Born and brought up in a small army town in India, I have lived among people from across the country. My life has been greatly influenced by the culture and diversity of India, as I have imbibed a bit of every culture in me, whether it be through celebrating Eid with the Muslim family living on the left side of my house or going from house to house with the Jain family living on my right for Samvatsari (Forgiveness Day) to seek forgiveness and mark a new beginning. Living in a multicultural society has allowed me to develop an appreciation for diversity that is gradually making me a global citizen.
Having a vague knowledge of every culture and identity helps make friends better, since everyone is fundamentally proud of their heritage and eager to discuss it. After moving to Mississippi for higher education, I have had the chance to meet people from multiple identities and backgrounds that I was initially unacquainted with. Attending seminars on racial oppression in the south to having deep impactful conversations about gender identities have helped me gain a deeper understanding about how crucial of a role diversity plays and will continue to play in the advancement of society in future.
MIT’s PhD program is of great appeal to me. I was very excited by the possibility of combining my intellectual talents with my leadership skills through the MIT Graduate School Leadership Institute (GSLI). I was amazed to learn about the students’ experiences with the program and how diversity helped catalyze their progress, just as a past GSLI fellow did, “Diversity in every aspect, discipline, work experience, future goals etc., made our small Forum group within the larger cohort a fantastic platform to bounce off interesting ideas”. My intentions of applying to MIT was confirmed by Dr. Kevin Beach’s enthusiasm saying, “MIT is a fun and exciting place”. Such opportunities and experiences shall help me share my unique experiences while learning a newer perspective from others.
The best part about a diverse open-minded community is its freedom from prejudices, where everyone is given equal importance and has unique perspectives to present to other people. It can be best captured in Rabindranath Tagore’s words – “Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”. At present, hearing about the mass shootings or the discrimination with people from different identities, this open society concept is in a great need for propagation, especially because of the greater fragmentation of our societies. I intend to be one of its proponents and a quality education only increases my chances of being heard and inducing a change.