by Iram Khan, LLM
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream…” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ( American Spiritual and Civil Rights Leader)
South Asian University is a grand idea to bring together South Asians as a unified force on the world panorama. We, South Asians share so much in common: our aspirations as well as our challenges. The nature of conflicts between us is merely an artificial creation of politics. Despite of some disagreements and differences, the voice of every South Asian is unanimous for when it comes to issues of peace, brotherhood, development and mutual co- existence.
The biggest role that South Asian University will play in the near future would be that it will be the breeding ground for ‘The GLORIOUS REVOLUTION Of South Asia.’I dream of the confederation of South Asia, where we will have single currency, no requirement of passport and will dwell in a borderless regime, possibly under a same constitution. These all notions may sound utopian today, but I have a firm belief in the prospects of South Asian University and SAU will go on to achieve greater things.
We are at crossroads where education has a very big role to decide our destinies. Education makes the whole gamut of different ideas, attitudes, values and opinions possible in the society. Recognizing the role of education in the changed paradigm, the governments of SAARC nations agreed for the establishment of SAU.Because only when we have created young people freed from fears, prejudices and inhibitions, we shall be able to open to them the world of knowledge, freely and completely, without dark hidden corners thus paving out the way for a different world order based on mutual harmony.
My faith in SAU has its origin to the people of other SAARC nations that I have met and to the events that I have witnessed here.All the students of SAU have a universal concern for South Asia irrespective of their nationalities. Everyone of us here easily co relate to each other. The atmosphere in the classes is so healthy and progressive that we get enlightened on a daily basis. The place where I sit in the class I have a friend from Pakistan sitting to my left, and a friend from Bangladesh sitting to my right. My other friends from Sri- Lanka, Afghanistan and even one from Eretria are sitting close by. We interact, discuss and debate every issue under the sky, and it always turns out a fruitful and worthwhile activity. And all this has become a reality because of SAU.There are certain events in our lives that change our lives forever, and I experienced one such event at the time of joint celebrations of Independence Day of Pakistan and India on 14th-15th August 2012. That day I discovered that all of us sang ‘Dil- dil- Pakistan’ with the same passion with which we sang ‘Sare Jahan se achcha Hindustan hamara’. It was truly a historical moment in the history of South Asia!When SAU can make this seemingly impossible thing of making not too very friendly countries celebrate their Independence Day together, I think it has the potential of making greater wonders see the light of the day.
Nelson Mandela once exclaimed, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education has the strength to change the design of the world.This whole concept of oneness among South Asians can only be perpetuated by the help of education, and so we have SAU acting as a bridge among SAARC nations. The goal of SAUis to prepareyouth who can take up the leadership of South Asia, to enlighten the collective conscience and to make responsible individuals by helping them and motivating them to put into practice values, which build a holistic approach to society, and making the youth to lay foundation of a new South Asia. SAU will have the privilege of hoisting the flags of all eight SAARC nations and representing them in the truest possible sense, for it is the abode of intellectuals and scholars of South Asia. SAU is going through an evolutionary phase, there are some problems here but a lot depend on our attitude whether we treat these crisis as obstacles or as milestones; whether we choose to become complainants or reformers. And I think each of the student here will choose the latter.
A Sanskrit Sholka goes like, “Rivers themselves do not drink of the water they carry, trees do not eat of the fruits they bear, clouds too do not eat of the rains they produce, for the riches of the good are utilised for the welfare of others.” The by-product of this innovative experiment called South Asian University will be of this kind only, giving out themselves for the service of entire South Asia. Undoubtedly, South Asian University will always serve as a lighthouse for all those who believe in the gospel of free enquiry and reason.
In conclusion I quote Thomas Jefferson, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”