August 29, 2006

Professor Beaten To Death

Filed under: India n Me,Most Read,opinions,This Gets To Me — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 12:39 pm
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Kaveeta Kaul

Professor Harbhajan Singh Sabharwal of Ujjains Madhav College of Arts and Commerce, was done to death by irate students belonging to the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad). Hooliganism and rioteering struck mayhem in the college campus when the Professor along with two of his colleagues, suspecting foulplay, announced a cancellation of campus elections.

“There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.” Mark Twains words seem an anachronism today. With the recent spate of these incidents the writing is on the wall that we need to sit up and take notice before the ongoing trend turns pandemic.

The incident may have shocked the nation, but the police and administration in collusion are engrossed in manipulating statements and procedures to shield the guilty, at the behest of the BJP, alleged by Congress. It stands to reason that student bodies like the ABVP are receiving covert aid from politcal parties, interested in solidifying their base.

The woeful plea by the son of the deceased Professor on the failure of the police to bring the culprits to book, led him to remark resignedly” Now I know what it is to be a common man in this country.”

Despite strictures from the Supreme court on the legitimate norms to be adopted for campus elections, pelf and power appeasement has further led to criminlisation of student politics, with the latter being mere pawns in the hands of the wily politician.

Are elections to student Unions as jejune as they appear? Negative, if one is to go by the scurry for success and the abyssmal depths to which the students can fall , for the sole purpose of gaining foothold to the seat of power. This brings us to the question of the calibre of those students who are willing to denigrate themselves, metamorphing into ruffians. Secondly the nurturing of this element by politicians to mislead them into believing that ‘end justify the means’.

Professor Sabharwal succumbed to injuries of a broken rib which punctured his lungs. It is not difficukt to imagine the extent of man handling that must have occurred and the mentality of students who attend colleges in our hinterland.

“Educated illiteracy”;an oxymoron which nullifies the age old notion of academics being harbinger of a progressive, cultured tomorrow..What is worrisome is the fact that youth ideally should connote hope.. a newer, better, India. However, with incidents like these which reflect a denigration of values, one wonders if this is indeed a sad reflection on inept parenting, lack of real heroes as role models, or the machinations of politcal parties, who guiltlessly ascribe to the rationale of “Power at all costs”.

Talibanisation of College campus, is what this is most starkly revealed as, How different are these students from the Pakistani trained Mujahideen? Both seem anaesthetised into numbly parroting programmed idelogies, hopelessly misled.

“Youth is wasted on the young.” Shaw


  1. nothing will come out of it..the culprits have absconded..stooges will replace them..and justice will die again

    Comment by anonymous — August 29, 2006 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  2. shame!! is all I can say. Not just the students, but also the participation of police and the quick to blame political parties.

    Will it ever change?

    Comment by sanjay — August 29, 2006 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  3. the t.v. channels are clearly showing snippets of the events before his death…there is no room for doubt as to the identity of the culprits. I dont understand why s it taking so long for arrests to come through. It is a hogwash. As the son just said the police was present and openly protecting the powerful.The students are so encouraged by the ABVP activists..its clear. On their own they would never have resorted to any of this..its sickening..its not like a college atmosphere

    Comment by neha — August 29, 2006 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

  4. Anonymous,
    I would not be that cynical . Media coverage is exhaustive, relentless and that may not permit the perpetrators to get away this time.

    @ sanjay,

    As Neha has said the more one sees the coverage the more distressing it gets by the minute. BJP led govt is shielding the ABVP and police is being made to toe the line.Its horrfic the unfolding of harsh sequence of events. Its Goonda-ism at its worst. What is alarming is that this is occurring in the precincts of an educational institution.

    @ Neha
    Just why are these students enrolled in the college? What memories of their youth are they going to live with? Will this nourish their spirit enhance their future opportunities, or have they in fact sounded the death knell of what could have been a promising career? Being guilty of murdering your teacher is akin to taking your parents shishya parampara was a reality.. still is. Or is it?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — August 29, 2006 @ 9:27 pm | Reply


    Bastards, is the only word I can have ! I just saw a video on Aaj Tak and Star News, showing how the prof was abused just moments before his ribs tore his lungs… Thats pathetic. Search for ABVP NSUI or any such so called student organization in google, and see what constructive work these guys have done ! The leaders of these organizations are 30-40 years old.. Donno if they have decided to remain “students” till they either enter mainstream “sansad” politics or retire as so called “senior student union leaders”.

    In the days of independence struggle, the student unions used to play a lead role in the non-violent movement, in which we could trust the integrity of the leaders. Now, neither do I trust the intigrity of these rogues and nor do I believe in the vision/mission of these unions. These are mere destructive weapons in the hands of politicians, be it BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena, Left parties or anyone… Where are the ideologies which brought these very organizations into existence. I feel completely out of the world. Even IITs and other colleges (like my middle-class undergraduate institute) have elections, but never seen any such (not even close to such) bartardly incident.. Shame students… and shame on such unions…. Be ashamed to call u “student union.”

    The things dont end here… The government and administration, which are seperate entities in my opinion, is also a “mere spectator” ! Now even if they conduct hundred enquiries, past cant be changed. The prof cant be brought back to life. Its the TV videos which have brought things to light with proof in front of us. But what ? The politicians are already making preparations to hide facts…. Those bastards should have been ashamed of saying that the prof died of “heart attack.” I feel bad for the profs family who was merely supervising the elections, which should have been peaceful. But I am more concerned about the future of this nation’s so called student movements ! I am even more provoked to think about whats my role towards my nation. It would be wrong to say that I will become a politician and change the world single handedly. Thats wrong, impractical. But if not that, what can I do ? What can I do without sacrificing much of my family life and my aims of life ? I being a software engineer, a thoughtful citizen, what can I do ? I (rather we) must do something… What, I have to decide !

    Comment by Akhilesh Shirbhate — August 29, 2006 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

  6. Akhilesh.. I can resonate with your concern. The irony is that those like us who fell compelled to react also sense hopelessness. Either we enter the system and fight it, which is not a possibility for everyone. Outside of it, all we can do is comb through events, analyse them and voice our protest whenever whereever possible.

    Let us not underestimate even a single voice from creating the environment for future change.. when the soil is ready the seed will germinate. Lets live by that and do our bit.

    The role of most student unions without wishing to generalise, is to pander to political parties in the hope of future memberships. The age group of the faces shown is a clear indication of ground reality. What does not fail to shock every time I think of it is the description given by the son “he stood on my fathers chest and jumped “..this done to a man who was to retire a few months from now..close to 60 years.. What possible compunction led to this barbaric, inhuman behaviour??? And these are not typical criminals..if the ordinary man today is so full of rage and violence in his mind set, it is disheartening..

    Visited your site.. congrats on your wedding:)

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — August 30, 2006 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  7. although i loved the film still…
    why does this incidence remind me of Rang De Basanti
    maybe the students thought they were also resorting to violence for some GRAND CAUSE
    not all students and people have the brains to think for themselves.
    the jehadis think they are fighting for some cause too!!!
    isn’t it just super protect the children from sex and make it into a great FORBIDDEN FRUIT that they are prone to taste much before tehy should be because of the secret thrill angle, but let’s not take any responsibility for what Rang De Basanti, Krrish or Gangajal can influence people into doing.
    Okay i have no conclusive proof to say that it’s RDB that did this but these 30-40 year old students, aimlessly looking for something that will give a meaning to their life gave me a sense of deja’ vu

    Comment by Nandini — August 30, 2006 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  8. Nandini..hi.. If you recall my post titled ‘Aftermath’ and Rdb- a review, it dealt with the notion you have brought out. I was thinking along the same lines even on the release of the film in a rush now.. catch you later.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — August 31, 2006 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  9. Dear Kaveetaa, what a horrific tragedy, done to a fine professor at a college!!

    What kind of political party; would instill such rage, into college age students? My son is in college; and he is not political, and enjoying the rest of his youth; having fun, going for college graduation, and looking forward to manhood.

    I would suggest all parents, insist on NO political partying in schools; when it is fact, it is quite easy, to frazzle and razzle, young minds, into wrong directions… as in this particular case.

    Kaveetaa; I am praying his killers will all be brought to justice door; and dare I hope and believe; that god will also bring justice to the corruption levels in policing?

    with loving kindness, thanks for the EM return; re: my son


    Comment by North — March 13, 2007 @ 10:52 am | Reply

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