Hanging in the balance

Arahat Dhivare, who lives in Ajmir Saundane, a remote village in Maharashtra, said he doesn’t know what he would do if his university decided to hold final exams. The journalism student at Ruia College in Mumbai had appeared for less than half of his final papers before he had to leave the city because of the lockdown. He said he would have to travel to the city even if the university conducted an online exam since he doesn’t have a strong internet connection at the place where he is currently living.

But Dhivare said he can’t make the journey to the city either, as all transportation in his area is closed due to the pandemic. And even if he was able to travel to the city, he wouldn’t know where to live, since many hostels have turned into containment zones.

“I know all my subjects. I wouldn’t mind giving the exams. But I don’t want to catch Covid-19. And this is not just me; I know many friends who are in a similar position,” he said.

He needs a job to support his family and to find work, he must get his degree. But he also has a grandmother who is a heart patient. Dhivare is scared that if he ventures out to give the exam, he might pass on the virus to her, risking her life. “The government’s job is to take care of its people. But I don’t see them even considering us. Aren’t our lives valuable?” Dhivare said.

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