Tamil Nadu

Lockdown has been too hard on this assistant professor

T. Maheshwaran, who was working as an assistant professor in a private engineering college, prepares and sells quality snacks after losing job. Photo: Special Arrangement

T. Maheshwaran, who was working as an assistant professor in a private engineering college, prepares and sells quality snacks after losing job. Photo: Special Arrangement  

After losing job, Maheshwaran chose to sell ‘murukku’ to earn a living

After being an assistant professor in a private engineering college in Coimbatore for the last five years, T. Maheshwaran has now chosen to sell murukku at his native Neyveli in Cuddalore district to take care of his family of three. Maheshwaran, 30, lost no will, when the management of the college where he worked as the Head of the Department of Computer Science laid him off and few others in February when educational institutions were being closed due to the pandemic.

The announcement came as a bolt from the blue for Maheshwaran, who holds a B.Tech degree from Anna University and has done M.E. in Computer Science Engineering. His wife Chithirai Selvam, is a postgraduate in Physics. Despite their high qualification they have been struggling to make ends meet. The management laid off a number of staff and Maheshwaran’s attempts to get back into teaching did not bear fruit as the management insisted that he bring at least three new students to ensure that he rejoined duty.

“The faculty had completed the portions for the semester in February itself when the management asked the members to help with admission of new students. The faculty were permitted to rejoin duty only if each of them brought three students for the next academic year. I tried joining a few other colleges with my qualification. While one college offered me ₹15,000 as salary, they too asked me to bring in three to four students for enrolment in the institution,” he says.

Job loss coupled with the lockdown has affected him financially.

“I have a six-month-old female baby, my wife and an aged father to look after. My ambition was to ensure upbringing of students with skill in entrepreneurship . This should be the focus of any institution. Instead of doing this, the managements are expecting professors to bring students for admission. This is not our job. Not pleased with the management's decision, I bid farewell to the institution,” he said.

Maheshwaran did not, however, lose hope and will power. He started making murukku (a snack) with the help of his family and sell the snack in the family’s vegetable shop attached to their house. The product has been found to be of good quality by the buyers in Neyveli town who patronised the snacks bringing a ray of hope to the family. Maheshwaran earns ₹500 per day and he hopes that his efforts to go in for alternative work will not fail him.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 9:06:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/lockdown-has-been-too-hard-on-this-assistant-professor/article31953511.ece

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