My academic pursuits provided me opportunities to seek out class university centres abroad and establish edifying and exhilarating interactions. I found their precincts tolerant, infused with warmth and populated by individuals decently endowed with erudition and above all, intensely human and humble. I find many Indian academic establishments, by contrast, byzantine and stifling and the conduct of the faculty unsavoury.
During one of my peregrinations as the president of the Urology Society of India, I happened to stray into the campus of a large medical institution with academic pretensions set up in the memory of victims of an unmatched and catastrophic industrial accident of recent times.
As I was meandering around its most elegantly manicured campus, I witnessed an interesting, and yet a very revolting scene. I saw the chairman of a surgical specialty department driving in and parking his awesome limousine in the prominently marked and allotted territory. As the car stalled, the front door was immediately opened by a uniformed waiting orderly who promptly grabbed the chairman's briefcase. The exalted personage strutted with great aplomb and disappeared into the innards of the institution, the orderly obsequiously trekking behind carrying the briefcase.
To any balanced and sensible beholder, this scene and the gentleman's theatrics reeked of the feudalistic and hierarchical character which plagues our academic institutions. Evidently the reasons why the institution, I am alluding to, has made little impact both at the state and national level are not far to seek.
Any institution which provides sanctuary to such demented characters is likely to remain retarded throughout its existence. The grandeur of its formidable buildings, elegance of its expansive clipped lawns, nor even it Olympic sized swimming pool can prevent the institution's advance to oblivion.
May the souls of the Bhopal tragedy rest in peace. Amen....