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Trials and tribulations

Shastry V.Mallady
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Chat: G.Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, during an interaction in Madurai on Wednesday. Photo: K.Ganesan.
Chat: G.Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, during an interaction in Madurai on Wednesday. Photo: K.Ganesan.

For the man who would always be fast forward because of the position he holds, it was a day of rewind and down memory lane -- emotionally, personally and officially.

Recalling his life journey starting from Siruvelangudi, a remote hamlet near Kalayarkovil (then Ramanathapuram district), hailing from a family of utmost poverty to reaching higher positions, he shared his moments of emotion and success.

Sixty-year-old G. Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, touched upon various issues -- his family, education and the posts he occupied -- during his visit to ‘The Hindu' in Madurai on Wednesday for an informal interaction with the staff.

“This visit is an emotional moment for me. For, there were times when I could not even buy a vernacular newspaper to see my result in pre-university examinations. From poverty to being the head of a university has been a long and tough journey,” he said.

From a position where his family had to pledge one and a half acre land for his higher education, Dr. Thiruvasagam reached greater heights where he could make his mark in higher education.

His 90-minute interaction was as wide as his experience -- from being the Yadava College Principal in Madurai to Vice-Chancellor of Bharathiar University before proceeding to Chennai to head the University of Madras.

There were questions about film songs penned by legendary Kannadasan for different situations, queries on how he was handling tough situations as Vice-Chancellor and his other side of life.

On tough decision he took recently, he said it was related to the situation of unqualified teaching staff working in many colleges under the University of Madras.

“The colleges were instructed to get qualification approval for their faculty by June 30. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to admit students,” he said.

Coming to the old songs, he shared his thoughts and informed that he listens only to yesteryear songs while travelling in his car or during the short time available for him at home everyday.

A busy man he is, this Vice-Chancellor is a very loving son too. At his official residence in Chennai, his 86-year-old mother Dhanushkodi is living with him “and she is doing PR job at home. Despite her age, she warmly receives the guests who come to see me.”

From a position where his family had to pledge land for his higher education, Dr. Thiruvasagam reached greater heights

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