One winter evening in 2008, following the major terror attacks in Assam on 30 October, I asked my parents what was terrorism all about? As a child of 8, it did not make sense to me why anyone would kill other people so ruthlessly. My parents began by taking me a little into the past and telling me about what had happened during the Assam Agitation in the late ‘70s. They shared their experiences with me, told me what they had seen, the hardships they had faced, the insurgent groups that had emerged and the overall turmoil that Assam was embroiled in. I was told how the situation in Assam continues to be rather complicated even today. They explained to me how the infiltration of immigrants from the neighbouring countries continues to be an irritant in the smooth functioning of politics and the economy in Assam. These discussions proved to be a defining moment in my life, for it triggered in me the curiosity to understand the interplay of politics and economics with society, the role of history and culture in shaping our modern world.
With time, I grew more aware of how despite being so rich in natural resources like oil and tea, the fact remains that Assam is still highly neglected and poorly understood by the rest of India. With every visit to various other states in India, the growing disparity in development between the Seven Sisters and the rest of India would become more evident to me. All this resulted in me having a natural inclination towards and a newfound appreciation for humanities. I learnt that I can better understand the challenges faced by Assam, and more broadly, the Northeast, by studying disciplines like politics, sociology, and economics.
Following my tenth board examinations, I was faced with a predicament that was to become a turning point in my life and all my future decisions. The society I was brought up in was strongly in favour of the notion that one can live a ‘good life’ only if they studied scientific theories, medicine, or engineering. Besides, coming from a family of engineers, that was the well-established path for both my parents and my elder sister too. It led me to start eleventh grade in the science stream, and although it didn’t feel right, it was what was expected of me. Soon enough, I realized that this was not my cup of tea and was rather a wrong decision. It was a challenging feat for me to deviate from the family norm of taking up the science stream. Following sleepless nights in trepidation about confronting my parents about my decision to study social sciences, I finally summoned the courage to tell them about my passion, and they wholly accepted my decision and were very supportive in the switch-over. With the support of my parents, there was a newfound motivation in me, and I found myself prepared and enthusiastic to undertake any challenge as it comes, and to overcome those with grit and perseverance.
I think of life as an odyssey, with its own set of twists and turns; a journey of endless knowledge, a gift to enjoy, and a platform to make an impact with one’s noble contributions. For me, political science is an academic discipline that also shapes the core of "my" beliefs. I believe it is one of the strongest tool to shape the future of my country and especially, Northeast India. If an academic subject can be studied and researched both as a discipline and as a belief, it is all too natural for me to pursue it as my lifelong career either in teaching or academia. While motivations are the fuel that drives the car of my career aspirations in the teaching profession, the engine is still missing and that is what, I believe Ashoka University will equip me with.