The Flip Side of NITGATE

Karanvir Gupta
By this time all perceptions have been made, mind boggled and then put to rest. The students have suffered psychological disturbances, the parents have had sleepless nights, the supporters sent convoys, the protesters sent threats and the nation once again has seen a big ideological difference separating the valley from the mainland (if I call it so though I would not like to phrase it likewise). Because this is what the agenda most probably seems to me – from being called an integral part of India to be called something like cut from the mainland.
I would not get into the nitty gritty of this political situation and ruckus because it has been years the Kashmir has been stranded among the pro-Hindustani, separatists and the pro-Pakistani groups. And nothing concrete has happened. As the old saying goes “where there is will, there is a way”. All I have seen and observed is lack of political will to sort the issue. Well, that is also not epicentre of my premise.
I believe in telling the real life stories that connect you, me and each one of us. Because though Kashmir is the paradise on earth, there is still world outside the Kashmir that welcomes each one of us with the same warmth and equal opportunities. 10 years outside my state and I have seen people being more warm to me when they get to know that I am from J&K. Some of us all may call it empathy, I see just love.
A few days earlier, a mail popped up in my inbox wherein a recent recruit was being welcomed by the HR on his first day as per the usual practice. Suddenly a few folks shouted from far, “hey, did you check the mail?” I clicked opened it and saw he was from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University. Irrespective of his surname or religion but I was beaming with happiness. In a fraction of seconds I could vision beautiful scenes of progress-development in my(our) state. An exposure to the outside world and taking back the learnings is going to pay us huge dividends in the long run. And this incidence is just a reflection of that.
There are many students from our state who get the preliminary education in the state and then pursue even the higher education there itself. In other cases, they go outside to pursue further education. In all the exchange of knowledge, exposure and development of children, we owe big time to all these institutions spread across India for giving us and our future generations a chance to grow and prosper. We owe them for helping us build back our families and progress in life. In lieu of that we too have institutions in our state which are doing well and can perform even better with our effort and perseverance. But not by creating disturbances at these places. We as a host (if you would like to call yourselves so) need to ensure that students who come to pursue education here are given justice in terms of quality of education, resources and hospitality.
If we call ourselves religious, let us not deny the fact educational institutions are almost equally sacrosanct, if not more. After all it is here where we learn to live, prosper and grow and respect each other. Educational institutions should not be used as a means to propagate our political agenda. Or is it because of these reasons only – “anti-national” elements try to disrupt the peace and harmony at such places. Sad!
I strongly believe that education plays an important role in shaping the future of any village, city or state for that matter. And we as a state should put in all our efforts to create institutes of world class repute. We should be very strategic in strengthening the core competencies of all these institutions be it Kashmir University, Jammu University, NIT Srinagar et al. Ours’ is a state which has the most congenial milieu and natural environment for studies. Let us have proficient schools developed for performing arts, literature, science, research, social entrepreneurship, sports (trekking, golf, skiing, etc.) and focus there. Let us contribute our bit and achieve that.Let us BUILD world class institutions.
I am not going back to the point of why there was a disturbance created in NIT Srinagar. That is so futile. It is just the Flip Side of the situation. There is certain section of people who always plays this anti-India stance every now and then. There is this other – an important side to such situations that is we need to be cautious not to fall prey to them and ensure that over the period of time, they are made to fall in love with the notion that they are very much living in India and accept that fact. I hope all the stakeholders are ears to this and will take necessary steps to achieve that. And we ensure that the sanctity of educational institutions is maintained.
And so far the Education is concerned, it can only help us learn that ‘there is much more beyond being stuck in the past’. And we should come together to make J&K prominent and proficient on the map of India.
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus)