College in Trouble !

A couple of weeks back, my inbox had a letter that was rather painful. It was not spam announcing a lottery ticket. But a rather disturbing message on the state of affairs of The American College in Madurai. The American College, nourished my dreams. That was were a new me was born. The place where I got my grounding. In theatre. In friendships. In adulthood. In conversation. In discipline. And a whole host of subterraneous elements.

(The college was founded in 1883 by Christian Missionaries).

The transition from school to college remains evergreen in my mind. And therefore memories of the free-space, ‘wind-in-the-hair’, ‘good times’ rush me back to the precincts of the wonderful institution.

The mail states that the college is in trouble. This mail states that the bishop (the Church of South India has some controlling interest in the college) of Madurai has his son-in-law appointed as the bursar of the college. The mails states that there is a plan to build a shopping complex where the football ground stands, as it is more revenue generating. The mail states that the principal of the college has been locked out of his room and a new principal has been appointed ( it goes on to call him a stooge / traitor etc ). The mail states that…

I feel sad. Very sad. Am not sure how true all of that is. I only wish the truth is far from all that’s stated. I am clear in the knowledge that all is not all is not well. That mail is a topper amongst all those mails that have got me scratching my chin as a response to a deep discomfort and pain inside of me.

As a nation, we are comfortable with ambiguity. With points of view. Politics has embraced our lives and has worked its way into society’s DNA. All of which is alright. But any action which has a bearing on education, positive or negative, potentially impacts a generation. And consequently, the ensuing generation(s).

I haven’t heard of such ‘politicizing of education’ of education abroad. I have heard of guns in campus, but this is in a way is worse than that. Virginia Tech had a mad man let loose in campus with guns. Emboldened by mad laws on gun ownership.

Am not sure if this situation is very different. It perhaps is worse. Governing rights of colleges resting with any cabal who have parochial interests will take us away from a beautiful future. Greed combined with a scheming mind sprinkled with a fertile situation and watered by raw power can have an effect that the best Bofors guns cant.

We have seen many such examples in the recent past. St.Stephens college with all its great traditions, not to forget its ‘who-is-who’ alumni list is another surprise example.

What in the name of God, (money & power) are we doing to education? We are supposed to be a country where education and mindsets sets us apart from the rest of the world. In reality its increasingly looking like setting us apart from each other.

There are things which are only things. And there are things which are also signs of other things. So said St.Augustine.

How pristine. How true.

5 thoughts on “College in Trouble !

  1. sorry to hear this Kavi.

    Education is just another business these days!

    Has been for some time I guess…

  2. Jeevan says:

    Its displeasure to see something like a heritage being disturbed. Let’s hope it be a rumor or something.

  3. priya says:

    Its hard to digest. But politics and education go hand in hand in India. You and me cannot stop until people stop paying the huge amount for education.

  4. there was a time when so many people say they will die to defend a just education…and then they secretly bribed to get their children to elite schools. thats how we have become. education tomorrow is from our backyard, not more school yards.

  5. Shiva says:

    This is very sad. I thought, the dirty politics in diocese is only affecting the schools, but they have started enchroaching the colleges too, not even a prestegious institution like American College is spared. The autonomous status is taken for granted too much. Last year I was shocked when I saw the seats being sold so openly, even in such an institution. Lord! save the college…

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