Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The great Antonian equation-50:50


Bloody street fights were raging in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram and all 14 district capitals for more than a week. Do not think it is all over. Bloodier things are in the offing. More blood will be shed, more bones will be broken and more teeth will be knocked off. Wait and watch.

You don't know how difficult it was for the comrades of the left parties to hibernate without getting a good beating with the police lathis for the last long five years the left ruled the state. It is indecent and against party discipline to provoke the police and force them to resort to lathicharges during agitations when the party is in power. So the comrades just shouted slogans and delivered fiery speeches before dispersing peacefully. Poor cops had to watch all this nonsense impassively. Now that UDF is back in power they knew they can expect good beating for the next five years, but never thought it would be so soon - in just a week after the swearing in. Normally the first three months are treated as honeymoon period and then you don't jump barricades and charge the police with out much of a provocation.

Of course, it was not their fault that the UDF came to power just when the academic year was commencing. It is then that agitations abound around all professional colleges. No, the professional students do not waste their time fighting the police. They have a lot to study. Students from the surrounding humanities colleges will flock together take up the responsibility for two reasons- they do not have to learn much in classes and more than that, they have learned much about the current colonial educational system that has to be smashed at the earliest.

In the good old days peaceful protest was the norm and violence was an exception. Even if the cops were itching for some action, it was not that easy. They had to block the marchers first. Leaders of the protesters, one by one made lengthy fiery speeches. Protesters sitting in the hot sun for hours will be dead tired by then. By noon it is time to disperse for lunch. Just before leaving a few comrades will hurl a stone or two at the impatiently waiting policemen. They only have to swirl their batons for a couple of minutes for the entire area to be deserted.

Times have changed. This is the visual media age. T V channel camerapersons won't come any where near if there is no action. Slogan shouting is no action and speeches are just blah-blah for them. To attract the TV people the marchers have to surge towards the police barricade, pull them all apart and jump over at the throats of the cordoning policemen. Even Gandhian cops have no other way, but beat up till the lathis break, and shirts of the marchers are soaked in blood. Channel guys will be so very happy that they won't mind taking a couple of blows themselves. Live telecast can be assured only if channel editors are given sufficiently advance information. Police action in just one district is not enough for the channels to treat it an agitation. Action in five districts and hundred activists hospitalized will be good enough.

We must understand the difficulty of the people sitting in their bedroom armchairs and watching dozens of TV channels showing scenes from all over the world and from hundred movies, all one after the other. Which one is real, which is fiction? Very difficult to differentiate.

It was Chief Minister A. K Antony who started it all in 2001. He was worried that thousands of students were moving to the neighboring states to join the professional colleges. In Kerala there then it had just a few professional colleges that too government run. And more than that money of Malayalees was also being drained, billions in the guise of admission fee, capitation fee, hostel fee and innumerable other types of fees. Why don't we start such colleges here? No, government do not have the funds for that. Let private sector do that, let them sell half the seats at rates they decide and half at rates government fixes. This is the famous fifty: fifty theory of professional education. When you permit the private sector to start two colleges, it will be equal to establishing one private college and one government college! What a great equation. This equation was considered to be next in importance to the Einstenian equation E =mc2. But unlike Einstein's nuclear equation Antony's educational equation wasn't practicable. It remained just that. Fifty: fifty remained hundred: hundred in favor of the private managements. They didn't care a damn for what Antony said.

Now every year we have spectacular action during the college admission season. Discussions with college authorities will take place regularly, marches and police action will go on side by side, big news will flash in the media, students and parents will run form pillar to post and finally a big chunk of the capitation fee will end up in the institutions of the nearby states and every thing will settle down for the time being. Government and leaders will wait for the next year admissions to come for them to repeat the drama with no change in the script.

Do not think there's no meaning in the 50:50 theories. The responsibility for making a mess of professional education has been shared 50:50 by the management and government. And between the governments it is fifty: fifty, LDF and UDF.

All managements except the Christian managements are in favour of the fifty: fifty principles. Christian managements will not bow before the ruling human mortals elected by lesser mortals. Since god has not expressed his willingness to give orders in the professional college case, they are willing to obey the court verdicts, taking it with a pinch of salt. Now that Kerala is ruled by god fearing ministers like Oommen Chandy, K M Mani and P K Kunhalikkutty managements do not have to fear anybody. Blood will flow in the streets in the coming days and months and years. And from every drop of red blood will rise hundred of colourful leaders.