South Asian University in New Delhi brings together students from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka into one classroom with the same syllabus and faculty.
The university offers Masters and doctoral degrees, after a lot of skepticism a cross-cultural platform was created. Times of India reported that the university is taking small steps into breaking stereotypes and bringing together young mind from different cultures together. Half the operating cost is taken care of by the university and half the student body comprises of students from India. The new graduates this year saw students from Afghanistan (21), Bangladesh (17), Nepal (11), Pakistan (5), Bhutan (5) and India (99). “It’s an ideological project — to inculcate a South Asian consciousness, strengthen cultural connections, without making much of nation-state barriers,” explains the university vice- president and dean of social sciences, Sasanka Perera to TOI.
The University is facing issues with visa’s especially from Pakistan reported TOI, this year 6 students who were accepted into the university could not get admission because they did not get the visa. In spite of all the legal issues, a Pakistani student, Hira Hashmi told TOI that, “When she was hospitalized for a liver problem, her wardmate, a woman her mother’s age, asked her why she was alone, and where her family was. When she figured out I wasn’t going back to Pakistan because of how much it would cost, she said beta, don’t worry about the money if you want to go to your family. That offer still makes me tear up. We have so much more in common with each other than with others.”
The students have international related discussions bringing forth the different perspectives on the same issues faced. It is bridging the gap and becoming more understanding.
The university will go through some ups and downs because of the Saarc compact. TOI’s report stated that there will be a meeting very soon to get funds and see how many countries will be in support of this project. Already a lot of stereotypes have been broken and will continue to do so.