Berkeley: UC mourns student killed in latest terrorist attack

Photo Courtesy of UC Berkeley

Tom Lochner,
East Bay Times

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A tearful UC Berkeley community bid farewell to one of its rising stars on Tuesday, vowing that her passion, kindness, selflessness and dedication to global harmony would live on in spirit long beyond her earthly death.

Tarishi Jain, 18, a native of India, was slain Saturday along with at least 21 others during a terrorist attack on a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She was a summer intern at Eastern Bank Limited in the Bangladeshi capital, where her father, an industrialist, is based.

Her death, along with the other fatalities, “shook the psyche of so many peace-loving people across the world,” said K. Venkata Ramana, an official with the Consulate of India in San Francisco and one of several dignitaries who spoke at a noontime vigil on Sproul Plaza attended by several hundred mourners.

“We are so much the poorer for it,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, calling Jain “a shining example of our hopes and dreams” and mourning “a tragic loss that has diminished us as a campus, and the global community,” as he lamented the senselessness of the act.

Jain, who would have entered her sophomore year at UC Berkeley in September, was a member of EthiCAL, a student-run organization that designs apparel and uses proceeds to provide microloans for low-income people who lack access to traditional banking services.

She was interning in Dhaka under the auspices of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, part of the university’s Institute for South Asia Studies, said institute director Lawrence Cohen.

Speakers largely skirted the issue of blame for the attack, variously attributed to Bangladesh-based affiliates of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

An exception was Tina Jabeen, who said she represents the Bangladeshi community and the Bangladeshi students on campus.

“Istanbul. Dhaka. Baghdad. Medina. How many cities will cry before these demons are annihilated?” she said, in a reference to large-scale terrorist attacks in those cities over recent days, warning that Bangladesh and other countries could “slide into an abyss dug by extremists.”

“How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?” Jabeen had asked moments earlier, quoting the Bob Dylan classic “Blowin’ in the Wind.” “How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows that too many people have died?”

“We have had too many vigils and memories, but nothing meaningful has happened,” she added later, urging Bangladesh, the United States and other governments to stand united against terrorism.

Counselors were on hand to minister to the grieving after the event, and officials announced extended hours for counseling services.  Jain had the spirit of a tiger, several mourners said. They praised her ambition and energy, all in the service of the greater good of humanity.

“She was one of the kindest, most driven people I know,” said Jong Ha Lee of the International Students Association at Berkeley.

Jain was quick to make friends, always helpful in solving their problems, and had a splendid sense of humor, others said.

“She was a really sweet person,” said a friend of Jain’s. “She obviously cared about people.”

“I can’t believe we’re talking (about Jain) in the past tense,” another friend said. “She was the future.”