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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Saradha and me

Sudipta Sen of Saradha fame seems to have a very long reach, even though he might currently be in police custody and awaiting trial. Not only are more bits and pieces of his vast ill-gotten fortune coming to light, but people are committing suicide right and left, unable to bear the financial disaster and/or social humiliation that he has brought upon them. And the tide has spread so far that it has even affected me: a man who has always worked and saved steadily and assiduously all his life, avoiding all get-rich-quick schemes like the plague.

The father of one of my pupils came over yesterday to beg for a fee waiver. He has been working for Sen’s company for many years, presumably at a very low level, clerk or field agent or such. And now they have downed shutters, and employees like him haven’t been paid for almost three months, and they are virtually reduced to scraping the barrel. ‘They are only talking of saving the investors, Sir. Who will look after us? What are we going to eat?’ He really looked like he was in dire straits, or else he was a fantastic actor.  I couldn’t be hard hearted enough to refuse the little help I could give him, though I was inwardly furious at the way people like us are being forced to pay for others’ sins of stupidity and greed – and also for the way some politicians are forcing us to pay even more: ‘Smokers, get ready to pay more taxes to bail out all those poor investors who have burnt themselves badly’!

Through a long teaching life I’ve given partial or full fee waivers to a lot of people, of course. Especially when their parents were going through hard times. My overall experience has not been edifying at all. Most of those have been indifferent students; not one ever showed any signs of being deeply interested and influenced by my classes; few (students and parents alike) have ever got back with respect and affection; I haven’t heard of many who have spoken of me elsewhere with lasting gratitude. Some have duped me with made up stories about hardship; a few have actually bad-mouthed me. Whereas my most favourite old boys and girls have paid their fees in full. So if I did an act of charity today, I certainly have no reason to feel good about it: I am calling myself a sucker. And I am praying that more Saradha victims might not queue up at my door…


Seemita Bhattacharya said...

Dear Sir,
When I first read the title 'sharadha and me' I thought how can you be related to this?Thereafter, when I went through the post I understood that you are really affected by this. This is the case not only with you but many others who kept themselves miles away from all these agencies from the beginning but find themselves somehow bothered when the scams come to the forefront.
But I must say , that there is no need for you to feel so disheartened because this pupil of yours ( or his or her father) may not turn out similarly ungrateful like others!
- Seemita

Abhishek Anand said...

Respected Sir,

This article came upon me as a shock. Although the newspapers these days are flooded with news items related to Sudipta Sen, I had not even in the wildest of my dreams imagined that it could affect you. This blogpost just shows that Sudipta Sen's exploits have many far reaching affects which no news headline can summarize.

You have done what you could have to help that father. That can at least be satisfying. If such students ever try to badmouth you, there is very little that anyone can do about it. Yours may not be an act of charity, but is certainly a very good act. However, you have every reason to be disappointed that people like you are being forced to pay for others' sins in this manner.

I eagerly wait for the time when India will have only a very tiny number of Sudipta Sens, if at all. I have I will be born in that India.

Yours faithfully,
Abhishek Anand

Subhanjan Sengupta said...

Dear Sir,

It is perhaps very difficult for you to decide whom to consider and whom not as there are tens of thousands out there ready to take advantage of any situation.

What surprises me most is that fact that people would bargain the fees or ask for waiver when it comes to service of an individual (teacher, doctor, lawyer); but they would not even think of bargaining or asking for waivers to organisations like a hospital or university, just because the former is easier to do. This is just not acceptable.

Sincerely yours,