Monday, September 5, 2011


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Pondicherry University, one of the most dynamic of Central Universities in the country celebrated the Teacher's Day in a grand manner. The Vice Chancellor, Professor J A K Tareen has given back to the Faculty of the University the dignity that was denied to it be by individuals who cannot be named. His vision of making the university a leading center for highe learning is being realised and he repeatedly speaks of the low ranking Indian institutions of higher learning get in International surveys such as the London Times list and the Shanghai list. His remedy is to increase the student base of the UNiversity, thereby maving from what can be called fishing in a "small pond" for "crabs and fishes" to an ocean where "whales and sharks" are the quarry--the potential Nobel Prize winners. There is an implecable logic in this analogy and I hope that this grand vision unfloded in this University is realised.

The Chief Guest was Professor M Anandakrishnan, Chairman of the Board of Governors, IIT, Kanpur. His pep talk suited the occasion and he boldly said that the reason for the declining standard of education was he rampant political interference. He pointedly said that if Sir S Radhkrishnan were to revisit the Universities with which he was associated with like BHU, Andhra UNiversity and Madras University he would be shocked at the falling standards. Identity politics coupled with political interference were the two single most important factors for the lack of credible universities in India. Pondicherry University remains an exception primarily because the Vice Chancellor remains committed to making the University a world class institution.

The Best Teacher Awards were presented to the outstanding Faculty members. The teachers were evaluated on the basis of 20 paramenters and the those who scored more than 4.5 on the 5.0 scale were selected for the awards. It was an honour to receive this prestigeous award.

The phenomenal growth of the University has led to the University being ranked at # 16 in a recent survey done by the weekly magazine India Today. Anyone who has been associated with the institution as an oldtimer (those who joined at the very inception of the Univeristy and not those who wafted in with the gentle breeze) will say with conviction that what they see on the Campus is a total transformation of the academic culture and administrative practices.

I wish the Univerity, its Vice Chancellor, Professor J A K Tareen and the students the very best.

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