by Deepak Kumar
It was last winter of 2016; I decided to be part of Tata Institute of Social sciences (TISS), Mumbai. I had never heard about it so far in my entire life. I appeared for the entrance exam, cleared it. I proceeded further for my interview and later on, I got selected out of a pool of competing students in India.
The experience so far was amazing, filled with excitement at all levels. The excitement became challenge once I came to the financial capital of India (Mumbai) from the Capital city of India (Delhi). The first challenge was to search for an accommodation, as TISS is a small campus and doesn’t provide hostel rooms to all students. It became too challenging to survive especially in the month of July. As this month is known for a rainy season, both in India in general and particularly in Western India, i.e. Mumbai. Somehow I managed, with some of my friends in Mumbai. Later on, I got a temporary hostel by paying, which later converted into a distant hostel dream for me; away from the main campus of TISS.
The second challenge was to adapt the cultural differences, going from Delhi to Mumbai which was fast, monotonous, independent and less friendly in nature. It was this time only when I juggled a lot with my studies. It was raining continuously day and night, morning till evening. It was hard to concentrate on my studies. But something happened in my career, where I made my mind to carry my hobby of writing poems in my mother tongue, Hindi usually, and occasionally in English, to full-time on every Sunday. That is why I named it “SUNDAY Poem”. Sometimes people in the campus loved it and sometimes I was criticized too.
The third challenge was to survive financially in this campus away from my home. Sadly this year onward, TISS has stopped giving non-net fellowships to M. Phil scholars. But I remembered my orientation days, where professors told about the Research Assistance (RA) plan of TISS to support one financially. It was a challenge for me to meet different department’s professors and ask for work to support myself. It took me the next six months until I got some work to do in the campus. It was this time only, when I became part of the literary club of TISS under Literary Society of Student Union in the campus. My work progressed along with my studies and with a literature festival. I dreampt of having a literature festival at the TISS campus as an independent festival. I toiled a lot with the campus, but met and brought together the first TISS Literature Festival in its history so far as a successful event. This part of my student life became a successful event to engage with national and international students on campus. It is this time when I met some of Critical Edge students from Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark. It was this time I decided that I will write something for this bridging plan of both universities. The engagement with students became friendly. I also taught yoga to fellow students in TISS in absence of our yoga teacher in the campus. This gave me good opportunity to engage with students independently.
Reflection on Society
Tata institute of Social Sciences (TISS) is known for its social impetus not only in India but also abroad and works closely in association with World Bank, and the United Nations, has projects directly and indirectly funded by them. This reflects the name of the institution not only in India but abroad also alike. This university is known for going beyond the campus to field work in remote parts of different regions of India, be it south or north, east or west. This is why this institute is known as “the best social institution in India”. This institute not only helps student learn theoretically, but also gives students opportunities to engage at the ground level with best of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Government Organizations, the private sector, etc. The practice of the institute is reflected in the society, the values of the constitution, and its social practices in the day-to-day life of the society.
About the Author
I am Deepak Kumar, a M.Phil research scholar in Development Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. I will be part of the Indian Institute of Management Udaipur (IIM-U) and Duke SANFORD School of Public policy USA’s summer School for future leadership in Development. I was part of the International Summer School (ISS) in New Delhi in 2015 batch. I represented India in this summer school where 20 nation’s students were part of it. I have presented 9 seminar papers so far in different parts of India in different Central government universities, institutions, etc. My research areas are Public Policy, Public Service delivery, Governance, Water and Sanitation issues, International Relation, Development issues and Social Welfare.