As a Stephanian, I have been rather bemused with all this quota talk. Some fairly prominent alumni have flayed the increase in reservations (Ram Guha and Sanjeev Bikhchandani have very strong opinions on the issue and have written about it), and the associated reduction in cut-off’s for Christian students. But, while Ram and Sanjeev, believe this will lead to a erosion of the ‘academic excellence’ at SSC, I totally disagree, and I’m of the opinion that if college wants to take the road to perdition, let it go straight ahead.
I’ll let you all on to a little secret, the quality of ‘education’ at St. Stephen’s, in most departments (other than Physics and Mathematics, and Maths students can argue about the latter) borders on the average. St. Stephen’s has always been about the crazy people who are in your batch with you.
Crazy but incredibly intelligent individuals, many of whom, including me gave a flying eff about education, since the real learning almost always happened after smoking two or three pudiya’s of the harsh ganja from Mall Road, over coffee and listening to music. And maybe a bottle of whiskey sitting on the roof of Muk East. I will admit to anyone who cares to listen to me, that I hardly ever studied in college, I was far too stoned or too drunk, but I still pulled off some rather good grades, won enough quizzes and even a debate or two to have a decent life and enjoy the company of some great people.
College did not go for a toss last year, it started going for toss at the start of the decade when they started cracking down on the fun. People got suspended for smoking. Cigarettes. College started to become school. SSC was always a liberal outpost when the rest of the country was stuck in the middle ages, today as the country liberalises, particularly on social views, SSC is going back into the past – Bal Thackeray would be proud! What is happening today is natural evolution of the tripe that started happening back then.
I don’t want to buy arguments from either side, because for me SSC is beyond redemption. Being a current day Stephanian is not fun anymore. Heck, seeing some of the faculty members in my department today, I almost want to cry, since they have actually managed to make the English Department worse! Quite an achievement, which I honestly did not think would ever be possible. It is almost as if SSC is being run as an offshoot of the Bush administration.
I’m glad I graduated when I did. I got an education, and maybe even learned a bit along the way. I believe people like my father and his batchmates were even luckier to have seen SSC in the mid-70's, the golden era of college. The crown does not sit easy anymore, because it fell down half a decade ago.