Birthdays are always exciting; all the more for students. College life cannot be full without birthday parties. Today I went to a birthday celebration in a popular hangout in BHU campus, Varanasi. All students gathered one after another and were eagerly waiting to have the cake cut. As we were waiting for one more student to join us we were alarmed to see a group of students who were walking towards us. I got afraid and thought to myself if they were coming to attack us telling that cake does not belong to our native culture and we are to be hanged! I was wondering if DJ night incident will repeat with IIT students. Certain friends were murmuring that these students look like the inmates of Birla hostel who according to them were responsible for all turmoil in BHU & IIT.
All of us gave a sigh of relief as we noted that they were not walking towards us nor were they to harm us. But we could see an unwelcomed visitor in our midst. She inquired when the cake would be cut and she needs some. As I closely gazed at her I found that she has not clothed well and seemed to be a minor. As she started begging to a passerby, I could understand that she was a beggar. My interaction with her revealed that she stays with her mother and 3 siblings in a nearby place. She replied in negative for my question if she goes to school. She continued that she would continue begging as long as she lives. It was time for us to cut the cake; and two more similar children came. Others much younger to her and were selling balloons.
This was not the first time I see kids begging in BHU and IIT. It is like being in deep water for BHU when it comes to restrict general public into BHU . People from nearby villages come to collect grass, BHU main roads are used to commute by the settlers who stay in and around BHU. Also BHU attracts pilgrims to its Vishwanath temple. Though restricting general public may be difficult in the present scenario I think strong measures has to be taken to counter begging inside BHU campus or any campus for that matter.
Begging inside a campus that promotes knowledge is an oxymoron. University is a place where ideas are supposed to be generated, issues in the mainstream universe gets solved and progress of the universe is visualized. Presence of such social evil in such institutions would tarnish the sanctity of the institution and the very purpose of education. We are kept in dark as to these children are encouraged to beg due to the predicament of the family or are remain as the victims of child trafficking racket. University has to take up a project wherein these children are properly studied and measures being taken to ensure their education and minimum support mechanism for the dependents if any. Leaving such children as they are is costly. We are encouraging a generation of beggars. On the other hand we may also be indirectly opening avenues for theft.
Why is it that a temple of knowledge is not affected by children begging in its own institution? Why universities to which the nation look for solutions harbor such evil in themselves? Are universities becoming hypocritical? Is our education system being reduced to skill development and employers producing machines which has nothing to do with the deeper questions of the society? Can some BHU students join together and voice to the administration and bring shine in the face of the ones who beg?
Birthday girl cut the cake; Friends enjoyed. Will this birthday and this encounter with child beggars open our eyes and encourage us to do something so that these begging children can celebrate their birthday with dignity?
“If winter comes can spring be far away?” said Shelly in “Ode to the West Wind”. We are about to enter February. We are approaching the season where juniors bid farewell to their seniors. In Varanasi the placed IITians has already started the bash. Among the outgoing students there may be some lucky ones who are placed in good companies and have their future secure. No wonder their class mates watch them with jealousy as they are less tensed and care less about their academics and are day dreaming the day they leave IIT to get into a new phase of life.
It was exciting to be a part of a party organized by some placed IITians belonging to IIT-BHU. I am proud that my wards are placed! I am so happy that they were mindful to invite their mentors and their juniors to celebrate their placement. Juniors were not slow to revenge their seniors who once asked them to give their intro and do certain activities. It was expressed by way of quizzing their seniors about their experience, placements, future dreams and so on.
Taste buds near Bhelupura, Varanasi was the place these placed IIT-BHU students chose for their dinner party. Even before the dinner arrived to please the taste buds, hearts of juniors were well treated through the nice words from their seniors. All seniors started sharing their experiences and advices one after another.
The senior who spoke first encouraged others to give their best and not do the things for name sake. He also mentioned how many IITians do not whole heartedly involve in different things; be it studies or event management, or being part of any fest. He encouraged the juniors to involve with their heart and mind. And he also said that their four years stay in an IIT should not be just academics or movies but he encouraged his juniors to explore oneself. Four years of time is a good beginning in ones journey towards self discovery. Avenues are plenty for IITians. He encouraged them to be bold enough and knock for opportunities in new avenues rather than settling in the traditional or routine ones.
The another senior wanted to encourage his juniors to get into core jobs rather than being placed in software companies. He also said that people would be looking at others based on their money, position or placement; but one has to live for oneself which will ultimately give contentment and satisfaction. He also stressed the importance of being part of a spiritual reflection group. In a time when spirituality is either marketed or kicked out irrelevant he stressed how a Bible study group helped him to get focused and not get distracted. He said being a part of the spiritual think thank where scripture is discussed and meditated also helped him to get encouragement when he was at his lowest ebb.
Juniors also did not stop to cease their opportunity to comment about the seniors. One said that their senior was so lazy. He recollected how his senior missed class as he slept off. Another recollected how he played cricket with his senior. Yet another was remembering how his senior used to visit him in his hostel, update about his well being and encourage him. Yet another junior found it apt to hint at the dominating and demanding nature of his senior. Yet another recollected how his senior introduced him to a spiritual think thank which in turn benefited him. Even as the sharing got over all got into peth pooja and nice selfies!