Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: General

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.

Criminal journalists

Journalists who accompany hooligans, molesters and vandals and shoot the scenes and show them on TV are criminals. TV channels want to increase their TRPs and abet crimes. Journalists who abet and film crimes should be prosecuted for abetment to crime. TV channels should be barred from showing clips of hooligans and molesters beating and molesting women or someone being slapped more than once per hour.

A journalist is in jail for orchestrating the molestation of a girl outside a pub in Guwahati. His colleagues gave lame excuses for not helping the girl and talked about passers-by not helping the girl. His channel got wide publicity. In Mangalore journalists were present when goons entered a pub and attacked girls. In the latest case journalists of at least three channels accompanied the goons who attacked women in Morning Mist, a resort.

Journalists accompanying goons, filming beating, molestation, vandalism and such crimes, and telecast of such things should be crimes with punishment of minimum 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. TV channels committing such crimes should be fined minimum 100 crore rupees. Sections should be added in Indian Penal Code for that effect.

Some journalists conduct sting operations to lure simple people and ruin their lives. Their TV channels get publicity for some days. In Delhi one channel ruined the reputation of a teacher. The truth came out soon and she was saved. Some journalists have political affiliations. Journalists of Tehelka conduct sting operations that benefit Congress and hurt other parties. When some other journalists conduct sting operations that hurt Congress and benefit other parties, Tehelka journalists find fault with such sting operations. During TV discussions Vinod Sharma, Kumar Ketkar and Dileep Padgaonkar speak on the side of Congress, Swapan Dasgupta speaks on the side of BJP.

House of Lords

House of Lords consists of 26 Anglican bishops (Lords Spiritual), 92 hereditary peers, life peers and peeresses and judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Law Lords).

There is talk of reforming House of Lords. On 10 July 2012 David Cameron’s government introduced a bill in House of Commons for reform of House of Lords. Its size was to be reduced from 826 to 450. It will be called Senate and 80% of the members will be elected. The demand for reform is from Liberal Democrats who are in coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives. More than reform it is replacement of House of Lords with another house.

House of Lords is a unique feature of UK. It is different from upper houses of other countries. Its members are not elected. It is part of British tradition.

House of Lords should remain as it is or should be abolished. Having elected members in House of Lords does not make sense. There is no point in having members elected for one time 15-years terms.

UK is a combination of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. House of Lords represents aristocracy. If aristocracy is abolished there is no need for another house for democracy.

House of Lords had many powers which were significantly reduced in 1911 and 1949. In 1999 the number of hereditary peers was restricted to 92.

It is strange that UK wants to imitate USA which has Senate. In USA, Senate has two representatives from each state. This is done to protect the influence of small states. Continental Congresses and Congress of the Confederation were single houses. In House of Representatives the number may vary from one to 54. In Senate there is no domination of small states by large states.

There is no need for upper house in legislatures if the members are directly or indirectly elected. One directly elected house is enough. Many times upper house is used to accommodate people who cannot get elected directly.

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