The group discussion organised by The Hindu Education Plus probed into the area of regionalism with focus on the recent attack on the students from Bihar in Mumbai
The first year engineering students of Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering, Visakhapatnam, strongly held on to the catch phrase ‘I love my India’. ‘Indianness’ flowed freely, all through the one-hour group discussion session that was organised by The Hindu Education Plus at the college.
The 19-member student group, led by faculty member Rajaratnam, actively participated in the group discussion that probed into the area of regionalism, with focus on the recent attack on the students from Bihar who had gone to Mumbai to participate in the Railway Recruitment Board examination, by the activists of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
The students unanimously felt that such incidents would further fragment the country.
A student voiced that India is a secular and democratic country and the thought that ‘We are Indian first’ should dominate the thought process.
A couple of them felt that the regional feeling would diminish the economic development and holistic growth of the country. A few of them were of the opinion that politicians should concentrate on much graver issues like unemployment and poverty, rather than inciting the masses on such issues.
Quoting the example of United States, a student pointed out that there are two citizenships (State and US) in that country, whereas in India there is only one, and he or she is regarded as an Indian, rather than a person from Andhra Pradesh or West Bengal or Bihar.
They opined that politicians heave such ‘narrow minded’ concerns only to incite the masses and make good of the vote banks. Together, the students believed that India is one integrated country, with diverse cultures, and its unity lie in diversity.
They felt that the regional feeling is an individual perception and it should not be brought to the masses.
A student pointed out, ‘Today, the issue is on Railway jobs, tomorrow someone will raise the matter that students from another State cannot participate in education programmes in another State.
A college, university or any education institution for that matter, is no one’s property and such ideas do not hold water. And in the era of globalisation, such concepts will only do harm to the country”.
Cutting across sections and barriers, the students expressed that the system of reservation or the quota scheme is the root cause for such ill feelings.
At one go, they suggested that the system should be removed to strike uniformity across caste and religious sentiments.
A few students also proposed that the government should think of developing villages and other smaller towns to stop the flow of migration.
To stem the flow of such feelings, the students put forward that the government should tighten the rules and the law mechanism and the media should play a more objective and influencing role.
One of them suggested that on the individual front one could always exercise the power of franchise and not vote for such parties or individuals who advocate such causes.
Drawing inferences from the struggle for independence, a couple of them recommended that, “Like-minded people, educated youth and intellectuals within the state or city should vehemently denounce such activities, stage non-violent protests and try to influence the thought process of the masses”.
The students who participated were A. Sireesha, N. Siddhartha, A. Pavan Avadesh, Ch. V.V.S. Venkateswarlu, B.L. Subhadra, T. Sravya Moulika, D.T.V. Sai Sarat, S. Mahesh Naidu, Syed Zoher, G. Satvik, K. Abhinav, M. Hemima, P. Niharika, Anirudh Pullela, Vimal Krishna, Bhawana Mishra, Valencia Reginald, P.V. Ravikanth and S. Spurthika.