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Story

In 2014, driven by a hard-to-explain impulse to 'do-something-good' I quit my well-paying job and joined Azim Premji University. I was a computer engineer when I quit my job and my family couldn't comprehend why I did that. I sort of explained to them that I might go for higher education abroad and Punjabis being Punjabis were happy with the abroad thing alone. I did not have much savings when I joined the university and therefore applied for scholarship which the university refused. It was for students from backgrounds who cannot pay the full tuition-fee and I thought I would easily fit in there. That didn't work out so I went for bank loan but it also took a lot of time plus I was afraid my family would come to know my weak financial situation.

In the middle of the course I got so frustrated that I decided to quit the university but the university offered me college loan and I didn't have to pay any interest on the loan. Happily, I accepted the offer but then they also put a condition that the offer is valid for couple of days till I pay half the pay in those couple of days. I felt stuck and that time some friends came for rescue and I managed to pay the fee. I signed the agreement which stated that I will have to pay some 90,000 in 9 or 10 instalments after the college. I signed it thinking it was not a big amount.

However, by the time I reached my final semester that hard-to-explain impulse to 'do-something-good' got weirder. One day I attended a lecture by a social worker who was running a NGO in the remote tribal villages in Orissa. He said that he could not came for the placements as they didn't have much money to offer. I was so impressed that I decided that I will work with him after I finish my degree.

And so I went to Orissa and my family was infuriated but I just left. There, after a month, I fell terribly sick due to malaria and was told to be immediately admitted to a good hospital. With the help of a friend I booked an overnight flight and landed in the lavish Fortis, Delhi. There my father took care of me, paid the hospital a fat check, and brought me back to my house in Jammu. It took me more than a month to recover properly. After that I worked in a fraud NGO in Noida for couple of months and then did some volunteer work and finally joined the same NGO which again said they couldn't pay much.

Meanwhile, the university was sending me reminders about the fee and I was responding with my situation asking them to reduce the monthly instalment. Then again a DAY CAME which I could call ONE DAY! So one day I received a call from my family and was informed about a legal notice from APU. Finally, my father got the chance to say all he ever wanted to say and he said it well. I was in fact impressed by my father’s accurate listing of events of my life and his articulation was so perfect that for the first time in my life I had no doubt that I was born in his family and not picked from a road. In short, he told me that I had fucked up my career and life and he had no hope from me now. I almost agreed with him and was happy about the ‘no hope’ part which enraged him further and so in defence I had to provide a lose defence.

The university never gave me the degree even though I spent two hard working years for the degree and paid half the fee. But they did give me a photocopy of the degree on my convocation on the stage from the hands of Mr. Azim Premji. The happy moment was turned into a mixed emotion moment and I did not enjoy the post-convocation snacks. I thought that was a compromise that for half the money you get half the product which operates in the free market. But that was not so. I wrote to them about the notice and again narrated the whole tale but this time there were also bored and replied like a legal bot- 'we will be constrained to file a money recovery suit with the Court and take other appropriate actions for recovery of the monies.'  


The university was a great learning space for me, all because of its awesome professors and the friends I made there. Nothing can bitter those two years! However, institutionally and managerially it operates like any other capitalist institution. If I were to blame I would blame my own choices and my carefreeness, but that too without any regret. I have even started imagining a lock-up and the life in there and I must tell you that I am rather curious about it too. But yeah I know it’s just a fantasy. Khair! This is the story.  

Facebook Link:
https://www.facebook.com/jagjit.singh.9822
The Notice
The Notice
The Legal Notice
The Legal Notice
Photocopy of the Degree
Photocopy of the Degree

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Beneficiary: Jagjit Pal Singh info_outline

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Bhupender donated Rs.2,500

Hope this emergency is tided over.

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And so we live, imagining dawns and dusks And so we live, gripped by the shadow of these prison walls Such has always been, this struggle between oppressor and oppressed Neither are their customs new, nor our paths new Such has always been, that we grew flowers amid fire Neither is their defeat new, nor is our triumph new. (Faiz ...Prison Lyrics)