Abdul Pervez Khan was raised in West Champaran, Bihar. New Jersey, US, is the home of Marina Yaoon. Both are among thousands of youngsters who are tapping a plethora of academic and career enhancement avenues available in Delhi thanks to its fast-growing status as a vibrant educational destination.
23-year-old Pervez, who is pursuing an MA in Dalit and Minority Studies at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, says: “In Champaran, you can do your graduation, but it offers very little beyond it. This city has endless possibilities.” Pervez also talks of caste discrimination and lack of healthcare in his hometown. “What I learn here, I will give back. I hope to change the situation back home,” he says.
Pervez’s dreams articulate the aspirations of thousands like him who are drawn to the Capital due to its seats of higher education such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Delhi College of Engineering, as well as numerous other private and public institutions.
While Pervez’s decision to come to Delhi was a deliberate one, sheer chance played a role in bringing Marina Yaoon to St Stephen’s. Marina is here for a BA programme as part of a six-month Student Exchange initiative organised by her alma mater, the Rutgers University of New Jersey. What does she like most about the stint here? “Delhi is an exciting potpourri of cultures and languages, very similar to New York City, that is quite close to my state, New Jersey,” says Marina. “People have really welcomed me warmly,” she adds.
Sameena Hasan Siddiqui, an Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Comparitive Religion at Jamia Millia Islamia, points out, that the availability of the latest trends, frequent visits by senior professors, opportunities for cutting-edge research and the frequent interaction between students and the faculty are among Delhi’s biggest advantages. Confirming Delhi’s growing profile as an education hub, Tanuja Aggarwal, Deputy Dean for Foreign Students, DU, said, in recent years, the institution has received an increasing number of admissions as well as enquiries from foreign students. She attributed this to DU's USP as a reputed centre of high quality yet low-cost education.
Jyoti Jayprakash, a student of Art and Aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, said, “Today’s youth are not just conscious about the brand they wear, but also about the institution they go to,” she says. “I’m here for the JNU tag and the love for my subject. I also love Delhi and its rich, varied mix of different cultures. I strongly believe that one can realise his or her dreams here,” she added, implying that the twain that was referred to by Kipling in The Ballad of East and West may, after all, meet in this city.