a day,” she told Times of India.
Patil is passionate about women’s issues. She works with the NGO Sai Foundation to promote the health and education of girls. The Maharashtra-based group also works to break gender-based stereotypes.
“We try to create awareness about menstruation that is still a taboo in rural India, through workshops that we organised in different villages,” she told The Indian Express.
She was mentored by the High Commissioner, Dominic Asquith, during her day in the role.
“The High Commissioner was a paternal figure to me. When I was following him throughout the day, every time he met anybody in the elevator or on the staircase, he would follow up with the instruction he had given them. It is a really difficult task,” she said.
She enjoyed every aspect of what she thought would be a stressful experience, she told The Indian Express.
Patil also joined the British Deputy High Commissioner, Alexander Evans, on The International Day of the Girl.
The event, ‘Chat with a diplomat’, was organised by The University of Dehli.
“I always used to think that diplomats meet their counterparts and do some deals between two nations and are restricted to their cubicles but that is not the case,” she said.
“After I went to college with the commissioner, I realised how important it is for a diplomat to interact directly with the people. I missed this part of their life in books I read. I had a pleasing experience of becoming British High Commissioner for a day. I got to learn a lot of things. I also received some awards and gifts.”