by Sanjana Rastogi, C7
I am a graduate from Cohort 7 and was interviewed by Detusche Welle (DW) Hindi in June 2019 at University of Oldenburg, Germany. During the interview, I shared my diverse experiences of studying the EMMIR programme. This video was primarily made for the Indian students, thus I spoke in my mother tongue, Hindi.
Back home, in India parents and elders play a significant role in most decision-making processes of their children. Indian students usually face parental and societal pressure to pursue careers in any of the trio-streams like Engineering, Law and Medicine. Regrettably, the socio-cultural and economic set up neglects pupil’s interest in humanities and the social sciences by categorizing these subjects as too simple, unstructured or even unprofitable for student’s future prospects.
I faced similar burdens while transitioning from sciences after my 12th exams to humanities. Consequently, the objective of my interview with DW Hindi was to reach out to the massive Indian population all across the world for highlighting the importance of exploring humanities and social sciences. I believe that I could bring this mindset change in the Indian society by setting myself as a practical example, who is presently studying Migration Studies and Intercultural Relations. I choose my own path rather than confining myself to the societal limitations of the trio-traditional streams.
Last week, the final video was published online. I am happy with the production, direction and shooting of the video. Indeed, the efforts and initiatives of the journalist are applaudable for uncovering a studies programme that is not restricted to the boundaries of a single country but one that is spread across two continents amongst seven different countries as part of the EMMIR Consortium.
Nonetheless, I am not convinced with the first few photos that have been displayed in the video following my introduction are an accurate portrayal of the lessons we learn in the EMMIR programme. A photo says a thousand words and the ones used at the beginning in the video perpetuated the dominant rhetoric of viewing refugees as a hoard, a fleet or an exodus of people who are vulnerable and need help.
This evoked negative and sorrowful emotions towards migrants and refugees. Coming from a media background and soon graduating as a migration studies scholar, I criticize the video on the parameters of perpetuating the same negative narrative. As one of the people who was interviewed about the EMMIR programme, I did not have any control over the editing process, as that was done at the back-end of the DW Hindi office. The video was published in less than a week on their YouTube Channel, which demonstrates their tight deadline for publication. Presumably, this tight deadline is what led to an unexpected juxtaposition: a happy EMMIR student talking about the positive aspects of an international and interdisciplinary programme, contrasted with stereotypical images of migrants and refugees. Unfortunately, the positive lessons from EMMIR are not enough to combat negative portrayals of migration in the media.
A photo says a thousand words and the ones used at the beginning in the video perpetuated the dominant rhetoric of viewing refugees as a hoard, a fleet or an exodus of people who are vulnerable and need help... I criticise the video on the parameters of perpetuating the same negative narrative.
What does a migrant look like?...
THIS IS WHAT MIGRANTS LOOKS LIKE
Personally, I am highly against viewing migrants and refugees as a homogenous group of people. Being a migrant myself, I strongly believe that we are a group of people who have diverse skills, abilities and capabilities. Conclusively, the tussle between interviewee’s positive intentions vs. the end product conjured up by media proffers diverged and polarized spectrums. Effectively, in the 21st century, studying Migration and Intercultural Relations becomes all the more important for critically analyzing one’s own positionality and dissecting the dominant narratives to result in different knowledge production.
Being a migrant myself, I strongly believe that we are a group of people who have diverse skills, abilities and capabilities.
Watch Sanjana's interview on DW Hindi YouTube, including interviews from the EMMIR Consortium Coordinator, Lydia Potts, and the Programme Coordinator, Daniela Arias Vargas.
Sanjana Rastogi, with her friends Gabriella Mikiewicz, Stephen Ogwere and Yara Marei from Cohort 7 gave another interview about the EMMIR Programme with Radio Global Project from Oldenburg conducted in the German Language:
Watch the Cohort 7 video which tries to combat stereotypes and break down barriers: