Quleen Kaur Bijral Bijral
Columnist, The Logical Indian
“Intimidated, terrorised and deprived of any agency to protest, the life of a scholar is indeed pathetically hostaged under an unethical guide”.
Tough, taxing and patience-killing it is to pursue Ph.D. Still this difficult course is very much acceptable by one and all scholars.
The complex as well as long lists of books that a scholar has to read is also acceptable.
The slow pace of time which is consumed to study Ph.D. is also acceptable. Even when it leaves no scope for socializing with friends or family. One also has to study during vacations, appear in diverse conferences and seminars, meet experts here and there, visit libraries and do research out of the classroom to stay on the run. This is also heartily acceptable.
One hurdle after another, there is the stringent check of plagiarism that is also welcomed by the scholars. Changing rules and regulations which come as a shock to those about to finish their Ph.D. is also acceptable.
Rejections of research papers, editing and re-editing, taking up demanding projects etc. also does not provoke any objection from the community of scholars. After all, it is this refined, systematic and threadbare grilling which will transform a student into a learned scholar of high intellectual calibre.
Coming straight to the point, it is Academic Corruption which demoralises, harasses and even subjugates the scholars that many have stories to tell but cannot. They cannot object as life of a scholar under an unethical guide is criminally hostaged. What is this academic corruption that blocks the voice of the scholar? The scholar cannot report an unethical guide as accountability, transparency and stringency exercised on the students, is shockingly absent to supervise the unprincipled guides and teachers.
It is a detestable custom of many a guides to extort/force research papers out of the scholars without even mentioning the original scholar as the author.
Scholars are forced to write research papers for their guides who present/publish these papers at various conferences and seminars without giving credit to the original scholar. Appaling, isn’t?
To add more, scholars who carefully prepare research papers to fulfil academic requirements of Ph.D. study, their names are pushed down in the hierarchy as the guides and their peers allot themselves as First and Second author respectively. It is to be noted, the points or grades allocated to first author is more than those for the later authors. Naturally then, the scholar is at a serious loss. This not only morally defeats the scholar but also diminishes his/her chance at scoring points to secure a good job or even accomplishing a good grade of Ph.D. study.
Not only this, projects/ books along with good grants which are applied for by the guides from UGC are executed entirely on the skills, resources and time of the scholar who are not even credited as a fellow author or even assistant scholar.
You may ask, why the scholar does not protest.
How is a scholar expected to dispute this ferment of corrupt acts? He/she cannot. The visible fear of his/her study being delayed, the fear of inviting the guide’s anger or should one say revenge who can easily and without remorse cut down the scholar’s grades etc. – such threats are always scarily looming hence ransoming the scholar’s career even life at the whims of the guide.
The scholar as a pitiable subaltern cannot speak and even when he/she does, the entire academic fraternity unites to condemn, scandalise and coerce the scholar to eat his protest. The scholar is made to apologise for his rebellious or blasphemous misconduct of apparently tarnishing the sanctity of teacherhood.
Scholars who should be engrossed in their study are forced to perform lowly duties as making cups of tea for the guides and their guests, doing the guides’ administrative work now and then, even doing personal errands for the guides like writing homework for their kids, booking tickets, grocery to attire shopping, getting house cleaned and so forth on a recurring basis.
On any slight objection, the open threat of procrastinating/delaying/sabotaging the Ph.D. award or decreasing the academic score is declared. Along with intentional use of foul language and gross mistreatment to further deter the scholar and show him his/her place.
Intimidated, terrorised and deprived of any agency to protest, the life of a scholar is indeed pathetically hostaged under an unethical guide.
It is an enriching exercise to have scholars perform teaching duties as it boost confidence, widens their learning horizon, and leads to an intellectual interaction. What is miserable that unethical guides dump most of their own teaching classes on the scholars not with the intention that they would learn but to abuse their power.
Before this article invites any aggressive criticism for being rudely rebellious, as usually these issues do, it is vital to clear the air. It is important to say this, as in the crowd of hostile debating, quarrelling and disputing, the important issue gets dumped in the trash bin.
The article is a plea not an attack – emphasis on request over revolt. It is requested that the way strict rules are kept for the scholars to keep them in line, which are most welcomed, some basic rules and channels of accountability should also be kept to supervise the misconduct of the guides.
It is an appeal as such criminal harshness will deter many a students to become scholars and consequently the think tank of India would be greatly reduced.
Absolute power in the hands of the unethical guides has corrupted even the most refined teachers into immoral educators. This corruption should be checked as it is very much visibly infecting our higher institutions. Some teachers as guides are chronically, unashamedly and without remorse abusing their power to break the future of the scholar and the country at large.
For a vivid portrayal of how Ph.D. is done in India , it is best to watch the classic and evergreen satire presented by the brilliant Jaspal Bhatti in one of his programmes Flop Show. The episode intensely exposes the corruption in Ph.D. study to show how it is an alarming truth which needs immediate rectification.
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