Contrary to all reports, Delhi University has no intention of letting down its sporting heroes and if all goes to plan, India’s newest cricketing idol and captain of the under-19 team Unmukt Chand will not have to lose a year due to his poor attendance at St. Stephen’s College.
“Unmukt Chand has my complete approval and I will not allow him to needlessly repeat a year. He has represented the country and brought us honour, it is the least I can do,” said Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, who is now the only authority who can help Chand.
Professor Singh said he was waiting for a report from St. Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu late on Thursday evening. The report is the basis on which the university can take a decision. “Only if there is something in the report that is beyond my control, for which I do not have the authority to decide, will Chand have to repeat a year, but I want things to work out for him. He has made us proud,” he said. He had personally requested Mr. Thampu to forward him the report as early as possible so that the young cricketer faced no more hassles.
The college had earlier denied Chand an admit card to attend his second semester B.A. exams this May due to shortage of attendance. The cricketer had also approached the High Court, which directed the college to allow him to sit for his exams. However, he could only appear for two of the four papers as he had approached the court too late. His promotion therefore is still under question.
“He had very poor attendance, a total of 8 per cent. We could not bend the rules for him just because he was playing for the Indian cricket team. We have several illustrious sportspersons who make an effort and are disciplined, they go for practice and also attend class,” said St. Stephen’s media co-ordinator Karen Gabrielle.
Chand’s teachers, however, feel differently. “The senior professors in this college were not consulted, even though the staff association passed a resolution on this issue. It is only right that some exceptions be made for sportspersons who represent the country,” said economics teacher Nanditha Narayan.
In the wake of India’s under-19 World Cup victory, there were several speculations regarding the case of the cricketer’s poor attendance. That Chand would lose a year was a foregone conclusion with some reports pointing out that the principal had forwarded the case to the students’ union to decide. This was rubbished by the college, which said it would be forwarding a report to the university but that it did not approve of making exceptions for anyone. “We do not have any wish to detain these students; it is not like we have something against him. But, whatever we can do within the rules, we have done for all our sports students,” added Ms. Gabrielle.