New Delhi-born and Mumbai-raised journalist Rohit Alok has never stopped looking for answers – or asking questions. His quest for deeper understanding has led him to the National Security College at ANU.
Having experienced the intensity of crime and environment reporting for The Indian Express, Rohit decided to get to the bottom of “how things really work.” “I wanted to study something security-related because in general insecurity is something everyone can relate to, at a personal, societal and national level,” he says. “My way of understanding security is by looking at the sources of human insecurity and then trying to probe them further.”
Rohit determined that the best way to do this was to both study abroad and stay in the region in order to focus on the Asia-Pacific. “I feel if you study where you are from, it would be hard to ask questions” he says. “It is critical to get a neutral view on how things are – you need to step out of the box. I chose the NSC at ANU because it takes its job seriously.”
And he brings a sobering perspective on the state of affairs in his own country: “I feel that in India we haven’t prioritised national security issues. We’ve only talked about Pakistan, but we’ve not looked beyond that and that’s troubling. There’s a wedge that’s been driven between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Are we not competent enough to have the other arguments that could bother us, if not are bothering us?”
Rohit says that postgraduate study is an investment you make in yourself and he thinks his is already paying off. “There are very few other places that offer the kind of courses that are over here,” he says. “When you go through the bios of the lecturers, you understand that you want to be in their company, that’s the thinking you want to be around, that’s the rigour that you relate to.”
Regardless of where his future takes him – be it journalism or a PhD – Rohit is very clear on what he wants to take out of his Master of National Security Policy. “My experience here is moulding me to take my business seriously,” he says. “I want a concise and precise understanding of national security. I want to take away perspective, opinion and confidence – these are the pivotal factors that change you.”
For Rohit, the benefits of the learning environment at NSC also include flexibility in picking courses from other areas and the diversity of the international students he meets in the building. Then there is the ANU campus itself:
“Every day, I walk through the entire campus,” he says. “We are an island apart. There’s something different about its aura that calms you, comforts you, reminds you and helps you figure out your purpose. It’s about what you absorb – the Canberra sky for one makes you reflect on where you are.”