Dreams and Hopes related to South Asian University

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.”


One comment

  1. Iram,
    thanks for writing the beautiful article here as it might have reached few ppl and may be some/few dreams and hopes u have from university matches with one or another..

    “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
    loved the article and your thoughts and hopes regarding the university..

    i too believe that education can bring revolution within us and within our sorroundings,
    though i personally feel the common boundary between countries may not be possible, especially not digested in the region where we argue on the basis of ethnicity and linguistic…
    but if education is widely spreaded, some or other day, we will surely have this dream fulfilled…


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