Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to college

College finally begins and as usual the controversies refuse to die down. We have just had a fake admission in the Christian quota which has already come under the scanner. The college has still not held a service for VC, quite understandable considering our pro tem administrator is busy sorting the mess created during the holidays. It was also for the first time one sees a talk being held by one of the most respected societies of the college being cancelled on trivial issues such as there being no staff advisor when everybody knows it is the duty of the administration to appoint one. Another reason why the talk on youth and politics was cancelled because or authorities considered one of the speaker to be anti- much for free speech which college always harps on.
College too sees its own share of elections coming up and what is frightening is to see the cult of the individual taking over the college. Notices now bear huge signatures and the announcement part is minimal...a pity but true. What is now awaited are the results and one hopes we all do well. College History society is going to Rajasthan for a trip and we are all working towards having a good trip.

Friday, July 11, 2008

VISA power...

It has been disturbing to read the USA denying a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on grounds of 'human rights violation' clearly talking about the pogrom back in 2002. This is not the first time they have done such a thing to Modi. The last time they did it was in 2005 and even UK followed suit then. This time all his attempts to attend the World Gujarati Conference seem to be over at least for now. But one cannot but wonder why USA could have done this to a democratically elected Chief Minister of an Indian state who has recently been re-elected by the electorate by thumping majority. What is now clear is that George Bush, a torchbearer of human rights and how to win elections honestly will deny visa to others. Here I do not support Modi nor am I ignorant to the charges levelled against him but then one must wait for the Nanavati report to actually level such serious charges and if the report finds him guilty, one hopes action is taken and things are not put under the cover like the 'secular' Congress government has done to the Srikrishna Report in Maharashtra.
What one fails to understand is the fact that George Bush and his government can still take the liberty to call others of having no respect for individual dignity. We are still waiting for weapons in Iraq and the country has gone from worse to more worse since 2003. Moreover, one must understand that Modi is a democratically elected leader of an Indian state. In 2005, the atmosphere was different but since then he has won another mandate from the people and has been sitting there democratically; he has not rigged an election. The 2007 Gujarat Vidhan Sabha elections saw a record 60% vote being casted and any political observer will agree it is a good number. Does it mean that USA has lost respect for the people of Gujarat? Every group has the right to protest but such blatant abuse of one's diplomatic superiority is not a good thing. It also makes me wonder if it is some carrot and stick policy the USA is following- a brilliant nuclear deal, for which President Bush deserves full credit and the excellent Indo-USA relations again for which only President Bush is to be thanked is to be complemented with such an attitude to Modi, from whom many must at least learn to govern, just as people feel he must learn from others as far as secularism is concerned...


College is once again in the news and this time its about more quotas and these quotas are for teachers. The college has decided to grant benefits to Christian applicants in teaching posts despite their marks. The college website states that there are vacancies in the Economics, English, History and Physics departments and the Christian applicants must specify their Church membership. After a new admission policy and karmachari strike, college is once again in the news and that too for the wrong reasons. What the college is doing may well be one of their many rights as a minority institution in order to emancipate the members of the community but this definitely raises a few questions. Does academic interaction at the teaching level need such religious segregation? Once a candidate has attained a certain minimum qualification, be it a BA, BSc or a relevant MA or MSc, he or she is an educated person who is capable of competing on a level playing field and rise in the field. Also, how can selecting one with inferior marks over a gold medallist [as reports are saying] enhance academic standards in college, who has had very good teachers [the greats in the department where I study include Percival Spear, IH Quereshi, Professor Amin, Dr. Baker, Upinder Singh to name a few...] in the past, none of whom I presume needed any 'preference' because they followed a particular religion. The college is for the students and is a place where we receive quality education and not an 'employement shop' as Rev. Thampu would often say in the assemblies. Nor should it be an employement shop, one which gives jobs to members of its community only because he or she belongs to the community. No student comes all the way to this college to learn from teachers who are selected due to their religious affinities and that too when better applicants were there. But then, one can comment further only as the days pass and the picture becomes clear but what remains clear is that another name for college has become controversy...