Spirit of continuity

Countless hours of sleeplessness, anxiety, struggling to read, reading and thinking critically have paved the way for a fresh round of challenges, which I look up to. The finals have long been over and I hope to have done well. The post examination experience has deceived me of my expectations of a hollow feeling of having nothing to do. Instead, it has urged me to start my mental preparations for the journey ahead.

Besides the mental preparations, fatigue has accompanied me in the form of a delightful trip to Mumbai, tucked in between attending a SOAS students’ reception right after the exams, writing the IELTS exam just for the sake of testing myself, which I happily passed with flying colours, a trip to my hometown of Burdwan  after almost six months and accompanying my Gurujee on the taanpura at the prestigious Tolly Club in Kolkata. To say the least, I have highly relished this hectic schedule so far. Amidst all of the post exam rush, a stream of thoughts has kept gurgling in the background of my mind. These thoughts have predominantly been regarding what it means to be a graduate of the University of London and being associated with the LSE. That I will be graduating from the University of London in a few weeks has made me do a bit of research about what the university stands for.

CartoonSir William Beveridge, who happened to be the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London stated in a 1928 lecture that ‘Every University worthy of the name at all is an embodiment of optimism, of belief in youth and in progress, of a certainty that man does not live by bread alone, of a trust in the continuity of the human spirit and human life throughout the ages.’ This suggests going beyond the trail trodden very often- doing a job and earning a living. Belonging to an institution that teaches egalitarian values like no other, proudly bears trophies of multiple ‘firsts’ of admitting students regardless of religious background, allowing women to study and teach, opening the doors of knowledge (in Charles Dickens’ words) ‘even to the young shoemaker who studies in his garret’, it should be imperative to live up to the essential character of this institution, which I believe is progress.

Browsing through the achievements of the notable alumni of the International Programmes inspires me immensely to contribute something worthwhile to society, something for the better and something that would be cherished. Be it beacons of peace like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, discoverer of vitamins Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Nobel Prize winning novelist Wole Soyinka, amongst a host of others- all of them have pushed the boundaries of knowledge and shone new light to the world.

Gearing up for my journey as a student of MA Music in Development at SOAS (which will start in two months), settling for mediocrity is not an option. While intellect and vision is not equally distributed among humanity, it should be my earnest effort to ensure my full energy towards my aim of bringing the concept of ‘raga’ and this ancient music of India into the consciousness of people around the world. Much like yoga, raga is a gift from India to the world. Spread a great deal since the last century by icons like Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan and Vilayat Khan among others, the majority of people still remain deprived of this gift. Indian raga music has a priceless philosophical value- unlike any other music I have known. Besides the advocacy part, it should be my aim to make use of the excellent platform at SOAS and enhance my skills as a musician. There’s no point in preaching without practising. Only converting the ideas into reality or at least making a truly devoted effort towards it would fulfil the ideals that a University of London graduate should stand for. To see the ideas into reality, developing a deep understanding of things (Rerum cognoscere causas– the motto of the LSE) is vital.

Senate HouseAs far as any sadness relating to the end of my journey with UoLIP is concerned, there is none as this is an unending journey. University of London will continue to play a central role in my life. As a student of SOAS in the near future, my little pursuit for achievement will continue at the same Senate House and Bloomsbury campus. The only thing that will differ is now I will be present physically on the campus all the time. As a student about to reside in one of the University of London Intercollegiate halls of residence for the next year, the very institution I have studied with for the past four years is going to be my second home!

Budhaditya studied the BSc International Relations by distance learning in Kolkata, India.

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