A true great but a Mysore University doctorate?

PRITHVI DATTA CHANDRA SHOBHI writes: The Times of India reports that the University of Mysore has decided to confer an honorary doctorate on Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

This, I find, incredibly inexplicable.

Don’t get me wrong.

I repeat, don’t get me wrong: I consider Tendulkar to be a phenomenal achiever and, in particular, I have really come to respect how he has reinvented himself as a great defensive batsman.

In the history of world cricket, there aren’t too many instances of  someone with Sachin’s ability for stroke making turning himself into a great, perhaps even the best defensive batsman in the world. I like the way he still retains his childlike enthusiasm and love for the game after more than two decades of playing international cricket.

Naturally, he is deserving of our affection, respect and, indeed, all honours that come his way, including an honorary doctorate degree.

But by the University of Mysore?

Neither the City of Mysore nor the University of Mysore have any relationship with Sachin. None of his great accomplishments have come in this City. So I am not sure what Mysore University seeks to commemorate by honoring Sachin.

Moreover, Mysore University isn’t a national university. And being a State university,  its reach is limited to the districts of Mysore, Hassan, Mandya and Chamarajnagar. So if it recognizes achievers from this region or those from Karnataka, then that would be appropriate.

There is one more surprising factor. The present vice-chancellor Prof V.G.Talawar had famously declared that the game of cricket is a waste of time and he has no use for the sport. This he had said when he was invited to a Ranji Trophy match last year.

Now the same university honors Tendulkar for his cricketing accomplishments?

In another strange decision, the university has also conferred an honorary doctorate on Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1884-1940), seventy years after his death.

Why does the University wants to honor him now? I fail to understand the logic of this decision. Wodeyar, who founded the University in 1916 and was instrumental in the creation of modern Mysore, is a worthy recipient but this award has come about ninety years too late.

The usual cliche that’s strutted out on occasions like this is that by honouring Tendulkar and Wodeyar, Mysore University has honoured itself. But I think this is a cheap gimmick by the University that potentially simply demeans the award. As I said above, both the honourees are surely worthy of the honor that’s being bestowed on them but should they have been honoured now and by the Mysore University?

Who are they going to choose next year? Mahatma Gandhi and Ranjitsinhji?

For the record, I should admit the University syndicate has also chosen four other worthy recipients, and I am particularly delighted that Rajiv Taranath is being honoured.

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