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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

In JNU,Palestine students look back at culture to look into future

When another bloody chapter opened in the Gaza Strip recently,Palestinian student in Delhi,Ibrahim,kept abreast of the Israeli attack through the detailed accounts his mother and siblings sent him from Ground Zero.

Written by Hamari Jamatia | New Delhi | January 28, 2009 12:00:08 am

When another bloody chapter opened in the Gaza Strip recently,Palestinian student in Delhi,Ibrahim,kept abreast of the Israeli attack through the detailed accounts his mother and siblings sent him from Ground Zero.

A student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University,Ibrahim and his friends are trying to put back in shape the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS),a body that helps the country’s students in times of need,but more importantly,is a window to their culture and traditions.

This Sunday,sitting in the office of the Foreign Students Association in JNU,Ibrahim said: “The Israeli offensive was never meant for the Hamas. If that organisation was the only target,Israel could have killed its leaders before bombing the place.”

The GUPS has been in existence for the last nine years,though Ibrahim came to know about it a few months ago. “I am in Delhi for a year,and any function on the Middle East reminded me of my country,its dances and food,” he said. He felt the need for an organisation that would perform the country’s art in front of a wider audience. When he heard of the GUPS,he merged his ambitions with the student body’s present portfolio of helping Palestinian students find their way here,getting them admission in colleges and even helping with the English.

GUPS was not in its prime when Ibrahim took over as president. The body held its first meeting on January 3 — a protest at Jantar Mantar against the Israeli invasion. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union supported this cause.

Ibrahim said: “There might be a ceasefire now,but my friends and relatives say Israeli tanks are stationed on the borders,ready to attack any moment.”

The second meeting was this Sunday. This time,GUPS members were seen giving final touches to a poster that boasted of Palestinian cuisine — ready to hit the palette — at a university food festival,which started Monday. Food from 25 countries were served,and the first time from Palestine.

Another student and GUPS member Shadi Farrokhyani said: “A Palestinian cook will prepare the dishes.” The students had also gathered on Sunday to learn the steps of a traditional dance of Palestine called Debka,Shadi said. Though the instructor did not turn up,the group shook a leg nonetheless. Shadi said: “Traditionally,this dance was performed at weddings and other occasions,but now has come to symbolise Palestine,and has become the dance of solidarity.”

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