July - September 2001
Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India
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Professional Studies & Parental Duties
by P. N. Wali
While we have been more than pleased with the reservation of seats for Kashmiri migrants by the Maharashtra government now running into the seventh year, the progress made by these students in the assigned professional colleges has been a matter of great concern. We have come across many cases where the students who could not clear their papers at the first attempt. ATKT (Allowed To Keep Terms) have been prevalent in large numbers. Some have even lost a year or so in the process. Why is this happening?
There can be many explanations, one being that the average standard of these students (as indicated by their marks in the qualifying examination) is often lower than the local students studying side by side with them. This places them at a disadvantage in the class and inferiority syndrome leads into lack of attention and effort. I had always believed that we as a community are better mentally endowed - and perhaps the lower marks at the qualifying examination are more often due to the different system of assessment followed at Jammu and other places. Our benign intelligence should hold sway. And in many cases it has. Some of our boys and girls have outshone the locals. But why not the rest. We may have to look for some other reasons.
A feeling has been that many of the boys and girls got a new found freedom for the first time in their life. They did not know how to cope with this freedom. They overdo the exhibition of this freedom and undermine their studies. A liberal money remittance from their homes further make their heads to roll in all directions save the studies. Unfortunately it has further been exaggerated by such boys forming a community while living at one place (often other than the Hostel). In a recent case I found the students living as paying guests in one colony having ganged up together were generally not attending their classes at all. They were indulging in recreation right upto water parks but not finding time to attend regular classes.
Kashmiri Pandits' Association in the last few years even had to interfere for these boys who had grossly misbehaved in the college hostel, very kindly being given to them on sympathetic grounds. In one incident it was reported that not only the local boys were being harassed by them but even the Principal had been beaten up. In another case the Hostel window was broken in at night and the watchman locked in. This hostel has stopped admitting Kashmiri students now.
Do the parents of these boys and girls know what is happening? Do they once in a while find what have been their actual results at the examination other than that reported by them to their parents? Whether their wards are really attending their colleges? I think every parent has a duty in this regard.
To my local members I would
say that convey to any parent whom they know, to check the behaviour and
results of their wards once in a while so that they are on a set course.
Otherwise the very boon of reservation may turn into a curse for atleast