Former UU council member passed away

You live in every brave person, Nandika

Nandikha Mogha and Andreia Duque
Andreia (left) and Nandika (right), photographed by DUB in 2020.

Nandika Mogha passed away on September 14 from a bone marrow deficiency. Nandika was a UCU student, a student representative, a sustainability advocate, my friend and a fearless woman. 

We ran for the Utrecht University Council on behalf of Lijst Vuur, together with Marijn Baars, Tom Buster and Roman Monte. Vuur got 5 seats in the student delegation of 2020, from which two belonged to the first international members, Nandika and myself. It was a very challenging year for everyone due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but even more so for the two of us, since we could only mumble a few words in Dutch. Nonetheless, we made it through.

Nandika was a very daring and passionate Council member. A fearless advocate for sustainability and inclusivity. She worked thoroughly on implementing vertical gardens at Utrecht Science Park and compost bins at the international campus. Despite her busy schedule, she learned Dutch in no time. She was impressive.

We used to meet at the international campus often, walking around its blocks and discussing our political strategies, our projects and our roles as representatives. I remember telling her I was scared of speaking Dutch and asking questions. To which she answered: "Everyone is always so scared. But scared of what?" We had a long meeting with the Executive Board that day and, despite the language barrier, Nandika was very confident and determined in every intervention. I looked up to her all the time. How did she do that?

Whenever I am scared, I will return to that moment and think about her words: "Scared of what?" She always had a solution for everything. There was not a problem she could not solve and everything happened to fall into place. Her fearless attitude and daring interventions were inspiring. She spoke her mind and embraced causes, relentlessly. She was very hungry, always wanting to know more. She was never looking for something to fall back on, she was always falling forward.

Nandika inspired me to show up and reconsider my definition of success. I used to think that success was about getting things done and ticking all the boxes, but I've since realised that I'm not able to tick all boxes all the time. Therefore, my new definition of success is to simply show up, to be there as I am now and let myself be seen. 

I still don’t know how to interpret death, but I think that people live in our actions and in the values we choose to have. Nandika lives in me every time I am scared and I show up anyway.  You live in every brave person, Nandika. 

"The University Council is deeply shocked by the sudden death of Nandika. Nandika was a member of the university council in the years 2020/2021, we remember her as a highly motivated council member with a great feeling for social equality. During her time in the council, she made a big effort to enable international students to participate in the council and thereby paved the way for a more international representation. She also convinced the Executive Board to make menstrual products available in the toilets on campus. She was a very committed colleague and we will miss her deeply."
Gert Folkers, Erna van Wilsem and Wim de Smidt, on behalf of the staff section of the University Council 2020/2021 

"We will remember Nandika as an active and engaged member of the University Council 2020/2021. As a member of the University Council, Nandika developed a thorough understanding of academic matters and fully demonstrated her ability to work as part of a team. She adopted an active, flexible and curious attitude, exhibiting a commitment to Utrecht University, which made her a proficient and valuable representative."
The Executive Board of Utrecht University