Of being different on campus

Educational institutions are supposed to be the place where we learn to value and practice equality, respect difference and celebrate diversity. However, in reality, university and college campuses seem to be far from that. New Age Youth this week asked students about their experience of dealing with difference, and the responses we have received are rather worrying.
Have you faced any form of discrimination on campus, particularly based on your religious and ethnic identities?

Adrita Roy

Adrita Roy

Age 17

Birshreshtha Noor Mohammad Public College, Peelkhana, Dhaka.

 

The question is serious. Really serious. Specially for people like me. Yes, I have already faced that type of problems. Just because I’m a Hindu. Let me point out the incidents.

When I was in school, I got highest marks in Hindu religion exam papers. Apparently, the first girl of our school and many others had a grave problem with that and they even started protesting that how in spite of being a Hindu I got more marks. Our teachers, after that, always gave me same marks as them, even less.

Then, once again, one day, an argument broke between two girls and when I came forward to stop them, one of them straightly told me that, we, ‘Hindu religious people, are always like that.’ I didn’t even answer back because what will I say when they have been taught like this their whole life? Even in social media sites, I’ve been harassed. I am afraid that someday I will have to leave my beloved country just because I’m a Hindu. Is this my fault? Is this anyone’s fault? Every religion teaches us peace, to bond with other people, not to fight with them just because they are of different religions. We really need to change this situation. We have to solve this misunderstanding. Otherwise I can only fear about what will happen in the future.

Remi Chakma

Remi Chakma

Age 20

Dhaka University

We Pahari’s, because we look differently, because of ethnic difference quite often we get treated differently even in society. It hurts the most when I experience discrimination, I get taunted on my campus, that too is the Oxford of the East — Dhaka University. Some of my own classmates would make comments that are offensive. Even some teachers. They see us as inferior to them. They assume, we all managed to enter the university not because of our merit, because of quotas. However, there are respected teachers, wonderful friends who have supported me in times of crisis.
On campus, I have encountered negative questions. They would ask, are you people deshodrohi (seditious)? Do we want to establish ‘Jumma land’? Is it true that people cannot walk freely in Chittagong Hill Tracts because of ‘Samtrashi’ activities? Online newsportal always represent us negatively. That influences the mind of our class mates. There are classmates who have absolutely no idea about CHT or our struggle or our history, yet they would comment. They think, we are from China. They would ask us, where are we from? In our own land, sharing the same class room, we are asked, where are we from implying we can’t be from this land? Bengali is not our mothertongue, however, we speak fluent Bengal, and that too make us subject to

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