I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

St. Stephen's in the news, for the wrong reason

Having had associations with the famous college myself, my eyes made their way down the first page of TOI, today, to read how Stephen's lost the F-word.

Frankly, the issue itself is a minor quibble, something which is fit enough for a Delhi Times, but not fit for a newspaper's front page. However, it's TOI and I won't pretend that my opinion matters to them.

As far as my opinion on the issue of F-word itself is concerned, I have always called it Stephen's (with a v). I think that's the correct pronounciation - Wikipedia wants me to pronounce it as /Stivn/, and so does Dictionary.com. In case you still want to continue an ancient or a rustic or a Latin pronounciation, that's also okay with me. (Today, I am in a large-hearted mood). Seriously, this is actually a matter of individual preference.

I tried to find web-resources on this debate, but ended up going around in circles.

*******

By the way, there are larger issues to discuss about college, for sure. For example, this issue of high-handedness with which College treats something as serious as sexual harassment. I think that's worth following up on. If you want evidence of this, read this recent letter by a teacher mentioned in the reports above. (It's a rather long letter, the important parts of which I am quoting below)
...We now have a college in which students are pitted against students, teachers against teachers, students against teachers...karamcharis against karamcharis - every possible permutation and combination of one group against another. The air is so thick with tension and hostility that you can cut it with a knife....

...While there is enthusiastic moral policing by the authorities during the
Rock Show in Harmony, there is remarkable leniency shown towards obscene forms of harassment inflicted on a woman President in the form of simulation of rape of her team members during Mocktaves and sexist posters and leaflets pasted all over College asking her to "go back to the kitchen where she belongs"....

...In his reply to a PIL filed against the College in the High Court for violation of the Ordinance on Sexual Harassment, the Principal has stated that he doesn't want elected committees(as laid down in the Ordinance) because a section of the teachers has "antipathy towards Christian students" and would victimise them if elected to these committees. Even such a defamatory statement with the potential to communally fragment the College (which has had a proud secular 125-year-old record) has not elicited a protest from more than a handful of teachers. Leave alone criticism, even queries are considered a criminal activity (Saurav Sen, you would have been beheaded today!) So much for the Right to Information, and so much for promoting independent thinking and articulation, prerequisites for excellence, in any academic institution. We are now promoting passive subordination to authority and a value system that trains us not just to sneak but to trample on each other to get ahead (infinitely worse than what you saw in the film 'Dead Poets' Society')...

...I have written this long letter to you because I believe that you care about what happens to our College, because each one of us has gained something from it, however small. Just as patriotism can never be mistaken for chauvinism, true loyalty to the College cannot mean simply basking in its 'reputation' while being blind to its decline especially in terms of intellectual freedom. Love of the College would entail preserving our strengths and working on our weaknesses. What is it that you can do?...
I don't have enough facts behind this to comment on it. What I do know is that the tension is real for the last two-three years. In case you think that this is a non-issue (from your point of view, it probably is), then read this piece by Uma Chakravarti.

Yet, this has not been given as much importance as the F-word, inspite of being real news. But come on, how can I expect more from the Slimes anyway? And will someone bring me real news on college?

3 Comments:

Blogger TOR Hershman said...

I always say, PHUCK FONICS.

Stay on Groovi' Safari,
TOR

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 7:59:00 PM

 
Blogger dhoomketu said...

Now, here's something I really couldn't understand. However...

Thursday, August 31, 2006 6:09:00 AM

 
Blogger Rapid I Movement said...

as patriotism can never be mistaken for chauvinism

Sadly, it always...is. As case in hand demonstrates only.

Friday, September 01, 2006 9:31:00 AM

 

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