Vinod Anand | 23 Sep 2013

AU’s BIRTH ANNIVERSARY ON 23 SEPTEMBER SHOULD WE REJOICE OR WEEP? (Vinod Anand) The grand University of Allahabad will be celebrating its glorious birth anniversary on Sept 23. But one question tormenting many of us is: Should we celebrate or mourn on this occasion. In the decades gone by quite a few days before the thrilling occasion, there used to be fireworks in anticipation of the wonderful time that was in store for us. Today most people, including teachers, must have forgotten the occasion or the sanctity of the momentous day Instead of fireworks; we are horrified to be greeted with gunshots and bomb-blasts. One group after the blood of the other! Why is this happening? It is very easy to blame the police for its failure to maintain law and order in and around the campus. But have the University people tried to do that? Haven’t they abdicated their authority to the administration? There was a time when even the British Commissioner would not dare to send police into the .campus without the permission of the Vice Chancellor. The roles have been reversed because Vice Chancellors have become ineffective, slaves to group politics or to their own whims and fancies which help neither them nor the University. I will not comment on the details of the recent murder of a young student that horrified the citizens. Who would ever like life to be snuffed out of a young man who was destined to be a soldier-or-commander of the nation tomorrow? That murder should not have taken place. It could have been averted-but only some decades ago when the, University authorities could enforce discipline The first thing that strikes one is How is it that Lodges in which a large number of students are staying are unmanned by a senior staffer to ensure that they follow the rules? Why hasn’t the University thought of passing a resolution making it mandatory for all lodges having a fixed number of students to have a senior staffer stay on the premises or to select a prefect, a monitor from the lodge inmates themselves so that some sort of control and discipline could be maintained? In these lodges how can one stop some, unruly elements from drinking wine, consuming drugs in extreme cases, smuggling in girls for late-night fun or indulging in any type of merry-making which transgresses the code of discipline? The University authorities will have to evolve a code of conduct for these lodges or else create more accommodation for the students by opening more hostels And what about the hostels? In the past the hostel superintendent or warden used to stay on the premises and take regular rounds to ensure that every one was in his room by 9 pm. But in the instant case the ill-fated student went out round 11 pm to participate in birthday celebrations! This was never so in the past. I recall the late BBL Saxena (former Vice Chancellor of Meerut and Agra Universities) telling me some months before his death about the manner in which he would enforce discipline among SSL Hostel students when he was their superintendent. He revealed that round 9pm he would stir out of his bungalow and walk towards the hostel He had a long torch with a big headlight. He would walk from his residence to the hostel. And his torchlight was visible from a distance Dr BBL Saxena said that the moment the hostellers saw the torch light they would flee into their rooms and none was to be seen around. Dr B.N.Asthana, former VC of Kanpur University, confirmed this as he too was once an inmate of SSL Hostel. Mr. Kunwar Saxena, retired Sales Tax Commissioner, who was a hosteller much later, confirmed this and said discipline of high order was maintained and none could violate it and go unpunished. He has several interesting anecdotes to recall too if there was any case of ragging, a full-fledged inquiry was held and justice done. That is why discipline in those days was so high. If the University enjoyed a high reputation, one of the reasons was that students maintained discipline. It was not forced on them. It came from within when we saw how methodical our professors were. We emulated what we saw, Today how can you blame the rudderless youngsters when neither the teachers nor the Vice Chancellors bother to take care of their flock?” Kunwar Saxena said he was reminded of an Urdu couplet of Sahir Ludhiyanvi who had expressed the anguish of the rudderless students thus: ‘Hum ghamzada hain layen kahan se khushi ke geet, Den ge vohi jo payenge is zindagi se hum’ Shouldn’t there be an attempt to ensure that hostel superintendents stay on the premises? But staying there won’t be enough. They will ha ye to cultivate proper rapport with the boys. And this can happen if they first win over the students by taking their lectures in classrooms and giving them such food for thought as might not be available easily elsewhere. Dr Amaranatha Jha, Professor Ishwari Prasad, Prof K. K. Bhattacharya, Prof S. C.Deb, Professor J. K. Mehta, Professor P.D.Hajela, Prof. S.L.Parmar to name only a few, were revered for their inexhaustible knowledge. That is why such teachers could control even a mob of angry students by a mere command in a loud voice. We need that era back again. But will that dawn ever be seen? Kya woh subah kabhi to aaye gi?     PAGE  PAGE 2