Tuesday, 18th February, 2020


No plan to airlift thousands of stranded PhD students in Indian universities

15, Jun 2010 By Pagal Patrakar

New Delhi. The reported safe evacuation of many Indians and Pakistanis, mostly students, from riot affected regions of Kyrgyzstan has put the focus back on thousands of PhD students currently stranded in various universities of India. Fresh demands were raised today for rescuing these students and putting them in safer areas, but the government has denied any immediate plans to do so. Some of these students have been stranded for over seven years now.

“I am stuck here since I took admission in 2002 for undertaking a research work in the Psychology department. Initially it was fun getting those stipends but now I really feel stranded. I want the government to get me out of here,” said Pradeep, who is trying to finish his coffee and thesis work on “Behavioral Effects Inflicted by Shapes of Dog Poops in Public Parks on RWA Members” for the last seven years.

A PhD student in his lab
This PhD student had even finalized a strategy to get airlifted from the university campus, but he’d have to wait for a few years as the government has refused to help

The case of Pradeep is in fact better than a group of five other students who have been being denied admission for PhD courses after the Head of Department (HOD) asked them to undergo all kinds of other courses and programs like M.Phil. and post-graduate diplomas in the last three years, which they did.

“This is worse you know. We are stranded while we await our turn to get stranded again! There would be hundreds of us, in fact thousands, in other universities too, and yet the government is focusing on students in Kyrgyzstan and Australia,” said Pramod issuing a press-release, which also mentioned in a footnote that the HOD has been denying Pramod admission because he belonged to a different gotra.

While the government has expressed empathy for the stranded students, the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as Human Resource Development has ruled out any immediate evacuation plans for such students. Various rights groups had demanded that such stranded students, mostly undergoing PhD course works, should be airlifted and dropped to places where they can make some sense and contribution.

“They could be put in corporate or government offices. Over the years they acquire brilliant photocopying and document formatting skills, which can be put to better social use. Currently all that they can do is to act as Teaching Assistants or conference attendees,” a published paper in a leading human rights journal proposed in the ‘conclusions’ part.