Category Archives: Commentary

General thoughts and opinions on things that I see around me

UOH Security: protecting the unknown from the known

An international student’s account – Part II of… ?

Guyanese proverb: “Nah tek fiyah stick ah nite fah wah yuh can see ah daytime!”
(English translation: Don’t wait until it’s too late to see the things when there have been clear warnings!)

The inconsistency, choice of when and how to implement rules and proud display of authority to us lesser minions from the UOH security really irk me. Don’t get me wrong, I work with them as much as possible, but, my friends and I have been harassed too many times in the name of “security.” Considering part of the food ban edict stated that they are ensuring our “safety”, I decided to address this aspect today.

Prelude: At about midnight on Friday, October 13, 2017, two friends (who are alumni from UOH) dropped another current student and I back to UoH as they had to go to Citizens’ Hospital. We approached the Main Gate security and showed our UOH IDs, as custom. Out of courtesy and considering the “security” of the campus, I asked the friend driving to tell the security that they will be exiting via Gopanpally gate due to the need to go to Citizens’ Hospital. (This is when the fun started – we should have just kept our mouths shut! Lesson learnt!!!)

  1. Two of the security guards objected that it is not possible, even when we explained the need to go to the hospital and factored in the distance and time it would take to do so via the Main Gate. At this point, not before, the guards checked for and demanded the driver leave an ID with them in an effort to force him to exit through the main gate.
  2. After this happened, I exited the car so I can speak with the security because we didn’t have a lot of time to delay. Upon approaching the car, two of the securities again asked to see my ID card, which I had already shown to a different two upon initial contact. While checking my ID card, two motorbikes passed freely, without being stopped or their IDs being checked.
  3. During a now 5 minutes dialogue with the security, as we couldn’t go back or forward, a random stranger, who was lounging on a bike near the gate with a friend, comes over and demands to know what is happening. We asked him to identify himself as we had no idea who he was. He said he is the “President of the UOH Anti-Ragging Committee.” (I’m serious! How awesome that such an esteemed individual would be handy to play peace maker!!!) We asked for an ID upon which he presented some laminated piece of paper with PRESS prominently displayed but his finger was over the picture and the ID was put away before we could read the name. We asked him politely to please don’t interfere as we didn’t believe him. He insisted and the security allowed him (an unidentified man!) to intervene.
  4. The “president” began trying to explain stuff, without knowing what was going on, and I asked him to please speak in English as I didn’t understand what he was saying. He became insulting because I asked this of him and he stated the security didn’t understand English. My friend pointed out that the security was speaking with me before in ENGLISH! The “president” finally backed away.
  5. The security then said that they can’t allow the car in at all, insinuating that two students needed to walk 3km+ at midnight, because that’s the rule now. (YES! Security is of utmost importance!) We asked to see these important rules and were directed to a “rules” board.
  6. Information on board: (1) students, staff and visitors show, not leave, their IDs; (2) visitors can obtain a pass to be left at the gate of exit, not compulsory exit through Main Gate. (Hmmm, the rules are open to interpretation!!! Yay, not.)
  7. With reference to the board, we asked for a pass since that is the rule, they began raising the bar to let us through. At this point, I did ask to take a picture of the badge of the senior guard so that I can send a recommendation letter to the Security Department stating what happened and where inconsistencies can be cleared up. They would be able to know which guard I spoke with and ask for his input. Now, the drunken friend of the “president” comes over to harass us – the security allowed him. Another “unknown person” was harassing “identified students” of UoH and the security allowed him! My friend had to tell him to leave and his friend had to drag him away. Yes, I do feel safe on campus, very safe, indeed!

Some observations and recommendations:

  1. The security guards do not insist on keeping the IDs for taxi drivers, just private vehicles. Taxi drivers can freely roam around campus after their drops. They can also exit whichever gate they please – no objections.
  2. The Security happily speaks (some) English when it suits them and will suddenly become only Telugu (not even Hindi) speakers when asked a question. Due to the culturally diverse campus population, can we ensure at least one Hindi, one Telugu and one English speaker at each gate at all times?
  3. Too often only one person on a motorcycle has been asked to show an ID, then the bike is let through without checking the second individual. Most of the times, bikes are let through because they are ‘known’ to the security. If your job is to check IDs then do so, for everyone. This is one way expelled/banned trouble makers can gain access.
  4. I have entered campus some nights with the guards sleeping or relaxing and they don’t get up to check my ID; they wave us through the opened gate.
  5. Also, what happened to the “pass” system? Why aren’t passes being issued anymore? If you put a time limit on the pass, when the time is up contact that person to confirm exit and double check with the gate mentioned (if the exit has not been logged already). If the person is on campus and does not reach the Main Gate within a certain period (taking location into consideration) then ban them from the campus! With so many guards, I am sure one can be tasked with communicating with other guards at other gates, etc.

Now, as the rain starts to fall and I consume my room temperature meal (YES! I have snuck some off campus food into my room – I’m SUCH a daredevil!!!), I sign off once again and continue working on this Ph.D. so I can get the helllllllll outta here!

NOTES:

  1. Do not misuse my post to suit any personal or political agendas. These are my views and should be treated as such and in a responsible manner.
  2. This is just me venting my long pent up frustrations because I’m simply fed-up of being quiet!
  3. I am more than thankful for the scholarship and my positives in India far outweigh my negatives.
  4. If I have misrepresented anything then please feel free to contact me and I’ll update the information!

Contact: FB – https://www.facebook.com/reshir; E-mail – krazie.doodette@gmail.com

 

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FOOD adventures at University of Hyderabad!!!

An international student’s account – Part I of… ? *smirks*

Guyanese proverb: “Nah bite dah hand dat feed yuh!”
(English translation: Do not bite the hand that feeds you.)
Me: *looks at proverb and considers information below* Well, UOH is definitely NOT feeding me! *bites hand via this post!*

(Simple economics – we don’t have the money to afford the good, costly food! Is this how scholarship students get student debt? *Ponders this…*)

  1. The mess cost at Tagore International House per month is 12000+ (significantly higher than the cost for Indian mess charges). In addition this amount has to be paid for the entire semester at once (12000*6 = cha ching!). Fulltime, international students cannot generally afford this (unless they are privileged), especially those on scholarships through the Government of India.
  2. The monthly stipend for these GoI scholarship students, administered through ICCR, is Rs. 7000 for Ph.D. students and Rs. 6500 for masters level students for food and all other miscellaneous items.

(I can hear Caribbean parents’ sentiments echoing through what is currently happening here: “eat wah yuh get or starve yuh sk*nt!” Translation: eat what is provided or starve *inserts profanity*. However, parents provided healthy, edible food which we didn’t want to eat at times and threw tantrums, thus we were recipients of that particular insult. Note: I didn’t leave my home where my mom, neighbours, friends, family members, etc. are amazing cooks to have food crises in India! Another note: I could do with some dhal puri and sour or cook-up rice right now, budday! *leh leh wata ah leak*)

  1. Due to our culturally different backgrounds, a lot of students (Indian and international) cannot digest the overly spicy and oily foods from this part of India. This is the type of food being served in the Indian messes and canteens on campus. In addition, we are exposed to multiple health problems if we ingest these foods regularly on a prolonged basis.
  2. There is no kitchen facility available at the University of Hyderabad where students can prepare their own meals. For a “top ranking university in India” (so many awards!!!) it seems that a basic facility like this for students, in each hostel, should have been a given. Several calls over the years have heeded no solution in this matter.
  3. I have received, on several occasions, food from the canteens with cooked cockroaches and other insects. We really do prefer other sources of proteins.
  4. I have experienced food poisoning so often from eating the food available at the canteens that I’ve stopped counting. To provide a number, I’ll estimate 5 to 6 times a month for the past three years.

Note: I’ve since limited my “on campus eating adventures” to two places and about three times, maximum, per week.

  1. NOW, well recently (yesterday or two days ago), the VC has passed some rule about banning outside food delivery services on campus – the only solution many of us had available to us. WHY?!

I resist saying more for now because I cannot remain tactful! It really isn’t all fun and games; definitely no bed of roses here. *Sighs*

Now, if only I can get this kind of creativity for my Ph.D. thesis! *hahaha* This is TJ signing off from this account about ‘life pun de dam, Indian edition!’

 

NOTES:

  1. Do not misuse my post to suit any personal or political agendas. These are my views and should be treated as such and in a responsible manner.
  2. This is just me venting my long pent up frustrations because I’m simply fed-up of being quiet!
  3. I am more than thankful for the scholarship and my positives in India far outweigh my negatives.
  4. If I have misrepresented anything then please feel free to contact me and I’ll update the information!

Contact: FB – https://www.facebook.com/reshir; E-mail – krazie.doodette@gmail.com

 

Misuse of The Golden Arrowhead – Guyana’s National Flag

“It is the duty of every citizen of Guyana wherever he or she may be and of every person in Guyana to respect the national flag, the coat of arms, the national anthem, the national pledge and the Constitution of Guyana, and to treat them with due and proper solemnity on all occasions.”
My Guyana El Dorado by Taijrani Rampersaud
My Guyana El Dorado by Taijrani Rampersaud

It is sad that 50 years as an independent state has not resulted in us, as Guyanese, being proud of and having respect for our national symbols. These symbols of nationhood represent one of the first steps we took following the casting off of the shackles of colonialism. They are proof that we are a free nation and are no longer ruled by any other…

Over the years, I have observed their misuse, especially that of the national flag. People paste the national flag on backwards as a form of decoration, they use it as a table cloth or curtain, they wear the flag as an item of clothing (sometimes cutting the flag for specific fittings) and throw the unwanted flags on the grounds after celebrations, (where people walk on them). Whenever possible, I intervened and had positive results the majority of times which highlights that not everyone who uses the flag inappropriately is aware of the disrespect. There is a need for education on the proper use of the national symbols – particularly the flag. It would be helpful if we can have a Guyana Flag Code similar to that of the United States of America or the Republic of India which can be consulted so that the dishonor does not occur time and again. Note: I couldn’t find any documentation about the use/misuse of the national flag, if you are aware of any such documentation I would appreciate it if you can forward me that information. 

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I love to see the Golden Arrowhead as I feel a sense of pride. However, this should be done in a proper manner. If people want to create a feeling of ‘oneness’ and togetherness, especially at national events, then use the symbols appropriately. Maybe the colors of the flag can be used, in proportion to how they are represented on the flag, however, the actual use of the flag inappropriately (I’ve given a few examples above) needs to be condemn.

Do you remember that line from our national pledge? It goes like this, “I pledge myself to honor always the Flag of Guyana…” To me, the use of flag instead of coat-of-arms or any other national symbol means something. The design and colors of our flag all have deep symbolism and when I say the national pledge and look at the flag I get this feeling which screams ‘I am a proud Guyanese.’ By making a pledge to the Golden Arrowhead, flying high and proud in the winds, I am making a commitment “…to be loyal to my country, to be obedient to the laws of Guyana, to love my fellow citizens, and to dedicate my energies towards the happiness and prosperity of Guyana.”

The flag is important, it is symbolic; to the world it says GUYANA. Let us treat it with the respect it deserves.