Friday, January 27, 2006


'We the People', hosted by Barkha Dutt is being shot in Chennai this Sunday, 29th Jan. The topic is 'Is Chennai conservative?' If you'd like to participate please mail, with all your contact details and what you do. (This does not guarantee participation since there is an outer limit) Not surprisingly we've got lots of confirmations from people with liberal views. So it will be great if you're actually someone who supports a dress code and conservatism. In case the mail bounces... just mail me. :)

Monday, January 23, 2006


The Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the Anna University has banned cell phones on campus. So of course it cannot be used it class (a rule students WANT to obey) but it cannot even be used after class anywhere on campus. And, if you are even found in possession of one it is immediately confiscated. Now, in a protest letter to President Kalam, students write, “We are being frisked humiliatingly – an ignominy normally reserved for terrorists.”

The VC has also introduced a highly unpopular dress code. He thinks that by placing a blanket ban on cell phones and forcing people to dress a certain way he is introducing a greater degree of professionalism into college functioning. But little of all this he practices himself. He turned up half an hour late for my interview without intimating me of the delay. His arrival was preceded by a servile peon who carried in two of his cell phones while he walked in a little later with the third. And despite Anna University being a green campus, he zips around in his spanking, air-conditioned TATA Safari while some students have to walk nearly half a kilometer under the blazing sun just to get some lunch.

The letter written to the President is being circulated to gather signatures. It is written straight from the heart and shows the vice-chancellor in very poor light. The VC therefore is desperate to get hold of the letter. His office called and asked me for a copy and they were told kindly to go to hell.

But beyond the dress code and cell phone ban and harassment, students allege that there has been little academic advancement over the years. They say the syllabus has not been updated, labs lack proper equipment and the faculty does not spark their imagination. A moribund academic environment and the Talibanisation of the social and cultural climate on campus is the real Anna University today where the product just does not match the brand.