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தமிழ் மொழி பேசும் ஒயிலாட்டம்!!!

தவிலுமிங்கே  நல்லநல்ல தாளங்கள கொட்டுது
சலங்கைகளும் கரண்டையில ஓசைகள வெட்டுது
வண்ண வண்ண துணியுமிங்கே காத்துலதான் வீசுது
முப்பாட்டன் முருகன் கதையகூட பாட்டாவே பேசுது
இதுதான் எங்க ஒயிலாட்டம்
தமிழ் மொழி பேசும் ஒயிலாட்டம்

எத்தனையோ ஆட்டமெல்லாம் எங்கிருந்தோ வந்தது
எங்க ஆட்டத்தோட ஈடுகட்ட முடியாம நின்னுது
மதுரையில பிறந்ததாக வரலாறு எழுதுது
பல மேடைகளில் உலகமெல்லாம் கதைகளையும் சொல்லுது
இதுதான் எங்க ஒயிலாட்டம்
தமிழ் மொழி பேசும் ஒயிலாட்டம்

பாண்டியனும் சோழனும் பாலூட்டி வளத்தது
ஊரூரா அலஞ்சுதிரிஞ்சு ஆடிபாடி பிழைச்சுது
அண்டத்தையே ஆட்டம் போடவைக்கும் பாட்ட கேளுடா
அந்த நாட்டியங்கள் வந்தபின்னும் இதுக்கீடு இங்க ஏதுடா???
இதுதான் எங்க ஒயிலாட்டம்
தமிழ் மொழி பேசும் ஒயிலாட்டம்

-சந்தோஷ் மாதேவன்
சென்னை, ஏப்ரல் 26, 2017.

ஒயிலாட்டம் பற்றிய ஓர் விழாவில் அந்தத் தமிழ்க் கலையைச் சிறப்பிக்க வேண்டி பாடுவதற்காக, சகோதரர் கார்த்தி பன்னீர்செல்வத்தின் வேண்டுகோளுக்கிணங்க நான் இயற்றியது. சொல், பொருள் குற்றங்கள் இருப்பின் பொருத்துக் கொள்க. ஏனெனில் நேரமின்மையால் ஒரு சில மணித்துளிகளில் இயற்றிய பா இது.

It’s not funny, but traditional, yet modern

A few years back, the government of California tried a novel method to avoid drought that persisted for over four years in its major city, Los Angeles.

The method which was acclaimed to be the most successful method at the time was to create an artificial thermal blanket over lake ‘Los Angeles Reservoir’. This was done by releasing 96 million shade balls (black rubber balls) to control evaporation of water to put an end to the drought.

Sellur K Raju placing thermocol on water surface at Vaigai reservoir – Source: TNIE

But, when a similar method was attempted by a politician of Tamil Nadu, the entire social media went crazy. Sellur K Raju, Minister of Cooperatives Society Department, inaugurated this new method of covering the reservoir of the Vaigai river to control evaporation.

Regarding this, I had a conversation with a senior professor from Anna University’s Centre for Water Resources, who said, “This could seem to be a very funny method, but it has been practised across the world in various formats. These shade balls are till now used to protect water from evaporating and that is what he tried to replicate in Tamil Nadu.”

The professor further pointed out that the only fault here made is implementing that technique in a dynamic water body which moved the thermocol layers ashore. “However, this method could be successful if it is  tried in stagnant water of smaller water bodies like lakes and tanks,” he added.

Californian government officials releasing shade balls over Los Angeles Reservoir – Source: Shutterstock

However, when these shade balls were used in Los Angeles, there were some drawbacks too. According to a report by Daily Mail,

hydrologists said that, the black rubber spheres could simply fuel the amount of bacteria in the water, ultimately heading to taps and showers in people’s homes. “The black spheres form a thermal blanket which provides a new surface area for bacteria to breed,” criticised a water quality analyst from Los Angeles at that time.

But, for this, Tamils have been following a natural method for over 2,000 years, according to Tamil linguists. V N Somasundaram, a Tamil enthusiast and writer enlightened, “Tamil emperors, mainly Cholas and Pandyas, were so strong in water management. They had a number of natural methods to control evaporation by covering lakes and tanks too”. He said Sangam literature shows evidences of usage of several water creepers to cover surfaces of water in lakes.

Aagay thamarai spread over water surface of Uyyakondan Canal in Trichy city – Source: skyscrappercity.com

“The well-known neer thamarai or aagaya thamarai (water hyacinth) is used to cover the layer of water in lakes and ponds. This creeper will easily grow over the surface of water in a very short span of time, stopping evaporation. The advantage is that aagaya thamarai does not even require more water to grow,” Somasundaram said.

He said this technique has been modernised these days by using rubber or thermocol for immediate solution. “Even these water creepers are nowadays considered as unwanted vegetation and are removed by civic body officials”, Somasundaram added.

Sellur Raju’s attempt is appreciable but the technicalities in implementation of the Rs 10 lakh worth project should have been taken care with more seriousness. Unfortunately, this as usual has now turned out to be a concept of trolling and meme making in the social media.

Nothing here for me to say more than quoting Tiruvalluvar.

“எப்பொருள் யார்யார்வாய்க் கேட்பினும் அப்பொருள்
மெய்ப்பொருள் காண்ப தறிவு”

குறள் 423: அறிவுடமை

“Wisdom is in deep inquiry of words and intentions
Not in trusting the lips that may utter for deception”

Couplet 423: Wisdom

Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, April 22, 2017

Garden turns desert post political dramas

Until a month back, it was Chennai’s Poes Garden that was with high media and public attention due to all political dramas occurring in the State. The tiny road stretch which is hardly half a kilometer long was the news making spot for whole of the State. But, the scenario has completely went upside down within a fortnight and especially in the past three days, Poes Garden has almost gone into a deep sleep posing a deserted look.

The deserted view of Poes Garden

When I visited the neighbourhood of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s residence at Poes Garden today, I could see that the locality which used to be under the surveillance of a five level security guards is completely open to commuters. The default pose of security personnel holding weapons, those signal jammer, barricades, metal detectors and all other security equipment were found missing except for a dozen of police personnel who were roaming in the streets.

Earlier, it would not be a mammoth task after a number of security checks to reach the gateway of Veda Nilayam, residence of Jayalalithaa. But now, only two private security guards are deployed that too at the entrance of Veda Nilayam.

When I started conversing with one of the private security personnel at the entrance of Jayalalithaa’s residence, he said out of frustration, “Not like the earlier times, but  now the security has been brought down completely for this area. It would be like a festival in those times but now its not like that”. However, he further said that the residence of their Amma is still protected with at least a handful of security personnel.

Despite his friendly nature, the security personnel did not allow me to click a picture of the entrance of Veda Nilayam which I had to do without his knowledge hiding behind the power junction box.

Captured the entrance of Veda Nilayam hiding behind TNEB transfomer as I was not allowed to take the picture 

When asked how frequent these delegates, MLAs and ministers visit the place, the security personnel said, “Yes, a lot of ministers and MLAs come here often and walk into the residence of Amma. They feel this as a temple of their political career”.

However, it seemed to be an exaggerated version of the security personnel regarding the visit of any MLA or minister. One of the shop owners in Poes Garden (to whom I did not reveal myself as a journalist) said, “We are open throughout the daytime and the most part of evening everyday. From my shop it would be clearly visible for us and as far as to our knowledge, we have not seen any car entering there. Only one or two cars would come here that too on very rare instances”.

He told me that, Poes Garden lost its buzzing scenarios much earlier that no one is interested to visit the place after the death of Jayalalithaa. “Even until VK Sasikala was convicted, there were some gatherings and cadre groups, but after that, the place lost its true identity”, the shop owner expressed in a sad note. “These political cadres are so opportunistic that they have ignored this place completely once it lost its worth”, the shop keeper added.

While, according to one of the police personnel deployed for security at Poes Garden, only the maids, cooks, gardeners and servants are allowed inside Veda Nilayam and no one is residing there at present.

AIADMK headquarters posing like a desert

Meanwhile, the status of AIADMK headquarters is still worse. Not even 10 cadres of this 1.5 crore membered party were there. And I could not find even a single person to answer my queries except for the party’s founder MG Ramachandran who was standing as statue in the premises.

– Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, April 20, 2017.

Maanagaram: This metro’s gonna knock you down

This is quiet a delayed viewer’s note (No, not because of the request of Vishal) I’m penning for a movie which had released about a month back but still has been running successfully (by this, I mean the real meaning of the phrase ‘running successfully’). My friend and I had been searching for a movie to watch and were surfing through all online booking platforms. As we had watched almost all movies (of our interest) from Tamil and English that were released in the past fortnight, we had no option than to watch a movie again. For this my immediate and only option was ‘Maanagaram’ which we had already watched on the first day of its release. Despite a very handful of screens showing the movie, we could find a best time to watch without affecting my office hours.

The main reason I chose this movie was the apt time of its release which was just a couple of weeks after I moved to Chennai. I am very sure that this movie will stay close to my heart forever just for reflecting my initial experiences with this metro on and off its culture, people and of course the traffic. Once we entered the screen, I was really surprised to see that almost 80 per cent of the seats were full except for the first three rows. Having crossed over 30 days from its released, this movie still has huge turnout even on a weekday. That was the moment I truly realised that how this movie had influenced the public by capturing and screening the ground reality of this peculiar metro.

Ideological aspect:

The movie revolves around several characters who are not named at all till the end. And you can identify these characters anywhere on the road you travel. A newbie in town, an innocent who is not clear with routes, a bad cop, a good cop, a contemporary youth who loves both the city and his girl to the core and above all a wannabe gangster. With these characters the movie delivers the idea it actually wants to propose about the city and its denizens. The highlight of all this is that the movie does not compromise itself in terms of commercialism too. As far as I have read, these lead roles of the movie were not named because they could be fitted on to any X or Y individual in Chennai. That is the USP of Maanagaram as the movie could push everyone (at least who hail/hailed from Chennai) who watch that into a point where they can relate it personally.

There are some sequences and dialogues that reflect the true colours of the city and the peak of all of them is the conversation between the character of Charlie who is an innocent cab driver and Shri who is a one day old Chennaiite. The dialogues they share for and against the city are written with a serious depth that every dialogue of both the character gets an applause from the spectators. Especially the question raised by Shri, ‘Nadu roadla orurthana potu adikkiranga aana kekka oruthan varala’ followed by the response of Charlie, ‘Neenga kepingala sir. Nama ketaa thana namaku nadakkum pothu kepaanga’ and that’s Chennai. The whole movie is based on these two lines and the director himself refers the same response of Charlie later in the movie.

Similarly, the dialogue of Shri defining ‘Othaa’ is another significant scene of the movie. Earlier, my reviewer friend Gilbert had referred that the Censor Board has acted sensibly this time by not muting that word as it would have spoilt the emotion conveyed if beeped.

Cinematic aspect:

Maanagaram is one of the very few movies which has the ideology reflecting in all grounds. Even the commercial elements of the movie carries the shades of Chennai throughout. Starting from the very beginning, the movie’s title cards are made with different scenes of Chennai that includes even a small mouse running through the underground drainage lines. The name card of the movie is written in a sky scrapper look alike font depicting the nature of the city. A couple of songs from previous movies like ‘Enga ooru Madrasu’ have been used as a reference in the movie to keep in the mood of the movie.

As the entire story happens in one day, the director has chosen Madras day for that. Reflecting the scenes of the city with rushing roads, the day opens with the voice of a hustle-bustle RJ of a radio channel about Madras day and closes with a soft spoken RJ with a melodramatic when the roads are empty late in the night.

Script aspect and director’s cut:

It is completely the director Lokesh Kanagaraj’s show throughout the movie and all is because of the strong and a contented script he has dealt with. This plot of the movie could have been said in any kind of a screenplay. But, to keep the spectators engaged and entertained for the whole run time, he has filmed it an action thriller with a lot of comical and romantic elements too. The screenplay of the movie is so coincidental that the director could successfully restrict the script within those five characters alone but has not at any point slipped off his logical path. The movie does not require a separate character for humour elements as most of the characters have been given dialogues that could be serious for them but resemble a dark comedy and bursts the screen out of laughter. The sequence where the two gangsters stand in front of the car and yell at the villain character PKP is one example for this dark comedy. Apart from the story line and the screenplay, the dialogues of the script stands out and carries the complete mood of the movie to next level.

Casting aspect:

As the movie deals with common people with no names, the director has played a very conscious game in picking out the cast with both tremendous performing skills and with faces of a next-door person. Be it Shri, Sundeep Kishan, Regina and Charlie, all of them look like they are ones who were born to do the role. Above all, it is Ramadoss (Munees Khan) who is the show stealer. Every dialogue he speaks in serious situations is just like ‘Who the hell is he?’. What a performance has delivered, and that’s really mind blowing. Sundeep has played the role of a typical Chennai boy who raises against odds. His facial expressions are so ferocious in serious scene while romantic in love scenes which has helped him show his versatility. On the other hand, Shri has come out with yet another plot which will help him go places. Yet I feel that he is still being under rated. Meanwhile, the character of Charlie and his emotions shows he is no less in experience. Despite being an artist playing very comical roles in the past like painter Gopal (Govaalu) in Friends, Charlie has easily faded out those shades to play a very serious and innocent role in Maanagaram. Similarly, the roles in negative shades including the three gangsters, the bad cop and PKP, I should say that all of them have well fitted into the character.


Technical aspect:

The technical aspect of the movie is the one which would justify that Maangaram is ‘picture-perfect’. Because all three major technicians, editor Philomin Raj, music director Javed Riaz and cinematographer Selvakumar, have stood as the other three pillars along with the director. As the second half of the movie completely takes place in the night, the cinematographer has worked really hard to show the dark colours of the city. The scissors of Philomin has worked out well without spoiling the mood especially in the scenes where the story runs in different directions for different characters. While, the songs and original score of Riaz are like a treat to the spectators as they act an equilibrium to the eye catching visuals of Maanagaram.

Overall view:

There is a dialogue for Charlie’s character that says, ‘Intha ooruku pozhaikka vantha yellarum intha oora romba kora solluvaan. Aana yevanum intha oora gaali pannitu pogamaatan’. Justifying this, the newbie to the city says at the end, ‘Intha ooru thaan enaku 25,000 roova sambalam kuduthu nammala vaazha veikka poguthu. Manushanga panra thappukaga oora yen kora sollanum’ and concludes with a song carrying the lyrics, ‘This metro’s gonna knock you down’. And that’s Maanagaram is all about. Simply real and perfect!!!

-Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, April 12, 2017.

The above viewer’s note is completely the perception of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.

Kaatru Veliyidai: The wind is not enough

For people who know me personally and for those who read my blog posts frequently, they know that I don’t write movie criticism much often though I am a movie buff. Because, I won’t get convinced with my own viewer’s note unless or until it is in a detailed manner. So, I restricted myself by writing viewer’s note for movies that make a larger impact like Iraivi and Kanavu Vaariyam or for that movies which I had watched with a third perception like Kabali and Bairavaa. But once I had watched ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’, it stood completely in a different category from the other two. This is not just going to be criticism for the movie but I have tried to write the entire idea and the mind set behind it according to my perception.



Technical aspect:

Firstly, I wanna appreciate the efforts invested by legendary technicians like AR Rahman, Ravi Varman and Vairamuthu to lift the plot of Kaatru Veliyidai. Rahman never lets down fans throughout the complete running time as his music is the only thing that shows the emotions of the movie. While, Ravi Varman’s lens has played some poly chromatic role in various geographies from the large open run ways of Srinagar to the dark cells of Rawalpindi prison via colourful wedding celebrations and Leh’s long roads. Finally its Vairamuthu, who gives the soul to the body of ARR’s notes. Especially, the way he has handled the language in ‘Sarattu Vandila’ in a decent yet an intimate way is just awesome (By the time I wrote this line, this legend has been conferred with his seventh national award for the song Entha Pakkam from Dharmadurai). As usual, like all other Mani Ratnam movies, the technicians have did their job exceptionally well in Kaatru Veliyidai too. While for the editor Sreekar Prasad, I feel that he wouldn’t have had much work except for pulling down the run time of the movie. Sources said that he really had trimmed some seven to 10 minutes from the final copy too.

Casting aspect:

To say about the cast, it has some high performing talents like Delhi Ganesh, KPAC Lalithaa, Karthi Sivakumar and Aditi Rao. To be frank, this star cast has been wasted completely by the director. The peak of it is that, I really wonder why Delhi Ganesh was roped in to the project. Felt like is he really playing a role in the movie? This out performing actor has played hardly five scenes in the movie. Even in this short span he scores with some minute face expressions and dialogues. To say in particular, the dialogue ‘Ini unaku soru kedaiyaathu’, that man cracks the entire screen with laughter. While, Aditi, who has been shown more in close up shots steals the eyes of the spectators with the glow and exploding expressions despite the mismatch of the lip sink in some places spoiled during dubbing. The greatest disappointment of the cast was Karthi, who doesn’t fit into the role except for the physique he had developed for playing this role of an air force personnel. He fails to deliver the right expression in right time both for romance and serious portions of the movie. And his looks with beard in the movie is much attractive (reminds Paruthiveeran and Aayirathil Oruvan) than the clean shaven one.

Plot? aspect:

Once the team had announced that Kaatru Veilyidai would be a love story in a war backdrop, I expected it to the levels of the Hollywood blockbuster Pearl Harbour, Greek movie Ouzeri Tsitsanis (A Cloudy Sunday) and the Burma sequence of Anegan. But to my disappointment, it is not even up to the level of Mani Ratnam’s previous venture Uyire (Dil Se), the third release in his terror trilogy. In the first frame, the screen received an applause for the name card ‘A Mani Ratnam Film’ which is my first encounter as I haven’t had watched a movie of this director in theater before. Still to be precise, I rarely watch Mani Ratnam movies. But, this movie pulled me towards theater as this is a new plot (air force) to the sub-continent cinema. This so called ‘war-love story’ neither has love nor war. Or was that me who cannot find them both from the plot. For an instance, the sequences misunderstanding between the lead pair lacked the punch and a strong reasoning which could not justify why the hero starves to meet her again from the edge of a war.

Ideology aspect: What does Kaatru Veliyidai actually say?

All this crooked mind of a budding journalist could trace from the movie was a flowing conspiracy of this Hindutva idealist Mani Ratnam. Every time when Mani Ratnam makes a movie of Hindu-Muslim contradiction, the movie would not just be speaking about the issue but would also be igniting the society again on it. To put it in the other words, each of his movies like Roja, Bombay, Uyire and now Kaatru Veliyidai are/were being released as a spark plug to create the fire again in the society. When we see this from ground zero it would still be legible.

His movie Bombay showed the real colours of the Hindu Muslim commotion much after it really had got over. The effect of the commotion filmed by Mani Ratnam was so intense that there were some stones and petrol bombs pelted at his house. The movie really had created the spark that was put off with much efforts. While, in Uyire, the movie had war more than the love which illogically ends up killing the lead pair. In that movie, he would be justifying the terrorist character played by Manisha Koirala. That movie was also released just a year before Kargil war. That doesn’t mean Uyire was the reason for Kargil war. But, that movie was a catalyst to sustain the hatred war between Hindu-Muslim communities.

Now in Kaatru Veliyidai, this movie has some irrelevant scenes that don’t even touch the plot. In a scene, where the hero manages to escape from the Pakistani prison he kills several police personnel. The police personnel being Pakistanis does not mean they are bad. But, the killing act of hero is kind of justified when seen on screen. It is their duty to catch an escaped convict who is a prisoner of war and put him back into the cell, but the police officials are portrayed like some Nambiyaar type villains. There is an another sequence in the movie where, the national flag of Pakistan is hit down by the hero for which the entire theater looses mind and shouts out of joy as if they had won a war.

From the way the hatred was portrayed and was received by the audience, all I could read was how this movie induced the anti-Pakistan ideology. Even from the reference of Khyber pass in the Himalayan range, which the hero says that he could enter India safely through that, I felt that Mani Ratnam is bringing in the Muslim invasion from the pages of history. Unfortunately, the Aryan invasion too was through the same path, which he would have kind of forgot. In the present situation of swelling up issues in this intolerant country, I really wonder what is the real need for Mani Ratnam to make a movie on Kargil war background despite the Indian Air Force has been fighting many other wars till date.

Director’s cut:

As usual like all other Mani Ratnam films, Kaatru Veliyidai too stands like a story with all artificial elements. However, it also reminds a lot of previous movies of Mani Ratnam. Like Alaipayuthe, Mouna Ragam, Roja and Iruvar. The same old set of dialogues, the unrealistic modulation of voices (you will experience it all with just one character of RJ Balaji which is completely useless in the movie) and the culture which we cannot even relate to at all. Even the way a little kid character speaks is felt like an over performance and is completely unnatural like it happened in Bombay, Anjali and Kannathil Muthamittal. But there are some instances in the movie that speaks his experience as a director. One such scene is the torch flashed into the retina of the hero by the heroine in their very first encounter while in the previous scene hero says that ‘En kadantha kaalathula iruntha orey velicham ava thaan’. But, such less number of gestures alone cannot make a movie right?

Overall aspect:

Luckily as the movie was poor in content and lacking in the genre it was meant to be it ended up a disappointment to most of the spectators as far as I could see from the faces in the theatre where I watched. If it had really been a complete one like Bombay, Roja or Uyire, I get this vision of the after effects at least hypothetically like an ideology again exploiting the mind set of this restless Union of States.

-Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, April 7, 2017.

The above viewer’s note is completely the perception of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.

When funding is denied, everything is denied

I am really struck at the end of this article since I could not land in a conclusion about the education system. I leave it to the readers.

When equality is denied, everything is denied.‘ This was the words in the last Facebook post of Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham before his alleged suicide. It has left behind a lot of questions in the minds of educationalists and academicians on the current situation of research scholars being discriminated inside campuses, facing obstacles and delay in getting fellowship for their projects.

When I recently interacted with several research scholars hailing from various parts of Tamil Nadu in some of the premier State-run institutions, including Madras University, Bharathidasan University and Anna University, I could see that the researchers face many hurdles.

Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham

Last year, when Rohith Vemula , a research scholar from the University of Hyderabad, committed suicide, in his suicide note, he had mentioned, ‘I have to get seven months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that.‘ This triggered a larger debate among educationalists at that time and now in the case of Muthukrishnan too the same debate has been occurring again as he mentions in his Facebook posts regarding the delay in scholarship being sanctioned. Leaving the actual reasons of his death, be it suicide of personal reasons or of an induced background, it is all about the delay in funding of their fellowship.

From my interactions with scholars and academicians, I studied that the same hurdle is being faced by scholars across the country, which in turn reflect in their Ph.D deadline.

Rohith Vemula

Firstly, the project guides and the principal investigators say that the UGC, which is the funding agency for many junior research fellowships, does not maintain transparency in the funding process.

An Assistant Professor from the Economics Department of Madras University, who has guided many Ph.D scholars, said on condition of anonymity, “I was guiding a student who was admitted to the university to do Ph.D with a fellowship of Rs 14,000 per month, excluding HRA and additional expenses like travel allowance, books purchase and stationery expenses. She was sanctioned with Rs 3.17 lakh as fellowship to complete her Ph.D. This has to be provided by the UGC under two installments. She received the first installment when she commenced her project in 2012. We claimed the second installment and it was sanctioned on 22 November 2013, but she has not received the fellowship amount till date.”

Further, the professor said that around four academic years have passed since the first sanctioning date. But, as the amount was not handed over to the scholar, the research work has paused. This is because the fellowship was the only source of support for the scholar to complete the research.

Same is in the case of another research scholar from the Department of Marine Science, Bharathidasan University, Trichy. He told me, ‘I have completed almost 90 per cent part of my research project and have only to do the final stages of lab testing with the samples collected for which equipment is available only in Pune. The testing would cost around Rs 2.5 lakh. As my fellowship is getting delayed, my research has been put on hold.’

He also said his family was completely dependent on him and as his project gets delayed, his family was going through a tough financial phase. ‘More than this, being a male, I have to only tackle financial and deadline problems. I have seen some female scholars face harassment that they cannot even speak out about,’ he added.

As far as Bharathidasan University is concerned, at present, a total of 119 research projects are being carried out by scholars with funds allocated by various funding agencies, including UGC, DST, CSIR and DRDO.

Another Assistant Professor who has guided Ph.D scholars from the same campus, said, ‘We have sent a couple of reminders to the UGC and have even contacted them through phone and in person. Every time we ask them, their stock reply would be: “Yeah, it is our fault. We will soon pay the fellowship amount.” But, there would not be any response after that, he said sadly.

Further I took this to the notice of Prince Gajendra Babu , a senior educationist from Chennai, who said, “The main reason for the delay in paying the stipend and fellowship to the graduates in the country is the lack of allocation for education by the Central government in its budgets.”

According to him, a government should allocate 6 per cent of the GDP of a country for education every year as per the Kothari Commission of 1962. But, no government has so far allocated this amount in any of the annual budgets and they restrict it to 2.5 to 3.5 per cent. The maximum amount reached was 4 per cent till this year.

He also said if such a situation persists in the allocation of funds for education in the country, then how could an institute pay a scholar. When asked about campus discrimination and harassment of scholars on the campus, he said, ‘Unless the government comes forward to accept that there is campus discrimination, it would not take efforts to identify the forms and persons involved. If we fail to address the issue even now it shows that we are not a developed society.’

Apparently, a senior faculty member from Anna University – College of Engineering, Guindy, explained the anomalies in the methodology of UGC’s funding. He said, “The UGC does not maintain transparency in funding for research scholars but expects the scholars and the principal investigators to submit detailed accounts of utilisation of the fund – even if they bought stationery items like white papers, it must be accounted for.” He said that the UGC does not even have a proper acknowledgement system for the same.

– Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, March 18, 2017