Continued from University Memoirs - I
(University Memoirs - II)
It is not that the university did not have learned men. A professor of astronomy was associated with NASA. Another professor knew biodiversity of the province so well that he could tell any plant by its name. One professor worked for Archeological Survey of India. One was a known critic and yet another went abroad for lecturing. All this kept on happening in the university. The one who was a critic had eighteen books to his credit. His name was Rameshji. Whenever anybody sat with him or talked to him, he never missed to refer to his books. Rameshji had also penned down certain terrible lines of so called poetry. The awards that he had received, the honors that had been conferred on him, the lectures that he had given, the important people whom he knew – all this valuable information was always on his tips.
It’s a tragedy how Indian men communicate with women. The whole paradigm never goes out of the exploiter-exploited syndrome. A woman is talking, laughing and joking; it means that she’ll be ‘available’ sooner or later.
Everyone knew the languages in which his great literary masterpieces had been translated. In short, Rameshji was full of himself. He loved himself excessively. When he captured the mike, which he often did, you were sure of being blessed for coming one hour. He had so much to say. His mouth opened wide like a cavern of words. His voice was heavy. His pronunciation was rustic. But he never minded. Words poured out all the time from his cavern all the time. He was never at a loss as to what to say. He had an answer for everything. He had a readymade philosophy for all issues. His life had all the references that ever needed to be made. His unfathomable knowledge had all answers.
Rameshji either did not know the torture he caused to other people or he enjoyed the torture that he inflicted, or he did not care. No matter who was the boss, Rameshji always managed to get the compeering of all important events. Be it a national event, or visit of some ‘mantriji’, Rameshji was always there on the dais with his starched kurta and dhoti. We looked at him and got assured of blissful hours ahead. We had resigned to our fate. It was written on our forehead that a sizeable time of our life will go in listening to this narcissist brute. We had no option. We were helpless.
The professor of Biodiversity was another gentleman. He was middle-aged. His wife was homely. The homely wife also penned down verses.
There’re so many in our country who write poetry.
Every police officer is a poet.
Every Hindi professor is a poet.
Bored housewives are poets.
Everyone has a treasure to share.
Modern poetry without meter or rhyme
has made poetry a very common commodity.
The most outstanding case of poetry comes with police officers. All DIGs, IGs have books of poems, fore-worded by some solicitor general or some chief of some training academy. The problem with powerful poets is that once they write poems, they wish ordinary creatures like university professors to review their books, pour down heavy praise on the painful jumble that they have created. These officers even get to manage poetry sessions in universities, critical review programs exclusively based on their poems. They somehow wish to enter into the elite class of great poets. They feel that promotion of their poetry is more important than creation of poetry, that since they have managed everything in life, greatness can also be managed. I don’t know how many poetry sessions Nirala or Baba Nagarjuna ever managed in their lives. But it is amusing to note the pompous confidence of these self conceited officers.
But all this has nothing to do with our Biodiversity professor. His name was Nagarji. Nagarji had two sons. Both were doing very well; both were happily married; both even cared for their parents. Nagarji’s case seemed perfect. The only ache was his continuous persuading of younger colleagues to join his ‘para-political’ outfit. Some teachers used to be his favorite target in this. Fiery, outspoken, genuine, knowledgeable, dissatisfied with the system – he searched such people and enticed them to enter the organization he was associated with. There was a whole nexus of ‘organization’ workers in the campus. Underfed, oily-haired, complex, mean – such were those people. Their extra qualification was lack of sophistication. Members of the organization could say anything to anyone; they had the prerogative of insulting those who were better than them, who were superior to them.
It’s a tragedy how Indian men communicate with women. The whole paradigm never goes out of the exploiter-exploited syndrome. A woman is talking, laughing and joking; it means that she’ll be ‘available’ sooner or later. There’s this very queer monkey-watching approach towards women. Men gaze and women are gazed. Men and women do not meet on an intellectual plane. Men among themselves can have very meaningful debates, dialogues and discussions but as soon as a woman enters, she has to relate on an emotional or physical or on a very casual basis. Women and brain are contradictory terms. It’s still so. I’ve visited so many universities, attended several seminars. The serious business is always left to men. The dais is invariably male-dominated. If a woman manages to get there, rest assured that she must be the announcer, nothing more. It’s indeed pathetic that Indian men lose out so much by not being able to communicate with women on an intellectual basis. It’s an abuse for a woman if you say, ‘Aare, she’s very intelligent, very ‘gyaani’! Or ‘she has more brain than needed’ or ‘she’s self-sufficient; she does not need anyone.’ These are very threatening proclamations for men. They want women at work place as pepper in pizza, ‘masala’ for jokes, mere time-pass.
If they had to insult a woman, their most effective tool was to say that she was a loose-character. They laughed with such deep insult towards a woman that it gave you real goose bumps. ‘Oye, don’t talk about her. Ha, Ha, Ha… She’s above our level. She’s not ordinary. Ha, Ha, Ha… She only goes with the boss.’ This was their style of talk. Or even better, ‘Look at her when she walks. Better look from behind, Ha, Ha, Ha…’
I’ve seen professors talking like this. They take pride in the fact they are brutes. The working woman is the easy target of jibes. The frustration and the complex arises from the realization that they, their wives, their children have this inborn crudeness and they can never be like the pleasant working woman; so better laugh at her. In our great country, laughing at a woman is an ultimate tool. If nothing is working against a woman, just laugh at her, malign her, ruin her reputation and the victory will be yours. It’s as though the whole life of an Indian woman depends on one single jeer. All her worth, work, talent, understanding, devotion to family – just everything can be nullified in moments. Laugh at her and she is gone. The society knows this fact only too well.
It all started with the jibe of a washer some five thousand years back… but that’s quite a different tale to tell… Or is it? Do we keep repeating the same tale? I don’t want to get into this. It really needs a huge head with folds and folds of unfathomable knowledge explain why Indian women are held so weak before public shame? All your History, Mythology, Psychology, Sociology and perhaps Anatomy also will go into explaining this queer phenomenon. I’ve often thought about it but haven’t got complete answers.
So organizations had a deadly network in and around the varsity. The messengers visited homes of faculty, clerks, and officers and lured them into their own fold. They often offered posts within different organizations. They told that they would help in getting you highly connected. You were assured of knowing very big people. These big people were again, greedy eyed oldies, full of high talk and very cheap conduct. These organizations were also a method of becoming a Vice-chancellor for frustrated, useless, spent-up professors. I’ve seen so many organization VCs.
One of them was Professor J. N. B. Kamrogi. Kamrogi, as his name suggests was a sexual maniac. He was a lot many things more. He was corrupt and took heavy amounts of bribe. He was a sadist and relished the pain of others. Half of his face and some parts of body had scars; he did his best to hide them. Academically, he was weak and again tried to hide his ignorance. He loved mediocrity. He loved bossing over others. He enjoyed in showing his superiority over others. He liked people touching his feet over and over again. He could not stand good, strong individuals. He favored pigmies. Spoiling others’ life was his favorite engagement. He loved confusing people. He loved derailing people from their path. He twisted everything. He delighted in distorting values and interpreting them wrongly.
He was as cunning as a fox. He planned everything in advance. He had a huge network of people working for him. He decided things in uttermost detail and then executed them exactly as planned. His mission in life was to destroy people, their reputation, their family, and their mental peace, just everything. He had developed his ‘gotra’ very carefully. Entry into his ‘gotra’ was through the bodily act for the women and for men, it was help in getting the fleshy prey. He was a special man. He had a presence of his own, and an evil aura of his own. As he walked into an area, bad luck, bad omen, and evil thoughts entered that space. Looking at him, I realized what Marlowe meant when Mephistopheles told Faustus that he carried his hell with himself.
Mephistopheles is never out of hell. His presence is hell.
Meeting this man convinced me of all superstitions of ill omens, and dark designs. And yes, this gentleman also practiced black magic. He was a complete package in himself. He was ill fate, personified. A person coming into his contact lost some of her/his ground. Loss was the normal consequence of meeting this man. If anyone escaped sizeable loss even after coming into his contact, he used to be extremely amused. Then he used to take greater interest in ruining the strong prey. He was charmed by challenges. If a female form resisted, he was excited. Otherwise, his life used to be dull. It was a matter of moments of interest for him to get a female form undressed. He took immense pleasure in the process of delay, if such delay was ever caused by any prey. He was a bundle of ugliness, complexes, evilness, cruelty and negativity. He was unique, a Vice-chancellor of his own kind. He had converted evil into an art. He destroyed people beautifully and completely. Looking at him I fully grasped the meaning of Milton’s phrase ‘bottomless perdition’. There was no lowest point of behavior with Kamrogi. The moment you thought that nothing could go lower than a particular utterance or act, he would come up with a newer low. He had no level, no sense of standard, no rule to abide by, and no norms to live by.
The tale of his period extends from corner to corner. He exploited people. He harassed people. He sat with professors late during nights, planning things, talking vulgarly, and even roaming on empty streets. He had sex with uncountable number of women and girls. His reputation spread far and wide. Female folk tickled at the very thought of doing ‘it’ with a Vice-chancellor. He traveled like a bee. He never slept. He always traveled with some women or girls. His arrangement was perfect. He used a government rest house at a nearby place as his ‘sleepery’. He prayed a lot. He loved religion. He prayed publicly. He made others pray. He always said that that the amulet of his ‘good deed’ was always with him, protecting him. This amulet of ‘good deed’ was permanently fixed at the rest house, his ‘sleepery’. He was a great orator. He told people to love their country, to live and to die for country. He appealed to masses to lead a spiritual life. He was a VC with a mass appeal. No other VC had caught the public eye as much as him.
When Kamrogi entered the varsity, he was full of himself. In his twenty-five odd years of service, he had butchered many a destiny. He thought that he would manage everything. He thought that his designs had an answer for everything; he could tackle anyone; he could handle any situation. He entered the varsity like an electric shock. The first day, he called three meetings- one of heads, the other of employee leaders and the third of student leaders. He was planning, weighing people. His plan as usual was to murder the spirit of the institution, to exercise supreme and unquestionable power and finish all that was good. But the people of the varsity did not know his intentions. They foolishly thought that the Vice-chancellor was very strict. They had every reason to say this. In the meetings, he openly insulted professors. His organization was there to take care of him, to manage the chair for him. To be frank, the organization at that time was seated both at the centre as well as the province. He had nothing to worry. People of his ‘gotra’ were scattered everywhere, all over the country. They would not let any harm come to him.
University teachers, poor university teachers- dependent on VCs to promote them, protect them, leave them alone, not harm them, give them extra work and extra bucks. Poor university teachers- opportunist, pitiable, Machiavellian, humble, flatterer, cruel, heartless, all this and much more at the same time! A university is a place that trains you to look innocuous but be sly. Burdened with centuries and centuries of being called ‘guru’, teachers in our country do not know what to be and what to look. There are techniques of being on good terms with everyone, giving correct message and yet strike at your enemy at the right time, malign someone in a most casual way. There are so many techniques. No one is naïve here. Everyone’s an ‘ustad’. Anyway the ‘ustad’ of all ‘ustads’ had come or at least so he thought. University teachers worry a lot about their first impression on a new VC. They equally bother about spoiling the impression of ‘enemy’. For this, they plan together, orchestrate their responses and utterances and then succeed. As for Kamrogi, let’s indulgently call him K. K stand for many things, K for Kal (death), K for ‘kala’ (black), K for ‘kutil’ (cunning) etc.
Continued to "The Picture Gallery of My Varisity: University Memoirs - III"
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real situation/s, institution/s or individual/s is a coincidence.