I am Ved Prabha, a Humanities student from India and a steadfast Language and Literature enthusiast. I was born in Mithilanchal (Darbhanga), a small town in Bihar, in a family of modest means, where my birth was mathematically expressed as ‘double minus’ by my paternal relatives (my elder sister was minus one). My elder sister cherished me, she had prayed for a little sister day in and out, burning incense sticks in front of Goddess Saraswati. I don’t know why she ended up choosing the Goddess of Knowledge from among all those she knew at the age of four.
Probably, it was foregrounding that God had intended.
Since a very young age, I had an intense desire to learn and a deep relationship with ‘word’. I remember being hoisted by my elders, at the age of five, to recite Shiv tandav stotram and other difficult Sanskrit stutis that I knew by heart. I read everything under the sun; by the age of six, I had read all the eleven volumes of Mahabharata that my Nanaji had in his study, among many other texts. I would read anything and everything that I could find.
My mother saw something in me that though obvious, required proper honing. She insisted that I be put in the best school in Darbhanga, and there began a long battle that continues to date. Good education in a good school cost a fortune, and my mother had no support from anyone whatsoever. She put in whatever she had to get me admitted, approaching it one instalment at a time. In the course of twelve years of my school journey, she had to sometimes mortgage and sell whatever little she had, to continue my education. My worst fear would come alive every time before the exams started, when school peon would turn up to read out the names of fee defaulters, and I would shrink in my shell, with fainting heartbeat, when they would round up with my name, with a look reserved for regular defaulters. Today, when I have admission offers from many leading universities abroad, my worst fear of school journey has made a cumulative appearance.
Language holds me by the root; my ancient mother tongue, Sanskrit, has held an unmistakable sway over me since childhood as I grew up in a family of Sanskrit scholars. However, it was not only the language that was taught to me, I was simultaneously bestowed portions of the Sanskritic heritage. Perhaps, this is how my first engagement with ‘pedagogy’ began.
Belonging to a country where English is taught seriously through a child’s formative years, one remembers playing with what she was taught. As a young student, I would always look for the root of a word, English or Hindi, and would get fascinated when it landed in a Latin or Sanskrit pool of deep understanding. Perhaps, I was looking to anchor myself well. I promised to divulge deeper into the realm of language once I completed my post-graduation in English from the University of Delhi (2016), securing the University Gold Medal for academic excellence. The gap years that followed was spent in learning more about the pedagogic modules that emanated from within the Latin tradition and dominate our contemporary academic pursuits even today.
I started with a complex understanding founded on a simple truth that Language is the kernel of all philosophies. If I say a word, it will immediately light up hundred others that are associated with that word; ‘utilitarian’, ‘hysteria’, ‘rap’, ‘genocide’. If you reflect on what came to your mind as you read these words, you will understand how certain philosophies, concepts, thoughts, discussions, are planted deep within us using a certain type of language, and propagating the same using a certain kind of literature. It is because of this that we need to seek a better understanding of words, and carefully put them together to express our thoughts.
I intend to use our cultural heritage to understand the other that has largely replaced ours. My research will follow an approach where I will be able to implement my understanding of Sanskritic pedagogy towards the understanding of the foundation of Latin pedagogy and its continued presence in the form of English language and literature. This will be made possible simply and most earnestly because Latin and Sanskrit are coeval, born of the same womb.
My independent research in this field secured me an invitation to participate as an independent scholar at the International Medieval Congress 2020, at the University of Leeds, UK. Soon enough, I decided to finally apply to some universities in the UK and I received an admission offer from each of them, including Durham University, the University of York, the University of Leeds, and so on.
Before anything could have happened, pandemic struck the globe. Many scholarships and bursaries started drying up, and students of Humanities suffered a much worse fate. Despite this, I was lucky enough to get part scholarships/partial fee-waivers from Durham and York, respectively. I decided to go to the Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS) at the University of York, since it was an honor to be considered by the foremost leaders in this field of studies. I applied for an education loan, even though banks were apprehensive about risking their funds on a non-STEM, non-professional course. After a two-month long ordeal, the CEO of a certain bank decided to trust my academic caliber. I still had some deficit to cover even after the part scholarship and part bank loan which I somehow arranged with the help of some benefactors.
However, tragedy struck me twice in a matter of 7 days. Two days before my first payment was due at York, a benefactor withdrew their support. I was left with a considerable deficit and did not want to give up yet, but then I was diagnosed with a chronic and progressive medical condition that same week, and perhaps could not pull myself together in time. The directors of CMS York wanted me on board just as much. They sympathized with my situation and not only extended my admission offer, but reserved my scholarship too for this year.
2021 arrived and brought much worse events. India has suffered irreparably under the last wave, and the situation turned rather hopeless for all of us. Scholarships that I could not apply to last year, shrunk dramatically, and I am left again with a deficit of approx. INR 8,55,000 (8300 GBP), from the total funding requirement of approx. INR 30,00,000 (29300 GBP).
Cost (in Pounds)
Cost (in Rupees)
|Visa, International Health Surcharge, Airfare||1393|
|(-) Scholarship and Education Loan||21000||21,61,830|
I am a traditionalist at heart who firmly believes in the unshakeable principles of Takshila and Nalanda of the ancient Indian subcontinent. The doors of these ancient universities were open to anyone who had a deep and sincere desire to seek knowledge, and the courage to search for it at all costs. It is too great an analogy to explain my own trials, but the kernel of truth and sincerity is unmistakably the same.
I wouldn’t have studied if it wasn’t for my mother. She always reminded me to keep my head above my shoulder, to harbour humility, and seek knowledge at all costs. When I would ask what she would want once I am independent, she would only say that ‘Help someone get an education with the money and means that you reserve for me; that will be my reward.’
I intend it to happen only like that.
I want to complete my studies for her, spread knowledge and become an academician that she wanted to become, and give her the relief that it was all worth it after all. Dear friends, in the course of sharing my dream, it has become yours too, and I request you all to nurture it for me. I assure you that the kindness will only be carried forward in manifold ways.
Many thanks for reading my story.
P. S. I intend to redistribute all the money that will be donated here to a similar cause in the future, though I deeply wish there weren’t any such cause that would obstruct anyone’s path to Education.
Please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, for any enquiries.