Absence of role models, seniors weakens social foundations


Every year youth icons are selected and person of the year awards are given in various fields around the world. But, the selection process is based on inconsistent and weird parameters.

Education is promoted as a tool for better and high living standards. Seniors (parents, bosses…) at homes, schools, work places… raise their concern about unconventional, disrespectful behavior of young generation.

Corruption and scam reports, focusing on misdeeds of senior management, ministries, etc, consume the expensive newsprint…

All these facts have something common and remind me of the time I spent in university.  I feel it is unfair to blame the young generation for the unwanted change, as it is hard to find any role models and / or seniors that are able to inspire and lead the youth to righteous path.

I think, right kind of education stimulates and enlightens. Higher education not only opens up opportunities to eke livelihood that gives you kind of freedom but also reveals bitter and sweet truths of life. I feel knowledge is immortal and one of the best survival tools.

However, pursuing Master’s in 1990s became a mental torture. After first semester, the thought of leaving the course constantly haunted me, but I had no guts to quit. My fault was to study a newly introduced course in an unknown university. Teaching staff mainly consisted of lecturers and professors who had no academic qualifications in the subject. They studied business management, commerce and / or social sciences and were working in respective departments, where there was almost no chance of getting quick promotions and becoming department heads ever. A new department of tourism studies offered galore of promotion opportunities for them. So they joined the tourism bandwagon. Then, a Pandora box was opened.

The students never enjoyed ill-prepared poorly presented lectures by ignorant teachers. Both parties had a lame excuse of no books and study material at their disposal. Both of them probably ignored that pioneers have to walk a new lonely thorny road without expecting quick results.  Bunking off classes was common. Nobody bothered. Chairman defended his colleagues by claiming lecturers have no private rooms to study. All of them had to share the same room. But he never understood one thing for sure that the students who passed an all-India entrance examination to join the course, were also living without their families in poorly managed hostels controlled by political parties. When students complained about cruel ragging in hostels, teachers opined that seniors (who ragged rookies) are brothers / sisters of rookies and relationship should be honored without complaints.

Invigilators- teaching staff of the department- enjoyed conversations of their choices outside the exam venue during internal and final semester exams. As more than ninety five percent students copied from books, notebooks and / or chits specially prepared for the occasion, the remaining students were harassed verbally for not cooperating (cheating) with majority. It was a routine for entire two-year course. Nothing changed even after an anonymous complaint about blatant cheating. A special surprise inspection squad, consisting of people from departments other than tourism department and other authorities, was sent to the venue to assess authenticity of the complaint. However, the teaching staff was very resourceful. They knew the timing and date of the surprise inspection. So they alerted students to hide and dump all illegal material in rightful place- boys’ toilet was the favorite place to change chits and dumb used chits- before squad arrived. They stood out as usual and posed as guards for copycats and got clean cheat from the squad. Then, they denounced that vested interests tried to defame their department. Most of the students passed with 60% or more. It was disheartening because I never dared to cheat. So I was always insulted by both the parties.

Another reason behind this behavior was chances of department closure if it did not perform. That means, if all / majority students failed, jobs and entire career of teachers will be in deep danger and they may lose their jobs. So they opted for easy route which was imitated by their students. Shirking of basic duties for which they were paid regularly is an extremely bad precedent set by so called seniors. It dented psyche of a complete generation that may pass these illegal means of success to next generations. This is just a tip of iceberg. Bitter experiences of two premium years of my life always generate a kind of “hatred” and anger against boastful seniors, and remind me to judge seniors carefully before trusting and obeying them. In fact, I hardly trust seniors now-a-days. A lesson learned from bitter experiences and faith lost in the process could be deadly weapons that devastate social foundations.

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