Published: 08th May 2017
After blind Tamil prof at Presidency College gets hit with memo for missing classes during Muthamil Vizha, visually impaired students fast in protest
Visually challenged professor of Tamil at Chennai's notorious Presidency College was joined by over 40 visually challenged students as they protested at Chepauk, calling for the memo to be rolled back
Protests and Presidency College are almost synonymous. Such is the reputation of the State-run college and its history of violent political turmoil. This protest is decidedly an eye-opener. As many as forty students from the college, all of them visually impaired, sat in protest at Chepauk to protest the issuing of a memo against their visually challenged Tamil professor K Velu. Where most protests have either been by teachers against students or vice versa, this certainly was a refreshing change-over.
Why is a memo such a big deal, you may ask. Simple. A disciplinary action of this sort could dash Velu's dream of being appointed as a Principal of some Government College in TN, making him only the third person to achieve this distinction in the State's academic history
What's the memo for? Velu was issued a memo recently for being absent for classes without just cause during the first week of March. Velu's explanation is different, "We were all involved in a Muthamil Vizha on March 3 and all the staff and students were involved in it. There was no need for the memo because it was unfair. We were working and were very much present," he stated contritely.
Why is a memo such a big deal, you may ask. Simple. A disciplinary action of this sort could dash Velu's dream of being appointed as a Principal of some Government College in TN, making him only the third person to achieve this distinction in the State's academic history. "During the selection process, one of the things that are looked at very sternly in the confidential reports are the issuance of memos. This alone can damage my chances. I have not worked for 26 years despite my blindness for it to go to waste in one shot," said the agony-ridden Associate Professor.
The demands: The list professor Velu wants to give up his hunger strike
Velu alleged that the memo itself was issued as part of a conspiracy to derail his ambition by Presidency College's current management. "I have written complaints to everyone in the Higher Education Department but no action has been taken. When my students heard of my plight, they immediately told me that we should make our voices heard and that is why we organised this fast," he added vehemently. Having worked in Presidency for 6 years, Velu serves as the PhD guide for 7 visually challenged students and 2 orthopedically challenged ones — and is one of the more motivational figures for diff-abled students on campus.
The visually challenged protestors are not just pushing for a rescinding of the memo, but they're also demanding that the Principal gives it in writing that no further unnecessary action would be inflicted on Velu. Presidency College Principal T Pramananda Perumal could not be reached for comment.