First Pak student in Pondicherry varsity

First Pak student in Pondicherry varsity


Pondicherry Central University may have created records of sorts as it admits the first Pakistani student to study in an Indian institution, which remained impossible especially in the post-26/11 atmosphere.

Ali Hassan Raza, 22, has been admitted to post graduate programme in South Asian studies at the University’s ‘UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute For South Asia Regional Cooperation’ which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The student has broken a barrier in the Indo-Pak relations with his arrival to study at the ‘UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute For South Asia Regional Cooperation’,” said the Institute’s Director B Mohanan Pillai, while talking to Deccan Herald over telephone.

“UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute’ is the result of the visionary efforts of a former Diplomat and UNESCO Peace Ambassador, Madanjeet Singh, who was one of the direct witnesses to “the trauma and horror of partition”, to set up institutions of excellence to promote understanding, peace and development among South Asian countries.
Madanjeet Singh had set up the South Asia Foundation (SAF) in 2000 as a vehicle to translate his vision into reality.

The SAF sought to “provide a platform for well-meaning men and women from the countries of our region to contribute their might to the vision of a progressive South Asia,” the Prime Minister had recalled at the Institute’s inaugural.  

Hailing from a place close to Lahore, Raza applied for the course after graduating in Philosophy. The student had difficulties in obtaining visa, with both the External Affairs and Home Ministries were “reluctant” in the beginning.

With both the Pondicherry University and the SAF institute arguing in favour of granting him a visa to use student exchange as a way of promoting peace and understanding between the neighbouring countries, the Centre eventually gave its nod, Prof Pillai noted.

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