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Thampu pens book on controversial tenure as St Stephen's principal

Monday, November 13, 2017
By Gunjan Sharma

New Delhi: Valson Thampu, whose eight-year stint as St Stephen's principal was mired in controversy, has penned a book on his "stormy" tenure which he says was a "nightmare" for his family.

Thampu demitted office last year after an association of over four decades with the college.

"I was caricatured as a grave digger for St Stephen's. We lived an eight year-long nightmare. I was prepared for it but not the rest of the family. They suffered most. Every controversy was a weapon of attack... It amazes me that the perpetrators of this educational outrage can stay brazen- faced, ever after," Thampu told PTI in an interview.

Controversies like allegations of forced conversion of an administrative officer to Christianity, fake degree used for his appointment, banning of e-zine for not seeking permission on content and shielding a professor accused of sexual harassment of a research scholar, rocked the college from time to time during his tenure prompting repetitive demands for his removal from various quarters.

In the book titled "On A Stormy Course: In the Hot Seat at St Stephen's", Thampu talks about each controversy and how he and his family dealt with these.

"The book deals briefly with almost all major controversies - they were many - with a view to making the truth of it accessible to the public. Turbulence does not, after all, erupt for nothing. Also, it takes two sides to make a conflict," he says.

"The controversies generated have a direct bearing on this hidden reality in the college at that time. The general public have no idea about the extent to which depravity has invaded the so-called temples of learning." Mired in controversies, Thampu had in 2015 claimed that he is treated in the country like "Dawood Ibraham" and is "hounded like dogs".

"All the controversies were a byproduct of the ascendancy of mediocrity in higher education. Those who do not see teaching as a sphere of pursuing excellence at work, seek to secure self-importance through politics and power-play.

"I had even got a call from then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's office that there are many 'complaints' against me," he said.

Thampu, who studied at St. Stephen's and later served the college as a lecturer and officiating principal, took over as the college principal in 2008.

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