T Takuangla Jamir
Hundreds of freshers have secured seats for the academic year 2015 in University of Hyderabad, one of the top universities in India. For them the tedious admission procedure is finally over and the festivities have begun. The freshers celebrations started in August and will go on till September.
While it is a tradition to welcome the fresh batch of students by organizing various events, there have been concerns about different communities preferring to have their own celebrations in a central university. When asked about this, a PG student said, “I don’t see the need for a community freshers’ celebration as it is time consuming and increases the expenditure for students and can bring differences”.
On the other hand Arjuna from Bangalore, who is taking the initiative to form a group for Kannadigas and wishes to have a separate freshers’ celebration like other communities argued, “Such community groups are formed not to encourage groupism but rather to stand as moral support and share their culture with others”.
Arunita Tiwari, a PG student who hails from Uttar Pradesh, said, “Dividing the campus on lines of communities deprives the students of the opportunity to interact with the rest of the students. It also forbids them from knowing more about other cultures and appreciating the heterogeneity that a university like ours provides”.
Professor Pushpesh Kumar from the Department of Sociology shared his perspective on community freshers’ events, “Community is both a strength wherein a sense of belonging binds people but communities have been notoriously gendered and hierarchical. Difference is all right till it does not degenerate into dominance of one group over the other; we need to celebrate difference while respecting each other. A sensible articulation of difference should be self reflective and appreciative of others”.
Medemkala, Executive member, Northeast Forum, said, “Everything that is done to make the fresher’s event is done for welcoming the newcomers into ‘the family’. It provides the perfect platform for the existing students and the freshers to get to know each other and for people who would otherwise never hang out or mingle together to socialize. Freshers are an absolute must, a compulsory rite of initiation for the neophytes”.
Many view freshers’ celebrations, both community and department wise, as a platform to share information and brief the newcomers about the guidelines besides inculcating a sense of responsibility rather than a means of creating differences. “Though we all enjoy community or department freshers, I think, if you look at it from a different perspective, it is better to have a single common freshers’ so that any sense of difference or exclusion can be avoided. After all, it’s a central university.” says Usman, a Ph.D scholar from Theatre department.
All departments and communities have started their preparations, and some communities such as Mizos, Nagas, Keralites and Department of English, Communication have already given their juniors a hearty welcome. Other communities and different schools have finalized their programmes for the month of September, making the month a festive one for everyone.