According to beliefs Bengal has the singular distinction of ’33 crore’ gods and goddesses that are worshipped. Okay it’s only a metaphor to describe just how many heavenly superpowers rule the minds of the people here.
Which is one reason why there is no dearth of religious celebrations that take place all through the year. The terms ‘utsav’ and ‘mahotsav’ aptly apply to them according to their importance (utsav means festival, and mahotsav means even bigger festival).
There are quite a few non-religious festivals too, like blood-donation utsav, frequently occurring fairs of different hues, and so on. To that I’ll add ‘the admission utsav’.
I happened to be going around various city colleges seeking admission for my son. And I was surprised to see sort of carnival-like atmosphere in the famed ones, such as Presidency College and Asutosh College, and to a lesser extent Jadavpur University, where present students poured out in large numbers to assist in form submission.
Many colleges made it really simple to apply for the honors courses – rightly so in this age of computers and broadband.
Among them ranked Xaviers, Scottish Church, and the real surprise, Heramba Chandra College (or South City). For these 3, one only needed to submit form online and pay the fee in designated banks….no other hassle.
Presidency College was halfway like the 3 above. The difference was that the fee had to be paid in the college itself, and that meant quite a journey for many staying far off.
I did that and noticed students from rival unions camping there and doing mundane things like guiding the people and selling earlier years’ question papers.
However it was pretty fast at Presidency, but the situation at Asutosh College was decidedly cumbersome and grueling to say the least.
The process there commenced with buying bank pay orders for application fees from only a few designated banks (wonder why..!). This took me one and a half hour.
I then stood in a frighteningly long queue spending over 3 hours on June 9 in the afternoon to submit applications.
Meanwhile, as people like me proceeded ant-like in the queue, the students in their zeal to assist form submitters, blocked off the pavement in front of the college. Maybe the idea was to ensure that the queuing people faced no problem.
In effect though, the whole thing resulted into huge melee that was made worse by students. They stood on benches yelling out instructions. I could see their labor helped little but perhaps added more to chaos. All in all, a picture of perfect mismanagement.
Jadavpur University fared better, and so did the RKM colleges in Belur and Narendrapur.
As such the number of colleges offering UG courses is less than what is required to cater to all qualifying students. That being so the colleges can at least ensure that the form submission process is made simple and fast.
The trauma of trying out at different colleges is too real to ignore. It’s time that colleges wake up to this reality.