Humans of South Asia at UofT

Inspired by the sensational Humans of New York project, Humans of South Asia aspires to connect with students at the University of Toronto who are from or share a bond with South Asia. We hope to bring South Asia closer to you through simple tales and warm anecdotes.

Special Edition #1

“What does it mean to give voice to the ‘other’ as the Vice-Chair of Research and Development?”

I don’t know if we can ever give a voice or try to speak for another. That implies a certain privilege. Who am I to “give” voice…. but at the same time I do recognize that South Asia as a region has often been neglected or generalized as part of a narrative of the global South as a site for western intervention, a site of crisis & poverty, or a space still in waiting room of history. This is something I’ve been struggling with because I feel like as students we have a position and privilege of being able to access education for building critical thinking, and being integrated in a community with people coming from all different perspectives and backgrounds. In this way, there is a certain sense of responsibility to address the biases and gaps in knowledge and our understanding of “other” places and people. It means a lot to me then to be able to bring more light to South Asia as a region and challenge conventional ways in which it has been imagined. But at the same time, I am aware of the inability of anyone to ever voice for the other. But I think INDePth is a first step towards dialogue that incorporates more voices.

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“What story are you telling yourself about your life?”

“I think I’m a movie star and that nothing is impossible.” (left)
“You’re doing well” (right)

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“If you could only speak one word today, what would you say?”

“Yolo”

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“What messages have you internalized?”

“I figure if I’m gonna be a mess, I might as well be a hot mess – Mindy Kaling”

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“Do you see yourself as worthy of love and admiration?”

“I think that there shouldn’t be a reason for you to not be. If you are here, existing in this world, that’s enough reason for you to be loved” – Jerusha Retnakanthan

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“What gives you peace?”

“I’m not at peace right now. I just feel like we live in a time where information is being thrown at you from every direction and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with it all. But I think I’m able to find peace in reminiscing. Just the other day I was thinking back to when my best friend and I were walking through Time Square. It was super early and so everyone around us was preparing for the evening rush but it was kind of incredible. One of my fondest memories. It’s so weird, I would find peace in one of the most chaotic cities in the world.” – Aamna Rashid

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