India's Republic Day: how do Indian students in the UK mark their national day?
Around the world, Indian students and alumni are a powerful force for good. In the U.K., Indian students are the largest number of international students of any nation, and their talents and influence are felt in every sphere from science and engineering to business, the arts and law.
But on 26th January, Indians are united in a moment of shared historic memory as the mark the day in 1950 when the Constitution of India came into effect, officially declaring the country a sovereign, democratic republic - a day that laid the foundation for the world's largest democracy and the transition away from a constitutional monarchy.
And there is a strong connection with international students. The constitution itself was written by an Indian international student. Dr B R Ambedkar was a Social Reformer, Economist, Parliamentarian, Jurist, and the Principal Architect of the Constitution of India. He was also a student of law in London at the London School of Economics where he was awarded his MA and PhD.
Image: Altamash, from India, is studying engineering at University of Huddersfield International Study Centre, having wanted to be an engineer since childhood.
Former Study Group student Altamash is part of this proud tradition. He chose to travel from India to England’s University of Huddersfield International Study Centre to pursue a global education and his experience while completing an International Year One in Engineering is a familiar one. "We get a different experience than from in our own country. Studying internationally builds you up," Altamash tells us.
Image: Noor had such a good experience at Teesside University International Study Centre that he has recommended his brother follows in his footsteps.
Noor, an Indian Study Group student of the International Year One in Computer Sciences at England’s Teesside University International Study Centre, echoes the sentiment of personal and academic growth that enhances employability after graduation, and a new confidence from global study. “I really didn’t speak to anyone when I was in my home country. After coming here, I learned to speak with others and communicate with them. In education, we sit together and we discuss things and we solve a problem."
Image: Manoj, whose journey from Pune to the Cardiff University marked his first overseas trip.
For Manoj, from Pune, choosing to study for a master’s in Advanced Computer Science in Wales’ capital city at Cardiff University was an opportunity to build on connections he’d made during time working in India. “This is my first time to any international country ever," Manoj says. "I always wanted to move abroad to a developed country where the teaching would be updated and market-oriented and the technology would be updated. I used to work for a British retail company in India. I knew people from UK are warm and welcoming, very nice, so I thought UK is somewhere which my country has a very good relationship with.”
Today these and thousands of other Indian students will mark a shared connection with a country which has become an economic and technological power house in the 75 years since it was founded. But they are also part of a new chapter of Indian history, one which is more globally connected than ever and in which they are acquiring the skills to make a better world through education.