Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Education

Unmukt Chand controversy

All students are equal. Students who are sportspersons are more equal. A student who is the captain of a cricket team that wins U-19 World Cup is the most equal.

That is the view of Ajay Maken, Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Shukla, Kirti Azad, Arnab Goswami and many others who live in a world that is worse than George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Valson Thampu, principal of St. Stephen’s College, appeared on many channels on 30/8/2012. He faced hostile questioning on Times Now.

Many channels condemned St. Stephen’s College for not allowing Unmukt Chand to sit for exams though the college was following Delhi University rules. As per those rules students in general should have 66.66% attendance and students who are sportspersons should have 33.33% attendance to appear for exams. Unmukt Chand had only 8% attendance. The principal did not have the power to waive attendance requirement. Valson Thampu said he had sent Unmukt Chand to meet vice chancellor who could waive the requirement but vice chancellor being busy Unmukt Chand could not meet him.

Kirti Azad said his attendance was worse than that of Unmukt Chand. He had 5.7% attendance. His principal and professors supported him. If the college had allowed Kirti Azad to sit for exams in contravention of prevalent rules it was wrong.

Kavita Sharma, former principal of Hindu College, said they had helped Gautam Gambhir. They had special classes for him.

Jerry Fernandes, Deepak Mukharji and Sunil Bikhchandani defended the college. Jerry Fernandes asked whether the issue would have been raised if India had not won the U-19 World Cup or reached the final. I have another question. What if the captain had been Laloo Prasad Yadav’s son and the team had lost all its matches and did not reach even the semi-final?

Valson Thampu said hype is created. After one month no one will remember.

Kirti Azad’s father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a Congress politician. When he was chief minister of Bihar the speaker had ruled that he could not be the leader of Legislative Assembly as he was not an elected member of the Legislative Assembly. The speaker had to quit.

India had won U-19 World Cup in 2000 and 2008. Both times there was not much hype though in 2008 an event management company had hired students to welcome the cricketers when they landed at Bangalore airport at night. Boys were paid 200 rupees each, girls 1,000 rupees each.

Some exaggerate the importance of cricket in India and call it a religion. One company that bought cricket telecast rights could not make profit. Now another company holds telecast rights at higher amount. IPL teams have not made profit. Kochi Tuskers disappeared after one season. Many players have not received payment for 2012 season. Deccan Chronicle pledged its IPL franchise to banks. DLF did not renew IPL sponsorship.

Sports quota for admission in colleges should be abolished. It is difficult to get admissions in good colleges in Delhi where first cut-off percentage is 100%. Even after final cut-off students with 90% marks do not get admission. It is unfair to give the seat of a student who has 90% marks to someone who has 74% marks in sports quota, more so when he cannot even maintain 33.33% attendance. It is not fair to demand special classes for sportspersons. Sportspersons should choose between college and sport. If they want degree they can do correspondence course. Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal did not attend college.

Vested interests manipulate media and create hysteria. Serious issues are forgotten. A girl in Delhi, 16 years old and Class XI student, had gone to a market in Prashant Vihar around 10.30 p.m. on 29/8/2012 to recharge her mobile phone. Nine young men misbehaved with her. She called two friends on mobile who came in a car and picked her up. The group of nine criminals followed them in another car, blocked the car of girl, pulled out girl’s friends, battered and robbed them. The criminals raped the girl in the car. TV channels did not report the incident and hold discussions on it. Abduction, battery, robbery and rape in Delhi are ignored by news channels. Have Delhi and central governments co-opted news channels? Something is rotten in Indian news channels.

Kapil Sibal made a mess of education. Promoting students from Std I to Std VIII even if they fail annual exams has ruined education. Now there is a proposal to do away with annual exams. His interference in Unmukt Chand case is not good.

Are we a country governed by rule of law? Where is the equality mentioned in the constitution? S. M. Krishna and Ajay Maken interfered in selection of tennis players for Olympics. Two pairs of men’s doubles were sent. They returned without medal.

On 31/8/2012 at 7 p.m. DU VC Dinesh Singh in a press conference said Unmukt Chand will be allowed to go to second year. He spoke of balance. One cannot get Maths (Honours) degree without attending maths classes.

IPL is a commercial venture. When Unmukt Chand played in IPL he did not represent college, university, Delhi, North Zone or India. Absence from college to play in IPL should not be condoned or permitted even if it is for two matches and six days. Those who want to make sports their career and want to attend college with low attendance should join physical education colleges.

No Nobel Prize for Economics

Right is right even if nobody is right. Wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong, every TV channel is wrong, every newsreader and anchor is wrong, every newspaper and magazine is wrong, every yearbook is wrong, Supreme Court is wrong.

Amartya Sen did not win Nobel Prize for Economics. Paul Krugman did not win Nobel Prize for Economics. There is no Nobel Prize for Economics.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel established Nobel Prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Medicine and Peace in his will which he signed on 27 November 1895. The prizes were first given on 10 December 1901.

What is popularly known as Nobel Prize for Economics is Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. Bank of Sweden established this prize in 1968 and first awarded it in 1969. This prize is announced after Nobel Prizes are announced and given together with prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Medicine in Stockholm. Sveriges Riksbank Prize is not Nobel Prize.

Burkha ban in college

St. Aloysius’ College is in news for its rule that students should show their faces in class rooms. Students who come wearing burkha have to show their faces. The rule is in prospectus. Some have called it Burkha ban. Muslim clergy is said to be opposed to the rule.

St. Aloysius’ College has come to the rescue of Muslim female students who are under pressure from Muslim male students to wear burkha. Muslim female students don’t want to wear burkha. Parents of those female students don’t want their daughters to wear burkha.

In West Bengal, Muslim male students had made life difficult for a Muslim female lecturer. She defied them. The management had succumbed to pressure from that Taliban and had transferred the lecturer to some other place.

Colleges have a right to make rules. Students who want to study there must follow the rules. Some years back a college in Bantwal faced such a problem. A Muslim student came to college wearing burkha. Some Hindu students protested and said they too would come wearing religious dress. The Muslim student was asked to stop wearing burkha. A female Muslim lecturer tried to make that Muslim student understand and give up burkha in college but the student did not agree. She stopped attending college. The college management faced hostile questioning by TV channels. Then came Nicolas Sarkozy’s statement “Burkha is not welcome in France.” That flummoxed TV journalists.

Islam does not say a woman should cover her face. Islam says a woman should be modestly dressed. Recently Emir of Qatar visited India. His wife did not cover her face. There is no violation of freedom of religion when Muslim female students are told not to cover their faces in college. Muslim clerics who want Muslim female students to cover their faces should start colleges for them. Muslims have Yenepoya Medical College in Mangalore. They can have other colleges. It is not for Muslims to dictate the rules in Christian colleges.

Till some years back St. Aloysius’ college was a boys’ college.

Sections of population are getting talibanised. Some years back there were no such problems from Muslim female students.

Covering a face by wearing burkha is different from a Sikh wearing turban or a nun wearing her habit. In both cases there is no covering of face. Many Hindu women cover their faces in different ways. The college rule prohibits covering faces and applies to all female students irrespective of religion. There was a report that St. Edward’s School in Simla has banned turbans.

If students come wearing burkha lecturers cannot be sure of the identity of the students. Instead of one student somebody else may be present.

Burkha is a security issue. Terrorists can come wearing burkha. That happened in Kabul. Three men wore burkha and came in a car and got inside the compound of Indian guest house and shot people. In Australia bank robbers used burkha. In three cases babies were stolen by women wearing burkha.

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