NITs, institutes of national importance and pioneers in unifying students of all states throw a curveball sometimes : the very aspect of unity in diversity is sometimes threatened.
In simple terms, fitting in is hard.
A country so diverse that we have 28 different states, 7 union territories, 22 major languages, not to mention 1652 mother tongues, thousands of dialects, cliques are established almost immediately based on the state you come from and the language you speak. It is not something that is always intentional, it comes as a natural choice for many to bond over.
The 50% home state quote brings out a rather surprising feud between students of the home state and those from the other states.
South Indians often feel out of place, at least those that cannot speak Hindi, in an NIT in the north and vice versa. It is a huge culture shock, what with food, climate and language differences apalling. Stereotypes rule the roost.
NITs are institutes that stand as pillars of diversity. The state representation, although is not even, with some states pitching in a high percentage of students and some, not that much. The disparity between the successful and the unsuccessful states in the race to the IITs and NITs remains, with the top five states (Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bihar) contributing more than 80,000 of the 1.54 lakh students.
Hailing from a north eastern NIT myself, the stigma that India has for Northeast is highly stingy and that is another problem that needs to be addressed.
English speaking is one of the foremost problem out there. Most people hail from small towns and are not familiar with speaking English confidently and conversationally. The standards of the schools they come from are bad and even when they label themselves as english medium, they are rarely so.
With the one of the criteria to get a job being to have great skills when it comes to communication, this comes as a drawback. Despite having worked tooth and nail to get there they may lose out in the final stage.
Which is why a mandatory English speaking culture and club is necessary. People should be trained to learn the language and told that speaking a certain language well doesn’t guarantee a higher standard. All languages and cultures must be celebrated and appreciated. The problem of unequal representation can be combated by promoting the importance and perks of studying engineering in a celebrated institute of national importance.
NIT and the various students in it helped me see past it and celebrate the differences and a learn a lot more about differences and how to be appreciate and celebrate them.
Despite the problem stated above, the cultural barriers work as a magic too. They are a problem, true. But they are necessary in life too. To learn, to grow and face various people from all corners and aspects of life and put things in to perspective for you when it comes to learning a new culture, language and essentially, socializing.