One of the greatest pains in life is that of losing someone you love. Not that death isn’t inevitable, but no matter how much peace you try to make with the concept of loss, it creates a hollow in your chest that almost nothing can make up for.
Now imagine that kind of a loss, that pain and multiply it 10 fold. That is what Naveen Shekharappa’s father suffered after he heard that his 21-year-old son who had gone to Ukraine to study, was killed in an airstrike by Russia.
Who killed Naveen Shekharappa ?@BJP4Karnataka @INCKarnataka @JanataDal_S pic.twitter.com/dZeHlOxWDf— PLE Karnataka (@PLEKarnataka) March 1, 2022
The young and ambitious Naveen from Karnataka, who had moved abroad to study and build a better life for himself and his parents was reduced to nothing but ‘collateral damage’ in this war that Russia has waged against Ukraine.
And even though the ones sitting on the other end of this strike seem to be Russian, there is no denying that our country has its own contribution to the tragic killing of Naveen.
“Despite scoring 97% in PUC, my son could not secure a medical seat in State. To get a medical seat one has to give crores of rupees and students are getting the same education abroad spending less money," shared the grief-stricken father of Naveen, who was killed in Ukraine while he was out to get food from a nearby grocery store.
Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, father of Indian student Naveen who was killed in Ukraine’s Kharkiv asks Govt to bring back his mortal remains. He asks Govt to also look at hefty donations that medical colleges demand, forcing Indian students to take admission abroad. @TheQuint pic.twitter.com/THKdjU1lVE— Nikhila Henry (@NikhilaHenry) March 1, 2022
Hours after news of his son being ruthlessly killed in the strike near the Governor’s House, a dejected Shekharappa Gyanagoudar spoke about how he sent his son abroad because the education system in India was so flawed.
He shared, “Due to the education system and casteism, he could not get a seat despite being an intelligent student.” He also went on to say, “I am dejected with our political system, education system and casteism. Everything is in the control of private institutes..” A sentiment that is bound to come forward in light of his son’s demise.
Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar
21 year old from Haveri district in Karnataka studying at Kharkiv Medical University- lost his life today. Hope GOI will expedite evacuating students from Ukraine. Deepest condolences to Naveen’s family & friends. I’m sorry we failed you. pic.twitter.com/NBoloWJUiw
He then said, “I found out that I would have to spend anywhere between Rs 85 lakh and Rs 1 crore to put him in a private medical college. That’s when I decided to send him to Ukraine, but that proved far more costly.”
Crowds gather outside the home of deceased Indian student Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar in Haveri, Karnataka. He was killed in shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine. @TheQuint pic.twitter.com/WQycy4XbUB— Nikhila Henry (@NikhilaHenry) March 1, 2022
And while people will still put the outright blame of Naveen’s death on this unfortunate war between two countries, it also comes as an eye-opener for us to look into the intricacies of our education system, one whose incompetence has forced several students to move out and subsequently suffer a tragic end.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the father of Naveen Shekharappa, an Indian student who died in shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine this morning.
(File pic) pic.twitter.com/OEXXs7XjiD
Last we checked, education should’ve been a right, not a privilege for those who can throw the maximum amount of money at the table. Because in that case, children of middle-class people like Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, a retired paper mill employee, will have no choice but to sacrifice their own blood. And that is too big a gamble to ask people to make.
Gyanagoudar also happened to share the last conversation he had with his son, where he was advising him to "place an Indian flag" outside the building he was in.
The video of their conversation indicated how that is what minister Piyush Goyal had also advised them to do.
Despite scoring 97% in PUC, my son could not secure a medical seat in State. To get a medical seat one has to give crores of rupees&students are getting same education abroad spending less money, says father of Naveen Shekharappa, an Indian student who died in shelling in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/wXqArRW9eq— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2022
“We have talked to minister Piyush Goyal. He said that there is a little problem. If we try to move from there, then rescue is possible. He has said that our government has talked to both the countries, both the countries have assured them that nothing will happen to the Indians there," his father was heard saying.
However, Pooja Praharaj, a student coordinator in Kharkiv later shared how, “He lived near the Governor's House and had been standing in the queue for food. Suddenly there was an airstrike that blew up the Governor's House and he was killed".
Karnataka | Shivkumar Chanabasappa Udasi, BJP MP from Haveri met with the kin of Naveen Shekharappa, an MBBS student, who died in shelling in Kharkiv, #Ukraine this morning. pic.twitter.com/SYGFeQHATX— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2022
.@IYC_Mumbai organised a candle light march in Mankhurd Shivajinagar assembly to pay tribute to Late Naveen Shekharappa who was tragically killed in Ukraine. We demanded that GOI needs to start acting sooner & stop glorifying their basic duties of evacuating Indians from Ukraine! pic.twitter.com/d2cquAKKZy— Zeeshan Siddique (@zeeshan_iyc) March 2, 2022
Reports suggest that in the bunker where Naveen and several other students had taken shelter, only 2% of them were actually allowed to move. In fact, several accounts of students being manhandled, beaten and stopped from moving are coming forward.