Aiyar angers Hansarians - Student outrage over comments on maken

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  • Published 13.09.11

New Delhi, Sept. 12: Ask students of Hansraj College to spell arrogance, and they will probably write “Aiyar-rogance”.

So livid are they that they are even willing to let in dogs during their annual fest, but not Stephanians, especially Mani Shankar Aiyar.

For those who are wondering what prompted such vitriol, here’s a brief history of the spat.

It began after a right to information reply filed by the sports ministry revealed that minister Ajay Maken, an alumnus of Hansraj College, blamed Aiyar, a former sports minister, for the mess in Commonwealth Games projects.

In a report filed by the sports minister to the Prime Minister, Maken had said that Aiyar, a former student of St Stephen’s, played an “irreparable obstructionist role” that resulted in cost escalation.

Aiyar then launched into Maken. “Firstly, we have to establish the authenticity of this letter. It contains words like ‘dichotomous’, which I cannot believe that a BA pass from Hansraj College would know,” Aiyar told reporters in Delhi.

“There are such big, big words used that unless Maken had a thesaurus by his side, I don’t believe that he wrote that letter…. I don’t know… whether he appended his signature to a draft prepared by someone else.”

Maken has maintained a strict silence, but the “proud Hansarians” will not let it pass.

While students of the college held a protest march, many poured their anger out on social networking sites. “This year, proud Hansarians should put a banner at the Gate during ‘Confluence’ — “Dogs are allowed, not Stephenians (especially Mani Shankar Aiyar),” said Animesh Biswas on Facebook.

“Mani Shankar Aiyar, our college never taught us words like “Dichotomous.” But did your college ever teach you how to use your brain,” tweeted Keshav Gupta.

Principal V.K. Kawtra also trashed Aiyar’s comments. “He does not even have the basic information. Maken was a BSc student, not an arts student. It is a silly thing to say, maybe he said it in spite. As institutions, we are above such comments,” Kawtra said.

The college found an ally in St Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu, who visited Hansraj College today. “I call upon St Stephen’s students and alumni to leave the attitude of arrogance and assumed superiority that some of them have been displaying of late,” said Thampu, who recently sent MP Sandeep Dikshit a legal notice for “misusing” the institute’s name to create an alumni body.

Till now, only one person had tweeted in Aiyar’s support. “Mani Shankar Aiyar is God!” the person wrote.