Continued from "The Devil Strikes Sudhi" University Memoirs VII
University Memoirs VIII
Even for a university insider like me, this part came as a shock. I distinctly remember the morning. My lethargic, sleepy but very doting wife had brought my cup of morning tea. My sweet, fat, clumsy wife always tried to get up at six in the morning, finish tea and kitchen settling by seven and start her dear morning walk thereafter. She always had this mission in mind to finish her morning walk, which I preferred to call morning ‘chakallas’ (gossip) with friends by eight. She always wanted to be over with breakfast by nine and thereafter she always wanted to be busy appeasing the gods with various baths and sweetmeats till the time she wanted. But funnily enough, she ran late in her schedule more often than not. This lateness gave her face such a lovely earnest look which I always cherished.
Well, gossips are generated and gossips are buried. Time passes. Nothing happens. ... The Registrar and his associate ... had lost reputation but the system had not lost such Registrars and Deputy Registrars.
I really wondered how can a woman be so happy and at peace with herself serving an egoist like me all her life. Thank God, I had a life partner who never troubled, whose soul did not boil over shopping, travelling etc. Indian wives have become rare in India now. Anyway, I’ve digressed.
To come back to the point, my wife eagerly brought my tea with newspapers tucked under her arms. As always, without looking at her, I knew the exact spot of her armpits from where to pull my morning ‘masala’ i.e. newspapers. But that day, I had to look up at her shocked face. Since the papers did not come out in one go, I looked up and there was disbelief written all over the middle-aged face to my simple wife. I said, ‘What happened?’ She said, ‘Look at the newspapers! This is how the daughters of the nation are becoming doctors!’ I never knew girls sold themselves in order to get their copies ‘made.’ I slowly grasped the story. ‘Copy banwana’ (copies to be made) was the permanent ‘dhandha’ of the confidential and examination sections of the university. But this time the beans were totally spilled. Even a varsity insect like me didn’t know the full extent of the business. The newspaper report ran like this:
University Registrar and Deputy Registrar
Arrested for Running a Sex Racket
Last evening, a third year student of MBBS filed a complaint at the police station accusing the Registrar and the Deputy Registrar of the University for prompting her to indulge in sex. In return of her sexual favors, they promised her second year copies being revaluated, recounted and her withheld result being declared. Priya Mehta, a bright student of the Medical College was tempted to enter the sex racket by one of her seniors in the girls’ hostel. She discussed her distressful condition with her hostel mates. When she told that her second year result was withheld by the University for no apparent reason, she was advised to meet an experienced ‘didi’ of the hostel. The experienced ‘didi’ said that there was a way out if Priya wanted to save her future and wanted to become a doctor. When asked about the way, the ‘didi’ told Priya to please the Registrar. When Priya failed to understand, the experienced ‘didi’ told her with a wink that she would have to visit the Registrar in the university guest house during nights and would have to please him or whomsoever he wishes. In return, her record would be set straight and she would walk out of the Medical College with flying colors.
Priya met the Registrar with her grievances in his office and to her utter shock, he too invited her to the guest house. Priya did a kind of survey at her own level and found that many of her seniors in the Medical College had earlier succumbed to the pressure and had indeed provided sex in return of degrees. Unable to come to terms with the disgraceful and wrong demands of the university administration, Priya lodged a complaint first in the media and then in the police station with whatever proof she had collected.
Media expose ensured that some action was taken at her complaint. Since the Registrar belongs to the constituency of the Chief Minister, the matter could not be brushed under the carpet. The opposition is creating a hue and cry over the complaint. Tomorrow, there’s expected to be a walk out in the assembly over the issue. The police have taken the Registrar and his close associate the Deputy Registrar of the Confidential Section of the university into custody for further investigation and questioning in the matter.’
As usual, any news related to the varsity came with the picture of the varsity logo and photograph of the main gate. The logo proclaimed the importance to light in life etc. The university gate had by then become a symbol of the wicked gossip in the town. It was a kind of the last nail in the coffin of university’s reputation.
Well, gossips are generated and gossips are buried. Time passes. Nothing happens. Priya for her own personal case might have won but there were innumerable Priyas roaming around. The case went on. The Registrar and his associate came out of prison. They had lost reputation but the system had not lost such Registrars and Deputy Registrars.
The interesting point was that as though the society wanted to take away the sheen away from a woman’s achievements. A woman might be a doctor, a professor or an engineer or a lawyer but the credit of her success, her rise in society would always be associated with the fact that she was a ‘woman’. Gender would never be lost on her, not even for a second. It was as though someone comes to a woman and says, ‘I’ll spit on your face and then give you a kilogram of gold.’ What use is there of such gold? It was all a question of nerves. It was as though the system never wanted to see a self-respecting woman and centuries of patriarchy was shouting from the roof top, ‘The place of women is in ‘chulha-chowka’ (the hearth). The patriarch doesn’t want to see women in the public sphere. Remove all women from the realm of success, power, recognition and respect. How this ‘tyag ki devi’ (goddess who keeps sacrificing herself all her life) has now become a self-styled modern, questioning, efficient creature? Remove her. Take her away.’
The men of the varsity suffered from ‘shout syndrome’. UGC NET examinations, bank tests, PSC screening- all such examinations required massive administrative movement. Seating arrangement, roll number allotment on seats, the random order or the serpentine order of sitting, the attendance sheets, the verification of candidature and several other things required meticulous planning and deft execution of those plans. Now, naturally, the big responsibility could never be given to a woman. She would spill out. She would not be able to manage such a big show. So, the superior gender obliged. The obnoxious patriarch with his huge team would carry the operations. Women would of course be needed as pepper in a pizza. So, women would be called as invigilators, assistants, deputy at the most. The beauty would start as the time for examination would come close. The boss-man, the patriarch, egoist, the bastard and one or two of his men assistants with whom the authority rested, started shouting, particularly at women. The temperatures would rise. ‘Sir ka BP badha hua hai’, everyone would whisper. Students would be entering from all directions. ‘Close this gate, open that gate, send a peon to the entrance to tell direction, take this sheet, return that sheet’, the bastard patriarch would shout. He would get the license to insult anyone and everyone. On every such examination day, one woman or the other would be shouted at. Even a junior male professor would take the liberty of shouting at his senior lady professor. Only sirs had blood pressure. The madams were never expected to have blood pressure, leave alone high blood pressure.
There was another technique known as ‘hot and cold treatment’. Apart from bosses, child molesters are also known to practice the technique. A young lady lecturer or a girl research scholar or a lady part-time teacher would first be shouted at and then immediately after treated softly. The hot and cold method was very effective and sometimes yielded immediate results. After public insult, the girl would start crying, hereafter the bastard-boss would softly put his hand on her head and then on her shoulder and then… India is great. There’s no parallel to thousands of years of ‘culture’ of this great nation.
Continued to "K and SDP: A Feud"
NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real situation/s, institution/s or individual/s is a coincidence.