The Race to the Position of the Vice-Chancellor
My university is going through a phase which is funny as well as tragic- funny at the surface; tragic if you think about it. As it is, universities have turned into degree distribution centers; examination centers and to add to the woe, we have a position called ‘Vice-Chancellor’. Professors salivate to get the coveted post- money, ‘rutba’, revenge, ‘aish’ and what not. VCship is a professor’s gateway to IAS dreams. At last, you feel like an IAS; no more, a mere ‘Master’; an officer now- stenos, university vehicle, peons, bungalow, tours, power to harm and sometimes grease palm with ‘money’. Ahaha, VCship. What a heaven - no more burden of books, rubbish pretence of research, useless academic pursuits.
Every professor dreams of becoming VC and those who don’t are forced to dream the dream by constant hammering, ‘You’ll be VC one day; you’re VC stuff…’ and the babble goes on. We Indians have endless penchant for maneuvering, of playing games. As least one year before the term of the sitting VC ends, the armory of prospective VCs is ready. Bag and baggage tied, money-shoney ready, contacts oiled, updated. The race begins. Visits to influential people in the higher circles, search for appropriate ‘neta’, links to deliver money if needed - ahaha, what a life, what a dream run. A three members committee gives three names to the governor, who finally ticks the name of the lucky guy. One member has to be nominated by the university, one by the governor himself and one by the CM. Nomination by the university is the trickiest. Caste, party, affiliation etc are the various considerations. Endless politics, moves, counter moves go into settling for name who’ll have some say in settling the three names. The university remains agog with excitement. Let Shakespeare go to hell. Who, the hell, cares foe Einstein or Hawkins? ‘Kaun banega Kulpati. Kaun banega Kulpati…’ - the eternal question. Life and death depends on it. Friends, foes, conspirers, enemies- all merge. New formations are formed. New ‘mathematics’, new ‘chemistry’ are written.
What a ‘Tamasha’? What a spectacle Indian professors have made of themselves. No professors here; only clerks pretending to be professors. Those getting hefty salaries have not touched books for months, years. What an example of non-productivity. They’re paid for being ‘gyani’, knowledgeable!!! What an irony!!!Those who ‘once upon a time’ had become VCs turn totally useless to the system. Guiding, doing research gets below dignity. Such ‘lost lovers’ constantly tell you tales of their VCship, When I was VC, I killed a lion; when I was VC, I climbed Mount Everest…’ – it goes on; the cacophony. The memories that they had met the governor or the president, that they had attended meetings in 5star hotels or had terminated the services of a professor- these ‘lost lovers’, these exVcs form a hallowed, exclusive group. They are a class apart. The system must bear them. The system must pay the price of having ‘once’ made them VCs. The white elephants of the system, forever craving for one more cup, one more peg, one more sip of ‘power’ that was ‘once’ theirs.
What a sham? No one seems to care. We need a systemic change to fix this VCship menace. The question needs to be permanently fixed, ‘Kaun banega Kulpati?’