The recent demand by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union to the North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST) for cancellation of the names of Chakma students who successfully cracked the entrance exam conducted by the institute, and thus, deny them admission is a direct encouragement and promotion of educational discrimination.
AAPSU may be used to employing such bullying tactics to have their way, they must realise that it has a direct bearing on the image of Arunachal Pradesh, its people and the government, which is being projected at national and international forums. Unless, the manner in which AAPSU deals with the issue is increasingly based on truth and human rights protection, the message that the world would have, would eventually be telling on the very people of Arunachal Pradesh. One cannot expect better treatment outside than the way one treats people in their native place. Ultimately, how one treats others and what one does give shape to their true identity.
“If one goes by the logic expressed by AAPSU in demanding the outright denial of admission to these legitimate Chakma students who basically hail from Mizoram, then in a country like India which is known for unity in diversity, access to education will be limited and confined to only a few sections of the society. Further, no student from Arunachal Pradesh will be able to claim and seek admission in Delhi University for example if Delhi Students’ Union starts discriminating like AAPSU,” says Vivek Chakma, the communication secretary of Chakma Students’ Union, Delhi.
On the other hand, India has been pushing for equal opportunity, universal and compulsory education for all while being gradually recognized as one of the global educational destinations. Every year, numerous international students come to India for higher education, and that in itself is a matter of pride for the whole country. In the light of this AAPSU may not be doing a favor to what they claim to stand for, that is, progress and development of the very people and students they represent.
AAPSU must start raising and pursuing issues of declining quality of education, illiteracy, lack of requisite infrastructure and human resources in schools, drug addiction and rehabilitation, qualitative development of educational institutions so that more and more talented students can compete with mainstream India especially in the civil services, IIMs and IITs. Unless, AAPSU turns to finding a truth-based and humane vision statement, they stand the risks of rebuke, mockery and losing respect and validity both inside and outside of their home turf and also tainting the reputation of the Land of the Rising Sun.
However, if AAPSU’s interests lie in garnering political mileage, it definitely is an eye opener for all. The fact of the matter is it is a serious injustice being meted out to the deserving Chakma students who are staring at blatant victimization.