There are two prime concerns of a parent sending his/her kid to Manipal, one is the drug scene, and other is the finance. It is often joked that they never put up a Law College here for they’d be sued till broke. The hostel, mess and the tuition fee is among the highest in the country and constantly increasing. The prestigious university is generally very careful about their name and their accounts. This article shall tell you about a certain era that prevailed in the college. It still continues, but rather more subtle.
Once upon a time MIT was headed by a personality named Madam Umbridge. She had once described her work profile to my mother as, “financial development of the college only and not some petty issues”, when our section was suspended for five days in the first year. She had hailed from a very prestigious college and as rumours had it, the college had pulled a lot of strings to reel her in (coincidently her husband became head of Architecture).
She was not very famous among students. She was very strict about academics, thought that cultural fests should not be funded much and even claimed that Techtatva was a waste of time. She was oft known to be insensitive towards students’ issues. Once she opened with something on the lines of “As you see it’s not our fault” on the condolence of students who died in an auto accident while ditching hostels for a Malpe Night out. She pulled the last straw on March 10, 2012.
Buses use to ply from 17th Block (It was the newest then) to the college during those times. As one would imagine the 7:50 one used to be very overcrowded. A student, dangling from the door unfortunately fell near IC injuring his head. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. Some students then decided to approach Prof. Umbridge to suggest increase of buses during peak hours. She put them down by saying, “It was the student’s fault; he should have gotten up ten minutes before.”
What followed was a group of 500-600 MITians calling an informal meeting near the 9th block basketball court attended by the Chief Warden. Not satisfied, the crowd went in front of the director’s house by the evening urging her to explain herself. The horde was directed to the quadrangle to have an official statement from the bigshots including the Vice-Chancellor. The quadrangle was then taken over by some pseudo political heads of the inexistent student council. Noticing an opportune moment, many other student grievances were brought to the table. These included the speeding of bus drivers, the unexplained utility charge hike and the sickle auto incident. The authorities decided to have an official meeting the next day with some of the heads.
One of the student union head was visited in the hostel by college authorities. He was told just the fact that the college is responsible for his placements. He was not seen at the forefront of the protest after that. The next day’s meeting ended with the conclusion of changing class timings for some students to avoid rush. Other topics were subtly left off. The crowd mellowed for the next few days as they were told about the student’s improving condition.
The student ultimately succumbed to his injuries. The college declared a holiday to be cautious. By the afternoon a good crowd collected and started vandalising the NLH. Then about 2000 students reached the EDU building demanding Umbridge’s resignation. This event was covered by major news agencies and hence the university was already a little scared. Soon, three buses filled with police created a perimeter around the students. Afraid that a lathi charge might be ordered, girls were either sent back or were sent inside the crowd. The university tried to ward off the crowd by baiting them with three days off to discuss the issue. The frustration was enough to make everyone very resilient. MIT would not have gone back without it. After hours of deliberation the authorities gave in to the demands and Umbridge was off.
MIT thought that it was a sign of change. However, eventually, nothing changed; the buses were cancelled, the utility bill breakup was never given and the autos still overcharge. To top it all, Umbridge takes care of MIT Jaipur now. Only good- I did see the day 1 leader get placed and get his degree on convocation . So this was how/why MIT protested the last time!!!