Friday, 3 July 2009

Identity

Individuality is no less than a definitive feature of Independence, ensuing growth and prosperity; and identity is the basis of individuality. Without an identity, there can be no Individuality, no Independence and no progress.

The identity of our beloved campus has been seeded, nurtured and cocooned by our mother campus BITS Pilani, to whom we shall be forever indebted hence grateful. We have been bosomed with bountiful love and patronizing care. The dutiful, condescending restriction, in the name of brand preservation has inevitably taken its toll on our freedom of expression.

More than one of us feels stifled under this throttling protection called the “BITS Pilani brand name.” We feel the need to establish ourselves as an individual, self sufficient and robust institute, a sovereign vital entity, not an ailing, dwarfed sidekick of an antecedently established University.

Bottom-line: We need to be proud of our campus, for what it is. Stunted, slipshod, maligned or vulnerable Goa Campus is still ours. It is our responsible, almost patriotic sense of faithfulness that will always wish the best for our campus, no matter how dissatisfied or disillusioned we may become. We have lived with and through BITS Goa’s problems, its problems are our problems, its glory is our own.

During sleepless nights and boring lectures, over Cold Coffee at Ice ’n’ Spice or abominable mess food, whilst watching football matches together in the common room and cramming formulae in the library, we have discussed and dissected every discernible aspect of our college. From the Quality of the mess food to the quality of Manchester United’s defense, to the quality of girls on campus, we have debated on them all. Our opinions are collectively shaped, our perspectives widened and our knowledge and awareness heightened. For the length of the semester on campus, and inescapably otherwise, our personalities are molded and modeled by our dear campus. Our campus provides us our knowledge, skill-set and values, our own identity, our position in the worldly scheme of things. We, in turn shape the image of our campus, contribute to its reputation and strive to build its prestige. We sell our campus not only to our festival sponsors and Alumni, but also to our friends, family and ourselves. We incessantly strive to make real Ashish Garg’s words, “BITS Goa is just as good, if not better and BITS Pilani”

Why then, must the identity of our campus itself be mistaken as that of its mother campus, which has had little or no bearing on our present persona? Why must we borrow our identity from another campus when we possess one of our own, a vivid, robust one at that? Do we still need to be in the shadows of our parent campus when we can rise and shine of our own accord? Rise and shine is, incidentally, what we have done and are continuing to do, axiomatically, almost subconsciously.

What we must realize is that we are, by no means, an adopted stepchild of our mother campus. In fact, we are just as rich and diverse, whether in terms of sheer student talent, clubs, department, associations as well as national level Cultural, Technical and Sports festivals. In a direct, blatant comparison, Goa Campus is much better planned, more scenic and better connected by road, rail and air. The experience of the chilled-out Goan culture, the numerous beaches, forts and scenic hang-out spots place any Goan college apart from just about anywhere else in India, let alone a state-of-the-art institute of Technological excellence; not to forget the exotic seafood and most importantly, essential indulgences at outrageously cheap prices.

We have adopted a sound and coherent departmental and coordination committee structure at Goa that works synchronously and seamlessly, and is constantly setting benchmarks for other colleges, certainly even our mother campus to emulate. Make no mistake about it, Quark and Waves are fast growing bigger than Apogee and Oasis ever were. They may have the experience and consequent establishment through convention, but we have the exuberance of youth, and the momentum of an unflagging pursuit for improvement, tending to excellence.

We may not (yet) be at par in terms of sheer numbers in faculty, e-journal subscriptions, electives as well as placements and Practice School, but what the hell – you cannot have it all! We must remember our campus is but five years old, things can only, only get better from here.

Finally yet importantly, we have tremendous unity and trust among students, not only intra-hostel but also spanning over all hostels, batches and branches. This fact has evidently been manifested more than once, most notably, in what is deemed the BITS-Goa Independence Day, lovingly christened The Maggi Revolution (having symbolic as well as literal implications). Our associations have strengthened through mutual interests (or lack of it) – the hours spent expelling potent, profane interjections on DC mainchat, through evenings spent playing games at SAC or hanging out at Nescafe, through the nights spent (placebo-lically studying) fervently discussing and analyzing football, girls/guys, the campus and ironies of life in general. We have formed mutually inseparable bonds whilst playing, studying, eating and (sometimes) even sleeping together (no pun intended).

How then, can we even think of condemning our campus, our self-constructed realm, our haven by right? Is it not just brilliantly, precisely the way we have wanted and made it to be? Why then would we want to consider any other institute, let alone a Pilani, as superior to our own? It is time we put our thought and belief into action and live by our motto, which rightfully is “Proud to be a BITSGian.” It is time people know our campus as BITS-Goa, in independent identity, take notice of us for what we are, not our parent institute lying in a desert land some thousand miles away.