In a special article written by the LUMS graduate, the writer mentions his ordeal in the course of his study he spent at the varsity contending that LUMS is made for the elite.
He states over the economical disparity prevalent in the varsity by writing his experience, which says:
“I was good at conventional studies. I usually topped the class by the virtue of being better able to regurgitate the information provided to us in the name of education. On the whole, I was considered a bright kid with good prospects.With this background, I came to LUMS. The first shock was bound to be that of economic disparity. The places most of us NOP scholars come from are generally egalitarian. Even if there are any economic discrepancies, you’re not made to feel them much. Here on the other hand, are the rich kids with all those airs around them though this wasn’t shocking since you are already expecting that stuff. But the gross display of their cultural capital and their monopoly over it, speaking flawless and fluent English in a particular accent, listening to a particular music, wearing those brands, indulging in what appeared to be deep philosophical conversations (without knowing an iota of what they were actually talking about) and not admitting anyone uninitiated in these ways into their circles, was what unsettled and alienated us from the beginning. ”
He also mentions: “We were the kids who grew up listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Jagjit Singh, and we were not being able to connect with anyone there without taking those fancy names of what for us were entirely exotic bands. You would notice an occasional smirk when you pronounced something wrong and God knows that in the previous 12 years of education, we were not taught to pronounce even ‘women’ correctly.”
Exceptions are always there. Also, this issue is not limited to a one particular university. Many financially underprivileged students in other places go through very similar kind of ordeals. In order to gain entry into the elite gangs, you have to become what you are not and this mostly ends up badly for the aspirants since they lack the means to sustain their charade for long and even if they arrange the finances, where are they going to get the cultural capital from? Which infact is even more necessary than the financial capital to make friends.
However, the writer stated that he did not reconcile with the situation and opted to “wrap up the system and start afresh.”
“Many others experiencing this predicament responded by adopting an existential approach, managing day to day affairs and crossing the boundary line of graduation. Very few adopted the reconstructionist line by “reconciling their tradition with modernity” since it is the hardest thing to do i.e. to find an alternative which reconciles your past with your present. I fell victim to the revolutionary line i.e. to wrap up the system and start afresh (more of an anarchist there), thereby dropping out in 2017.”
The writer frankly did not disapprove of learning new ideas and culture along with being rooted in your initial traditions.
“All I have learned is that in order to deal with the turbulence you are bound to experience in your life, it is imperative to find a method which takes you forward while keeping you rooted somewhere so that you may not lose your direction and have something to fall back on, he added.
Basically to reconcile where you’re coming from with where you find yourself in”. I owe my debt to Eqbal Ahmad, Pankaj Mishra, Naguib Mahfouz and Gabriel Garcia Marquez along with Allama Iqbal for rescuing me from where I was. They taught me, in James Baldwin’s words, “that things that tormented me most were the very things which connected me with the rest of the humanity”. My advice to anyone going through a similar experience is simple: Read!”
Originally Published: https://nayadaur.tv/2019/11/i-felt-alienated-at-lums-because-of-my-non-elite-background/?fbclid=IwAR0KragJDWINU9jAtOrARUzZ3swvSkK79erMVvtCKkTTmfO9Ja5H5Ie7buE