By Preeti Bisnik:
From the past one year, I have been scrutinising different universities in various countries where I could aim to go for further studies. I was very thrilled that my results were out and soon I would be going abroad to add ‘CA’ in front of my name. Though the journey will prove to be tiresome, I was enthralled about my future.
I submitted all my documents and ensured everything that needed to be done was checked off from the list. But then a letter arrived from the Institute I had applied to telling me that I have not submitted the Degree for Bachelor of Commerce from Pune University. I wondered how that could be possible given that I had submitted all my documents, including my degree. I challenged the institute and received a reply that said what I had presented was a certificate stating I had passed B. Com with First Class division, but it was not the degree!
Five years I was living with the delusion that what I was struggling for was a degree that would open up the world for me but I was wrong. This was the document that the Pune University handed me after my results. Who would have thought of doubting its credibility! So now the condition was that I needed to produce a degree certificate to get admission and follow my dreams.
Now let me tell you the course starts in July, I need to apply for loan, visa, book my flight tickets and less than 2 months I have in my hand. So I decided to take help from Pune University so that I can be provided with the degree asap.
I started calling the university the next day from 9.30 in the morning. Nobody picked up the phone. Finally, the student facilitation centre did and gave me another number to call on but no luck with that either as again the phone kept ringing and no one answered. By 12.45, I must have called them hundreds of times but to no avail. By now even the student facilitation centre had started avoiding my calls: they would pick up, hear my voice and disconnect. I was helpless. I started crying and didn’t know what else to do. Imagine a 26-year-old lady, who’s a director in a startup, crying helplessly. All I wanted to know was “How long will it take for me to get the degree? Is there any ‘tatkal’ situation so that I can get my degree faster?” In fact, I don’t even mind flying to Pune to get hold of what I needed. But nobody was bothered by the fact that a student will waste a year if she doesn’t get the degree on time.
Finally, I called the vice-chancellor’s office and was given two mobile numbers after I complained that no one picks the phone. On calling one of the numbers, a lady answered saying she is on leave so I should call someone else. The second number was of Mr Rajesh Rahekar and I was very polite with him telling him the urgency of the matter. To my pleas, he replied that he could only take action when he receives an official application and before that nothing is in his jurisdiction. So I asked him for an approximate – “Sir till when can I expect my degree?” to which he said, “mujhe nahi pata, kuch nahi bata sakta, jab milegi tab milegi.” (I don’t know. Can’t give you a date. You’ll get it in time.)
I was shocked with his response. How can someone from the college authority be so noncommittal? It might take 4 days, 4 months or 4 years but at least tell the stipulated time? But I was given no answer. By now I was wondering if studying at this university was the biggest mistake I had committed in my life!
I decided I must do everything in my power so I filled a supplementary degree application form along with all the proof and the university letter and emailed it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then I again called Rajesh Rahekar and told him, “Sir I have couriered and e-mailed you all the required documents. Please look into the matter and help me urgently.” To this Mr Rahekar replied “4 baar phone nahi karneka, jabhi mere pass file aayegi mein kaam karunga, mein aur kuch nahi kar sakta.” (Don’t call me so many times, I will look into the matter when I receive the files before that I can’t do anything.) He disconnected the call.
So when my courier got delivered, I called him up again. “Sir, my application has been delivered, now it will not take much time to reach your table. But please do keep a look out for it.” I guess you already know what kind of an answer I must have got. “Jitna time lagta hai utna lagega, kuch urgent nahi hota yahan.” (It will take as long as it will. Nothing is urgent here.)
Rather than helping out and giving a solution, I was treated as if I were some unwanted pet in a house, my own house, my own university where I studied. Didn’t the university staff have this much common sense that without the welfare of students there’s no point of running an educational institute! How can someone talk so carelessly and not be bothered about a student’s career at all! I cried like crazy. I cried because I was left unanswered. I cried because I studied in such a university where time is not valued. All the reputed university abroad works on scanned docs and mail, but we will always be left behind in India where offices function according to comfort. Rather than checking emails, they will wait for documents to arrive via the courier; then they will store it in a haphazard manner amidst a huge pile of other such documents (of other students who sent their desperate appeals). I am now living with uncertainty regarding my future. I may or may not receive the degree in time. Neither do I know nor does the Pune University Staff know. And nobody picks the phone to answer any query anyway. So much for researching and applying to foreign colleges.
The events of this article couldn’t be individually verified by Youth Ki Awaaz.