The fact that he doesn’t speak very fluent English or Hindi has not deterred him from contesting the student polls at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Akhmetbekov Zhassulan, a Kazakh and a post graduate student of Economics at the university, is the first foreign student to run for the post of president of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU).
Zhassulan, who will require the help of his translator-cum-classmate Naveen to campaign, wants to bring the problems of foreign students to the fore.
“The language barrier at JNU is huge, especially for students who don’t know Hindi. A student of Sanskrit from Belarus was forced to leave within a few months of joining as the teachers only explained things in Hindi,” Zhassulan said.
He also plans to focus on the issue of inadequate housing.
“Hostels are extremely important for all students but for international students in particular as they don’t understand the language or the culture. I know I may not be the favourite to win the election but I promise to highlight these very pertinent issues,” he said.
Zhassulan is an independent candidate and will campaign with the help of Naveen, who isn’t associated with any political party at the university.
Zhassulan’s agenda is to bring the voices of foreign students to the fore in a milieu where national issues matter as much as local issues on campus.