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When it comes to meeting new people here at the campus........

The best minds of the country...all in one place, well, thats IISc. Or, at least, thats what its supposed to be. Now one would assume that the best minds would be free of prejudices and would always like to explore new stuff, experience new things, get to know new people........well, u get the hang of it. What I mean is that they would not be confined to their cocoons and would always be willing to explore. But, over here, only few people fall into this category.

Every new student comes here with lots of hopes......of making good friends. But, if you happen to be a non-bengali in the chemistry department, you are doomed. Because, you have to first learn bangla before you can even hope to make friends in your department where 90 percent are bengalis. Coz, if you don't, then chances of your being included in any of their conversations are very low. They will continue to talk in bangla, and then you'd wonder why you ever sat there.

This is not meant to be a dig at the bengalis. I have noticed this in several other communities as well.

One of my friends was the only telugu of her batch in the aerospace engineering department where 90% were tamilians. She faced the same problem of having to sit with them throughout the day but not participating in the conversation, as they would not speak in anything other than tamil.

I could say the same about many other communities here, like the marathis, the telugus, the malayalis, and many more.

Now, it doesn't take much to have a consideration for that other person sitting with you who does not understand your language. It's just a matter of attitude. If you have the right attitude, you can always meet with other people and talk to them. Otherwise, there is no difference in your staying in a national institute- where there is a positive chance of getting to know other cultures- when you'd anyway prefer to be only with your own state people.

Fortunately for me, I have got good friends here who are mostly bengalis (coz, i happen to be one of the few non-bengalis of my dept), but belong to that category of people who come here without any prejudices.

Anyways, I guess my rant should stop here!!! Because people here are basically nice, just that they don't want to come out of their comfort zone. If they make just a little effort they can explore an entire world of different cultures, which is in fact quite fun to do.



  1. hi... while u r right about it from a third person perspective... i want to share the way the do-er feels. sometimes we are so comfortable with our languages, that we don't realise when we have switched into and out of them. i have married inter-caste and one would think my side of the family would consider their son-in-law while dining together at the table but my dad just goes on and on in my mother tongue leaving my poor husband out in the cold. i know he doesn't mean to be..."exclusive"... just that he never realises when he switches to our mother tongue from our common tongue... so maybe your buddies are going through it too... just the other side of the coin.

  2. ya, u r right. i didn't look at this aspect.

  3. Its a good article. However, miss one "specific" point. That is the inherent caste based prejudices within the students. I feel the Bengali's in IISc Campus are far more matured or liberal than the rest, particularly south Indians (Kannadiga/Telugu/Tamils in that order). (I m not a Bengali :)

    I feel, that's the barrier for others to mix up with Bengali's in addition to language. (If one can check "A" mess, they can understand who has the problem). It will be shocking to see majority of "IISc students or future scientists" have a shallow idea about the society or culture. However, its expected as they come mostly from "biased" backgrounds.

    Interestingly, most inter-state (& inter-caste) marriages in IISc has happened between Tamils and Bengalis, Tamils and Marathi's. (Specifically, they are from B-mess/C-mess!!!...I guess people can understand what I mean)

    In India, one can't expect an expert in science or engineering to be matured in the social understanding or humanities, also...Rather, they are sometimes worst than an illiterate !!!!

  4. @ above...
    I don't mean to degrade any community. These are just some examples I've given, that I've seen. Actually, this kind of attitude is prevalent in almost every community. Its great that there is a Spandan, a Marathi Mandal, a Tamil Peravai, and the like for almost every community in the campus. But, I think people should mix with others as well, not restrict themselves to friends from just these communities.

    And also, I don't want to compare any community and grade as to which is better or worse.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Well. Thats the point "people" should mix with others as well. That has to start from "us", rather than expecting "others" to change.

    One of my friend went to France and complained that they were talking in "French", so its difficult to mix with them. Same story for another one in Germany "They are talking in German!!!"

    Even there is a common illusion, I found with few north Indian's is that "Hindi" is assumed as a National language. But there is no term called "National Language" in the Constitution of India. (Maharashtra is considered as South India according to Thackeray ;)

    what I mean to say is that why one should not learn few words in "Bangla" to mix very closely with Bengalis, if they are 90% in the Dept or learn "Tamil" to mix with Tamils if they are 90%. (I heard Telugu is not much different from Tamil) It will be a matter of few weeks. But will be helpful at any time of the life.

    All the best, nice to discuss this "interesting" topic !!!

  7. @ above:

    You are absolutely right. It's always good to learn new languages. I can now understand almost every bit of bangla that my friends speak and I've been trying to speak a few sentences as well. It's really great when you learn a new language. But, frankly speaking, the effort should come from both sides, and that does not happen very often.

  8. That's cool. Well, that depends on the interest and the need of a person. Some (non-native speakers) learn French for its literature and some may learn "C","C++" or "JAVA" for benefits in "dollars", without any compulsion ;)

    Anyway, Your flow in the writing is nice !.


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