I RECENTLY completed my graduation from Government College University Lahore in philosophy and applied to the Punjab University Lahore for M.Phil.
I was selected after a tough competition in the department of philosophy. Hailing from South Waziristan Agency (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) the Mahsud tribe, I had no accommodation in Lahore and applied for a room in the university hostel.
After a fortnight I was allotted a room in Sir Syed International Boys Hostel No 2.
When I visited the hostel, I was told that my documents were being processed and another two weeks passed. During this time I lived in a private hostel and found it difficult to concentrate on my academics as this place was far from the university and expensive as well.
After another two weeks when I asked the hostel superintendent about my room, I was told that I would not get a room because I belonged to South Waziristan Agency, Fata and the international students residing there may feel insecure because of my presence in the hostel. As an M.Phil student I am at a loss to understand the administration’s logic.
Campuses are supposed to be places where people from diverse backgrounds come and understand each other. In this way they develop a room for imbibing diversity in themselves and are in a better position to later serve in society.
Disallowing people from different backgrounds to come close to each other is promoting and reinforcing stereotypes about each other. This should not be the essence of any educational institution.
Unfortunately in our universities, the participatory culture is not applied so that students from diverse backgrounds can understand each other. This practise becomes all the more alarming when it becomes the policy of an institution of higher learning to segregate students which happened in my case. These practices reflect adversely on our society.
Rafi ud din Mahsud
South Waziristan Agency, Fata
Published in Dawn, November 30th , 2014