Touria Prayag's Blog

Scrooge meets La(r)gesse 14 August, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on March 22, 2014

Nobel Prize Committee members, look no further this year! We have a few nominees here who deserve your full attention. In fact, you will be spoilt for choice. And they all shone these last two weeks.

One of the most serious contenders for the prize is none other than the person who, until last week, was the vice-chancellor of our university. We say until last week because he was dismissed by the University Council without being given the opportunity to talk about his achievements. Our sister publication – l’expressDimanche – offered him a forum to talk about what he had done over the one year plus that he spent at the helm of the university. And he did. Apart from “introducing some new courses and proposing 34 research projects”, his achievements can be summed up in a few words: saving money, instilling discipline and modernising the university. The details of these – as furnished by the professor himself – can be summed up as follows:

1. The ex-vice-chancellor saw it as his job to supervise everything that was going on at the university in the minutest details. He – by his own admission – got involved with the gardeners when they were cutting trees and made sure the university was not being swindled out of a huge sum of money like Rs25,000 (US $800) because the gardeners had cut only two trees and claimed for three. Now, that is what we call good management skills and an excellent use of the vice-chancellor’s time.

2. The ex- vice-chancellor – again by his own admission – even supervised the toilet paper situation. Naturally, who would leave such matters to unqualifi ed people like cleaners? One could not take that chance!

3. For instilling discipline, student functions had to end by 9pm. You can’t allow 20 and 30-year-olds to stay on campus until midnight, can you? It’s not as if we – perish the thought! – were trying to have an active campus where there are 24-hour activities like it is in some other parts of the world. That would be against the spirit of discipline. Students have to go home early enough to catch their bed-time story and say goodnight to their parents. And it is in this way that our university is being modernised.

If our vice-chancellor’s record does not impress you, here is another nominee: Ashish Seeburrun. In our opinion, he is equally deserving. Think about it: the chap is so generous that he thinks of those who are less privileged than him – like Thierry Lagesse – and shows such largesse towards them that he lends them a Rs16 million car to use as they wish. We challenge you to fi nd a more generous person.

You may just as well choose to give the prize to Thierry Lagesse himself for his own largesse. For, in spite of his hardship – the poor guy could not even afford a Rs16 million car, shame, shame, shame! – he lends Ashish Seeburrun the sum of Rs11 million. Now, that is what we call selfl essness or even self-abnegation. The Tibetan monks could learn some very valuable lessons from him.

We are fully aware of the difficulty of choice and the above shortlist is not made in any particular order. We leave it to you to make the final decision. Good luck to you and may the best candidate win.


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