Universities as academic ghettos

Apropos of Dr Vikram Chadha’s article “Time to restore the majesty of Vice-Chancellors” (Perspective, Jan 23), when non-academic people occupy this august office, the maximum harm is done to the academic ambience in a university. Very few VCs these days are visionaries or philosophers. They are mere degree holders who have a deep contempt for freedom of thought, originality of ideas and contempt for those scholars who have some convictions of their own. Such unimaginative VCs have converted the highest seats of learning into academic ghettos.

As a research scholar, I had worked on the topic “Common people in the plays of William Shakespeare”. I had requested the present VC, MD University, Rohtak, to allow me to read out the contents of my published research articles in his presence and hold a discussion session with the members of the research committee. I got a cryptic reply after a gap of three months, “Rules don’t allow”.

If my thesis has already been adjudged best by my supervisor, how can my case be dismissed on the pretext of following rules? My research essays closely connected with my thesis have been published. My original work remains unacknowledged. Why? Shouldn’t there be a mechanism to address such cases in which research scholars have fallen out with their guides on ideological grounds?



What is the use of constituting a research committee in a department if it cannot assess, evaluate and discuss the contents of a research scholar’s thesis? What is then the contribution of research and increasing the frontiers of knowledge? I had sent five of my published research articles to General Bhim Singh, the then VC of MD University, but in vain.

I appeal to the Haryana Governor and the President of India to help me get justice. How can the MD University authorities ignore my genuine scholarship?



Earlier, we were lucky to have personalities like Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Dr C.R. Reddy, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Sir A.L. Mudaliar and Dr C.D. Deshmukh as Vice-Chancellors. But today the case is totally different.

Dr Radhakrishnan rose to become the President of India. Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee was a High Court Judge. Sir Mudaliar, a top gynaecologist and Dr Deshmukh, a brilliant member of the Indian Civil Service and former Union Finance Minister. All of them have left an indelible impression on the university system.

Earlier, scholars commanded the respect of all teachers, students, non-teaching staff, parents and society, but no longer. The Robbins Committee of UK said that “no other enterprise would impose on its Chairman, the variety and burden of work as the modern university requires of its Vice-Chancellor.”

I endorse the writer’s view that nowadays aspirants for vice-chancellor’s post beg for favour from political masters. This trend must be reversed.

OM PARKASH WADHWA, Head (Public Admn), Government College, Gohana

VIP nuisance

This refers to “VIP nuisance” by C.D. Verma. “I never give way to a scoundrel” and “But I do, sir,” have been attributed to a tall bulky lord and Reynold who had painted a portrait of Samuel Johnson, a great literary figure of 18th century England. The account is factually wrong. In reality, A.G. Gardinar (1865-1946) a famous essayist has made a reference to these remarks in his essay On saying please. He writes, “The polite man may lose the material advantage, but he always has the spiritual victory. I commend to the liftman a story of Chesterfield. In his time, the London streets were without pavements of today, and the man who “took the wall” had driest footing. “I never give the wall to a scoundrel,” said a man who met Chesterfield, one day in the street. “I always do,” said Chesterfield, stepping with a bow into the road.”

Lord Chesterfield (1695-1773), was a famous English statesman, author and patron of letters. “Took the wall” means kept nearest to the wall. “To yield the wall” was to show deference to a person by allowing him or her to keep nearest to the wall, where it was dry.

Chander Parkash Rahi, Patiala

On sticky turf

A new theatre of charges and counter-charges unfolds in Prabhjot Singh’s 
On sticky turf” (Spectrum, Jan 30). Such controversies will accelerate the further decline of the game. Ironically, it is concerned neither with the state of the ‘national’ game nor the welfare of the players; but with its chief characters each trying to keep his apple-cart intact at the cost of ‘poor’ hockey.

Rach, whose appointment as chief coach will always be an exercise in ambiguity, has behaved more like an opportunist-politician and less like a sportsman while labelling Indian hockey as a “madhouse”.

Likewise, Narindra Batra, after remaining party to all the vital affairs of the federation for a long period, has started acting as a rebel and declaring his player-career ‘higher’ than both K.P.S. Gill and Jothikumaran. Even a novice knows that a good administrator, official and coach need not always be a good player.

Surjeet Mann, Sangrur

Mirror image

Apropos of Khushwant Singh’s write-up “Distorted mirrors” (Saturday Extra, Jan 22), people love to use a mirror to check their appearance but the mirror reflects a true image. It grasps and absorbs the whole of one’s personality and reflects it truthfully. There is no love or malice in it. It is neither cruel nor indifferent but the people who look into them, distort and manipulate it to suit their own machinations. Politicians, film stars and their cahoots, being egotist and self-centred, can’t assimilate reality. So they distort the mirror and become distorted themselves.

Tarsem S. Bumrah, Batala


No doubt, Mughal-e-Azam has remained a milestone in Indian cinema. After having watched the movie, my friend critically lamented that there was no song by Dilip Kumar, that is, Salim. My friend was silenced when I said, “Princes did not sing and go around trees”.

An incident during the making of the movie is worth mentioning. While discussing music, K.Asif the great producer-director wanted music director Naushad to get Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the doyen of Patiala Gharana to sing the song Jogan Ban Ke which was to be played in the background with Dilip Kumar and Madhubala enacting those unforgettable love scenes.

When Naushad approached the great vocalist, he turned it down with the disdain it deserved as he felt below his dignity to sing for films. Since Naushad insisted, Khan Sahib asked for an astronomical amount of Rs 25,000 (unheard of in those days when even Lata and Rafi were paid only Rs 1,000 for a song) to discourage Naushad. But he had a blank cheque from Asif and readily agreed, much to the great surprise of the maestro. This is how that great classical piece became a part and parcel of the legend of the movie.

H.S. Sandhu, Panchkula


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