Mangaluru: Students’ Experience In Inter-State Living (SEIL) organised a cultural exchange programme as part of it’s national Integration Tour – 2015 at the C V Nayak Hall, Bunts Hostel here on 15th January.
The programme began with a prayer song. Hitesh Bekal, convenor of the programme, welcomed the gathering. The guests for the programme were Dr Udaya Kumar (Dean-Students Welfare, NITK Surathkal), Shreehari Borikar (All India General Secretary ABVP), Ravi Kumar (Regional Organising Secretary ABVP), Delegates Co-ordinators from Northeast India Phonem Ketniya, Onyak Jija and Vishal Katinath.
The programme was inaugurated by Shreehari Borikar along with other guests on the dais by lighting a traditional lamp. Addressing the gathering Chief guest Shreehari Borikar said, “I am grateful to be part of this event. ABVP is a student organisation, but still is a floating population, with several members serving the organisation for many years. But even with a floating population, it is the only student organisation that still operates.”
Recalling Nehru’s statement following the fall of Bomdila to the Chinese during the 1962 Indo-China war in which Nehru announced ‘my heart goes out to the people of Assam’, he said that this statement of the then Prime Minister made people of the region question whether Assam was a part of India or not.
“SEIL is a ‘dhaga’. During the tour, when the students of the Northeast see the rest of the country, they learn about the state of other regions of the country, and they begin to question why their states haven’t been developed like the rest of the country? They ask their politicians why this has happened and where the money granted for development goes?”
He said that there are many festivals that are celebrated in our country. In Tamil Nadu there is Pongal that is similar to Assam’s Bihu or Punjab’s Lohri. “The names maybe different but these festivals are one. When threats were made to Northeasterns in 2012, the state of Karnataka supported them the most, and gave them assurance that they would be protected and that there was no need of going back. Even today the people of the Northeast are facing problems from Bangladeshi infiltrators.”
He further said that the people of Northeast India also face problems of drug abuse. Drug trafficking has increased intensely between the borders of Manipur, Mizoram and Myanmar, which is a part of the Golden Triangle that is one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia and of the world since the 1950s. “10,000 students have become victims of drug abuse. Let us be one culture, one people, and one country and help other fellow citizens from the northeast.”
Ravi Kumar speaking on the occasion said, “I feel like the entire country has gathered here. I have heard many people of this country telling that Northeast Indians look like Chinese or Nepalis. Such statements by our own people give others a chance to exploit them. Using such statements, China proclaims that Arunachal Pradesh is theirs to the entire world at every chance it gets. But how many Indians say that Arunachal Pradesh is ours with that same conviction?” Shouldn’t let any other country lay claims to what is ours. ”
Speaking on the prevailing drug problem in the country, he said that students shouldn’t do drugs. “In our country 65% of the population falls in the youth and working age groups. But what is the state of this category? There are so many in this group who smoke cigarettes, do drugs, drink alcohol, etc. The biggest problem in our country is drugs. In Punjab alone, many young people are affected by drugs. The drug business in Punjab amounts to 65,000 crore, which is more than it’s state budget.”
Dr Udaya Kumar addressed the gathering said, “I am from Bharat. Our habits, lifestyle maybe different but we are all the same. We are Indians.
He saluted SEIL for giving a chance to the young people to experience the different parts of the country and their cultures. “Sarkars thod, SEIL jhods.”
He urged to say no to drugs, alcohol. “Do exercises, meditate, dance, play games but don’t do drugs or alcohol.” Speaking on energy conservation he said that if 1% of electrical energy is saved, then it saves 4000 crores. America and many western countries save around 20-25% of their electrical energy. “All the developed countries have banned incandescence bulbs while 70% of our population still uses them, even though they have an efficiency of only 5%. There are 80,000 villages in our country without electricity or water, and villages amount to 70% of pop. So, think before you use.”
While concluding he said that when there is a effect, there is a cause. Whenever there is a cause, there is a creation. Whenever there is a creation, there is a creator. And we name this creator, God. There is a God in you, me and everyone. Respect God. Be one human being.
Students from the tour shared their experiences. There was a cultural programme soon after which showcased dances of Karnataka like the Bharatnatyam, Yakshagana and of the North Eastern states like Manipuri dance, Mizoram dances, etc.
Ramona Misquith compered the programme. The vote of thanks was delivered by Jayesh.
SEIL represents a public trust which has been working for the emotional integration of the people who belong to various parts of the country, ever since its inception in 1966. The SEIL uphold the motto of “One Nation, One People, and One Culture”. It seeks to inculcate in the mind and heart of the youth at their formative age, the spirit of national integration.
SEIL is mainly a ‘Cultural Exchange Tour’ and ‘Short Stay in Host Families’ that gives the ‘feel’ that we are one in heart and soul even in the midst of diversity. It includes site seeing, citizens’ reception programme, historical place visit, cultural programmes, interaction with notable personalities of visiting places, etc.
SEIL since its beginning in 1966 until now, had brought together more than 1500 tour participants and 3000 families at different places across India. With this successful story of experience, it is proudly passing towards its Golden Jubilee in 2015-16.
This time the SEIL Tour – 2015 started from Guwahati. The tour participants reached Mangalore today, 15th January. They will visit different places in and around the city of Mangalore to experience the cultural exchange of South India. After spending two days in Mangalore, the delegates will proceed to Mumbai on 17th January.