Overcoming Discrimination, My Story

I finished my class 10th Board examinations in Nepal back in 2001. Yes, I’ve spent nearly 11 years of my life in Nepal, where I also received my foundational education. In 2000, when my parents returned to India, Punjab, I had the chance to live on my own and pursue my education for over 11 months, during one of the most crucial times in my life (adolescent years and board exams). This independence helped me understand the units of money along with self-management and gave a lot of confidence to look ahead in life.

After finishing my 10th-grade examinations, I moved to India and enrolled in DAV school in Malerkotla. The town has a lot of Sikh-related historical value. My application process was challenging, but I eventually received a spot. This post is about how I adjusted to the transition that came with this move and how I felt leaving a completely different nation, culture, people, and lifestyle for a new one.

This post is about how I adjusted to the transition that came with this move and how I felt leaving a completely different nation, culture, people, and lifestyle for a new one. My admission to the school made headlines. I experienced the same feelings as an alien that visits and enlists in an earthly school. I was viewed as strange by teachers, classmates, and even the security guard. People who don’t speak the regional language are despised in Punjab, just as in many other parts of India. That is apparent (Some speak it out and some just consider it to be a part of life to move on). I felt the same when the only language I was speaking was either English or Hindi and didn’t know much of Punjabi (forgot after going to Nepal).

We have a “Kancha” in our class today, one of my class teachers announced when introducing me to the class (Kancha means Youngest boy and is used as slang for people from Nepal in India). The teacher once asked me to sing the Shan song “musu musu hasi deu malai lai” as if coming from Nepal, I would only be familiar with the song from Bollywood (typical stereotype).

In a real sense, I was alone and lost. Although I haven’t talked much about it with people around me before, I decided to put it down yesterday when it suddenly occurred to me that it might make a good blog topic. 

It wasn’t easy, and many of you would have had similar difficulties at some point in your lives, I’m sure. But his article is focused on how I overcame it and made sure I didn’t get sucked into this sense of prejudice and isolation.

I joined Standard +1(Class 11) in July. In India, the regular school year often begins in April. In addition to the emotional trauma I was experiencing from all the new things happening in my life, I was already three months late for the session. This emotion served as my motivation. I sat down and concentrated only on my studies. The pressure from my parents to perform well in class was added to this mental stress (a typical Indian way to motivate kids to do well in their studies).

In October, we had our midterm exams. I had three months to prepare for the midterm exam even though I was three months late. With no major friends around, added with the feeling of being an alien around, it was going to be tough.

Everything was changed by the exam results. In the class, I was in the 2nd spot. The results surprised the teachers and the students, and here I was again after 3 months, being looked at as an alien. The result changed it all, suddenly I wasn’t looked down on by people around me in school, my teachers openly called out the students who were regular toppers of the class (been in the school since the start), and teachers themselves had a new way of speaking to me ( and allowing me to sing other Bollywood songs) and best recognization that I got was being named as “House Captain” for one of the houses in the school. It was after many years in the school that a class 11th student was made house captain.

This taught me that there are numerous ways to deal with being despised, and one of them is by concentrating more on your strength and coming out strong. Don’t let prejudice depress you. Make sure you are absolutely certain that what other people think of you is not who you are.

PS: No this post is not meant to blame anyone. It’s just an outlook of an event in my life and how I overcame it.

What is your story, how did you overcome the discrimination?

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