Published: 10th November 2017
Pune University Registrar: Donor wanted only a vegetarian, teetotaller and yogi to get Gold Medal. We just follow their wishes
Social media is going bonkers over Pune University's award criteria. But the varsity is palming off the responsibility. On to its donors
While everyone is raging and trolling the Savitribai Phule Pune University for issuing a notification that only a vegetarian teetotaller could win the Keertankar Shelar Mama Gold Medal, here's what the varsity had to say - It wasn't us. That's right. When we got in touch with Pune University Registrar Arvind D Shaligram, he first clarified that this was not for all their awards, "See, this is not a rule (for all awards) This is related to one of the gold medals that was instituted in 2006."
He went on to explain that most of the awards were instituted and given by donors and patrons, who also had certain conditions about who could win it, "The gold medals are generally instituted from some donations received from donors. One of the donors had made some conditions. Since all the awards are sponsored by outsiders, we follow their terms and conditions," he explained rather matter-of-factly.
These are the 10 points listed as Eligibility Criteria for the Award. Needless to say, they're a bit bizarre when put together:
1) Students have to be from the Science discipline. No trouble there
2) Students have to have passed 1st or 2nd Division in X, XII or Degree. Again, smooth sailing
3) Students should know Indian values, culture and must also follow them. Okay, then
4) Students should have participated in sports and a national/international level and also do yoga, pranayam etc. The PM would love that one
5) Students should have a cultural talent like singing, dancing or in drama. Artsy move
6) Students should be well-aware and should have participated in social and environmental empowerment and causes. Should have donated blood. That's bloody sensitive
7) Students should have no bad habits such as smoking, drinking etc. Virtuous move, that
8) If there is no Masters student available, a Bachelors student may be considered. Very considerate
9) Students on the list must have completed these four clauses: 100, 109, 110 and 143. Rule book time
10) Students should also follow clause 168, failing which, the above conditions will make no sense. Start at the top, yo
Except, the conditions that donors insist on relate to academic performance, discipline, conduct, appearance even. Yoga practices, dietary restrictions, status as a blood donor and their being a drinker or not usually don't matter. But not at Pune University. Incidentally, the Keertankar Shelar Mama Gold Medal is given for the general performance of the students and not for any particular subject.
The Registrar brushed aside all the flak and even said that this was being blown out of proportion, "We have 100 such awards that are handed out. This circular is put out every year but this year it created an uproar. It could be because of some misunderstanding. It is a routine process. Probably, this year someone must have been triggered for some reason," he said suspiciously.
This is how social media reacted:
Well, the college students themselves are finding it ridiculous, it looks like twitterati has also felt the same. All India Congress Committee Joint secretary, Ruchi Gupta comment reads " This is ridiculous. Pune University has mandated that only vegetarian and non alcohol-imbibing students will be eligible for one award. The National Students Union of India will protest & also fight legally"
And a few tweets which read, Gold medals likely to be reserved only for Brahmins shows that the University itself is creating a difference among students, despite the fact that students from Indian institutions have already been fighting for different reasons in the past