It is with a heavy heart we at Jamia Journal bid farewell to four of our five outstanding staff writers; namely, Arko Dasgupta, Aarif Khan, Samreen Mushtaq, and R. Nithya. All four have graduated from Jamia this year and have moved on to do better things.
Arko completed his Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies and is now a Research Assistant at IDSA. Aarif completed his engineering and has been offered a job at Tata Consultancy Services. Samreen got her Masters in Political Science and went on to join JNU’s MPhil program in the Center for Political Studies, and last but not least, Nithya too got her Masters in Political Science and is now working as a journalist for an online political news magazine. And it comes as no surprise to us that they’re all doing so well in their respective fields for they were among the best Jamia had the good fortune of calling their students in the past few years.
Without their involvement, Jamia Journal could not have attained the respect and high position it holds today in Jamia. Their contribution to Jamia Journal is invaluable and unmeasurable. Jamia Journal will forever be grateful to them.
Thank you Aarif; Thank you Nithya; Thank you Arko; Thank you Samreen. Thank you for your undiminishing sense of commitment and service to the Journal, and above all, thank you for your love and friendship.
Good luck on your future endeavors, we are certain you all have a brilliant future ahead of you. Jamia Journal and Jamia will miss you all dearly.
The four of them were kind enough to write a final goodbye message for us. We publish them below:
Muhammed Aarif Khan:
I still remember scrolling the list of admitted candidates, sometimes multiple times a day just to confirm if my name was still on the rolls, as I today, four years later, begin this short memoir, having gained a little more knowledge and a lot more weight.
I first stepped in Jamia the day I sat to face an interview admission panel, my determination to be admitted fuelled most by the biryani I’d just had in the canteen. And by some miracle, a week later, I stood at the green coloured gates, comparable to the Rumi Darwaza, about to have my illusions of engineering garnered from films and media, thoroughly shattered. Or so I felt, as I sat in my social science class, wondering if I’m in the same academic programme I signed up for while other classes put the ‘dying’ in studying.
Then life went along, and I settled in, soon learning to find my way through the honeycomb of red-brick houses of Okhla. College became more about exploring local cuisines, while Tuesdays were reserved for movies, taken care of by Vodafone’s weekly offer. Semesters passed by sooner than I realised and I, unburdened with a light schedule and with Friday providing an extended weekend, couldn’t complain. My first-year was mostly about discovering the various canteens, hang-outs; a time when visiting the community centre required a day’s advance planning.
The next year, I chanced upon a half-torn poster about a student newspaper and a quick glance at its portal convinced me that it was all that I’d been looking for. Today I realise, that Jamia Journal was the best thing that happened to me. As an independent entity, it provided me an insight on how student initiatives are run and working with a team of accomplished students, I understood what passion is all about.
Being admitted to Jamia is easier, compared to securing a place in the university hostels. After tasting rejection twice, the provost office must’ve pitied me, for I emerged victorious the third time and my saga of habitual late-coming to class thus commenced. A friend once summed up engineering as ‘a course designed to make you realise what you should’ve done in life’. Whatever the truth be, it sure is fun in its own way. After having given more exams in a sleep-deprived state than I care to remember, following nights of cramming up data to saturation, I now recognize the topper’s handwriting better than my own. The viva-voces were another story altogether and I’m just glad karma didn’t make the examiner’s phone ring midway with Eminem’s, ‘I love the way you lie’ during any of them.
This year brought my last semester and I, determined to make it more about memories than images, could barely acknowledge it as it passed by in a blur of activities and events. The last few days were tough, and goodbyes even more so. But I know I take away friendships which shall outlive all else, and I’m honoured to have been a part of the university’s historic legacy. And especially, Jamia Journal, which I’ll remember with pride.
Goodbye Jamia. We had a good run, you and I.
When we are at the end of something, we realize how quickly time flies. Even though I remember how I got admission at Jamia, or how excited I was on my first day of class, or how anxious I was during the first exam, and even the first classmate I spoke to, there is no denying that my two years at Jamia have come to a close.
I came to Jamia as a 21-year-old confident girl who wanted to give herself two years of her life to explore whatever possibilities that would come her way. But ignorance told me that Jamia was a hopeless place until experience said otherwise. At Jamia, I have talked to more people than I had during my three years of under-graduation at Delhi University. At Jamia, I found a form of secularism that I had not seen anywhere in Delhi. This kind of secularism was about friendships over cup of tea between people from different faiths, and those who did not have any; about discussions on what one did on Eid and Diwali; about what Ramzan and Navratra were all about; and most of all, that kind of secularism that puts people in the front seat, and religion in the back. At Jamia, I found little and big moments of success and joy that I never thought could happen to me. Today I leave this place as a 23-year-old, far more mature than I was two years ago.
When I joined Jamia, Jamia Journal was the first thing that excited me. I had never heard about it before, but when I did, I wanted to write for it. I still remember my first story for JJ — “Scoreboard of Life and Death.” Now that I look back, I find that piece so immaturely written. But luckily things were in my favour back then, and I happened to get the role of a staff reporter at JJ.
Being a staff reporter for two years made me feel that I have done something worthwhile during my time at college. I got to sit through seminars that otherwise would have bored me. I got to remember names and ideas of speakers I had never heard of before. I got to learn how to structure the first paragraph in reportage. I got to learn how a bad picture ruins a good story. I also got enough of the editor telling me that the reader will never read my mind, so I should write more comprehensively. I got to learn the difference between the right word and the almost word, and the difference it would make in a story.
To be precise, JJ made me a better writer. I wrote reports, opinions, book reviews and stories I never thought I could have put words into. I enjoyed writing for JJ, and I thank all readers for reading my words over the past two years. It was a privilege working as a staff reporter for JJ, for it made me see the better writer inside me. As I now leave Jamia Journal, I feel complete in my quest for possibilities when I joined Jamia. It is a bittersweet moment in my life, for I want to move on and find a career in the real world, yet there is something that makes me want to stay on-board at JJ. Because I have lived half of my college life at Jamia through JJ. It was my harbour for freedom of speech.
As I leave Jamia and Jamia Journal, I leave with immense knowledge on Indian politics, a couplet of Iqbal I learnt from a friend, and the AP style guide for reporters bookmarked on my browser. It is hard to say goodbye because when we are at the end of something, we realize how much we want it to begin again.
Jamia Millia Islamia- The name that has come so close to heart, is so special to memory and so much like a home away from home! Never had I thought parting from a place where you’ve spent just two years, out of over twenty years of your life, would be so hard. Bidding adieu to it seems like the toughest thing to do. My heart lies somewhere in those ‘silent conversations’ of the initial days, somewhere in those ‘huddles’ outside the canteen, somewhere in those lush green lawns, somewhere in those noisy corridors, somewhere in those serious classes. Somewhere there’s a sense of gratefulness for people who became friends, for teachers who became mentors. Somewhere the place lives in me…Somewhere I lose myself to the sense of calm and belongingness it has instilled in me over time. How do I say goodbye to this place that has taken my heart away?
As I prepare to walk away, I know I am not leaving empty handed. I have learnt some of the best lessons of my life here. I have found people I can always look up to, people I can depend on. Those arguments with classmates that I thought would make me hate them actually made me learn to be tolerant. I did see the same people stand by me on many occasions. Those lectures from the teachers that I thought were meant to let me down actually became an inspiration. I do realise how the same words came back to lift my spirits at times when I was too low on confidence. How can I not miss all that I collected into my basket of memories? How can I leave with any bitter memories?
Here I am, at home, far away from Jamia, and writing this piece as my farewell to Jamia Journal. Do I want to leave it? O no, trust me, I don’t want to. But then, this is how things work. Jamia Journal has always been like a friend to me. I say friend, because it has been there to listen to me when I didn’t want to speak out things. My dreams, my anger, my fear, my upsets, and my hopes- it has carried them all. My window to my own world at Jamia it has been! Most of the times, I’d tell the editor I’d writer’s block, which obviously was a perfect substitute to hide my laziness. And JJ would somehow bring me out of it. (Deadlines do that of course). So JJ has been the kind of friend that listens to you as you talk of your hopes and fears, set goals and broken dreams and also pushes you to do something you otherwise wouldn’t, not because you can’t do it but because you are too lazy to.
JAMIA JOURNAL HAS GROWN WITH TIME; I HAVE GROWN WITH IT. How can I not be grateful to it?
Sometimes I feel like time rushed away too quickly. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I came with my bag of fears and some hope too, wondering how this place would accept me, worrying if at all it would? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I penned down my first piece for Jamia Journal? And today, I am done with four semesters and writing ‘farewell’. Yet everything is so deeply engrained to memory.
No doubt, there’s certain insecurity about where to go on from here. Lots of questions about future arise in my mind and are left unanswered. Lots of fears creep in- the major one being the fear of not coming upto expectations. But there’s hope too. And don’t they say, future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams! Jamia has made me believe, it has made me dream, it has been ‘the palace of my dreams’. How could someone not fall in love with this place? I certainly have!
Dayaar-e-shouq mera… Shehr-e-aarzoo mera…
( This is the land of my hopes… This is the land of my dreams…)
Adios Jamia Journal, Adios Jamia!
Ostensibly Jamia Millia may not have an intellectual environment worth boasting about, but I was fortunate to come into contact with a few bright contemporaries who, from time to time, managed to keep me on my toes, and castigate me when I got things wrong, both inside and outside the classroom. I was also lucky for some of the academic staff in my centre (the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution) were not only great academics but also very encouraging towards students.
Seldom was I hungry on campus! Grub served at the many eateries and food-kiosks is surely worth bragging about. The places in and around the university, too, serve well those committed to good oily food. The pretty university campus together with the amiable academic staff (in my experience) make student life here interesting even if out-of-class activities seem nonexistent although this could be put down to my having come here as a student in a postgraduate programme (or so I was told).
With my time here done, I can confidently say that studying at a central university has been a worthwhile experience. I shall, among other things, fondly remember engaging in some very stimulating discussions outside the classroom with a particular professor. My programme here exposed me to things I hadn’t even heard of and I was inspired to rummage through the library to learn more. I may not cherish every bit of my time spent on campus but I will surely hold dear one of the things being a student here brought me: associate editorship of the university journal.