Saturday, October 19, 1996

KTWV02-Issue 2: Research Visa?

Hi Stephanians and you others,
I was pleasantly surpised to receive this letter.

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 11:38:35 +0100 (BST)

Dear St. Stephanians,

I am a research student at Cambridge University, working on early twentieth century Indian History, focussing on Uttar Pradesh. At the moment I really need to get out to India. Unfortunately, my research visa has not yet arrived, although I applied for it in June. I would really appreciate any suggestions or help that anyone might be able to offer... otherwise I'll be stuck in freezing Cambridge for the whole winter! (Ed: Cannot think of anything more horrifying than that. :-))

I enjoyed reading your page. I hope someone can help,

William Gould

I am sure that one of our 242 readers scattered worldwide - [yes, that is the fortnightly repeat hits we have been getting to Kooler Talk (Web Version) page regularly over the last three months] - can extend a hand to help out our fellow reader in true Stephanian style. The thought of him freezing in one of those digs in Cambridge certainly wants me wanting to help William somehow!

However, recalling for a moment the freezing winter mornings in college, running to have that early morning bath once Kundan Singh had heated that coal-fired water heater just outside my room and drawn the water, in a leaky metal bucket, and then shivering and freezing after it as I returned to my room wrapped in my towel, till I sat down in front of that most ineffective two bar radiant heater glowing red on my room floor, is not the very comforting thought that I want to share with William. I hope things have changed for the better when William goes out to Uttar Pradesh where, I think, the winters can be quite cold and there is no central heating system to be found anywhere.

In spite of this, sitting on the green lawns in front of Mukarji East on a sunny January mid-morning (cutting class, of course), and being bathed in the warm glow of that Delhi winter sunshine, was probably one of the most exhilarating feelings of my time in college. There were then a few rose plants bordering the lawn flowered, as the college gardeners tried their level best to turn that barren area in front of Mukarji East and the JCR into a garden.

The weeds from the open area between this and the then new science block, however, kept making their task seemingly impossible. No doubt, with the setting up of Mukarji West, this must have improved.

The Delhi winter is in sharp contrast to the dry burning heat of mid-May when I felt that I was sitting in a tandoor! One summer I had to stay on in Delhi to do some extra course and vowed never to be in that city again during those summer months, a vow that I have been able to faithfully keep over the last 33 years.

Coming back to William's problem, personally I do not know of something called as a research visa. Whenever I sent out a researcher to India, the Indian Embassy in Helsinki (where we did have a Stephanian - First Secretary S. Tripathi, probably 75 batch, an absolutely great and nice guy who moved to Panamma!!) issued an ordinary tourist visa valid for six months.

Education - What is it?

This week, in my second editorial in Findians Briefings, I tackle the question of Education where I ask the question as to the number of handicapped persons, those who are blind, deaf, dumb, or wheel-chair ridden, who are being used as teachers in schools and colleges. Can any of you name any handicapped person who has been in a teaching or administration position in our alma mater. Just curious! (Don't all stand up and shout that I have just described the average Stephanaian through the ages!!!)

Yesterday, Annikki, my better half for the last 30 years, made Masala Dosais for our son and daughter - but not for me! My mouth was watering as I recalled those delicious dosais I used to consume ever so often at the India Coffee House on the campus.

(The reason why I was denied this luxury of a dosai, despite my begging like a dog, was that she had just enough in the dosai mix packet for the kids. She usually makes the dosai mix up by grinding the rice and dhal in her heavy duty antique coffee grinder - works great, but she was anxious to get to a clearance sale in one of the local department stores, where she and our daughter had agreed to meet to pull the hair out of some other women.)

This meant it was just soup for me. It is not as if we can pop around the corner and have a dosai in this Arctic town. We do not have a single Indian restaurant here, hence Wengers, India Coffee House and the Kamala Nagar Coffee Centre seem like heavenly beacons to me. The only source of good Indian food is my dear Finnish wife!!

I do not know about you, but that is all the nostalgia I can take for this week.

See you in a fortnight, take care

Jacob, Stephanian 1960-1963

Sunday, October 06, 1996

KTWV02-Issue 1: Kudos, no brickbats!

Hi Stephanians,

Here are a few letters from regular readers of Kooler Talk (Web Version). Makes life a little difficult!!

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 96 14:10:00 PDT
From: Stephanian Indrajit Banerjee
Subject: Re: Stephanian Rathikant hits the Headlines (SUBSCRIBE)

Hi Jacob:


I also had to endure Hindi exam (the compulsory one), taught by Dr. Arya.

I was in Delhi in Dec. 1990 and met Dr. Arya. Had tea with him. He was great. Last Oct, I was again in StephenÍs, he had retired a nd moved to Roorkee.

I passed my compulsory Hindi, but in a weird way - Dr Arya had taught us the "wrong" book. It turns out that different books were to be taught according the year's syllabus. But because of people like you (and me) the exam would have questions from different books (to cover student's from different years) and only the relevant ones (depending on year of admission) needed to be answered. However, Dr. Arya, being in the exam committee, taught us the book by Premchand (not for 1971 admission students), knowing full well that the examiner would not check which year we were admitted, or which book we were supposed to be taught.

I almost walked out of the exam not answering anything (seeing I was taught the wrong book). Then something happened and I scribbled something. Dr. Arya said that if I had written some minimum number of pages, I would pass. I did!!!

Good to hear form you. Keep up the good job!!



From: Stephanian "Monsieur A."
Subject: Re: Stephanian Rathikant hits the Headlines
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 96 15:36:10 EDT


I never groan at getting your messages ... they brighten up my day even if you think you are trying to depress us:))

I am not groaning ... I am bugging you now.

Best wishes


Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 09:32:29 -0700
From: "S. Raja Gopalan"
Organization: Columbia University
Subject: Stephanian on mailing list

PLEASE CHANGE MY ID TO: (email supplied)



Date: Fri, 4 Oct 96 16:08:26 CDT
From: "Sanjay Mundle"
Subject: Pl. add to KT list


I just got through reading the excellent "newsletters" you put together from your experiences at Stephens. I graduated back in 84, and appreciate all the background info. you have included in your writings. I would love to be included on your mailing list for Kooler Talk

(email: supplied)

Looking forward to your next issue.


Sanjay Mundle
BA 1984
Houston, Texas, USA

It is the several letters like these that helped me continue writing this webletter. We are having several problems as the Finnish Government is extremely unhappy about our hard-hitting editorials and comments that are contained on the main page. We have heard they have tried to put pressure on some organisations to stop our web access. A sort of censorship which would put the steps in Singapore seem like heaven!

In anticipation we are negotiating with some Web Site providers in different parts of the world to host our web pages outside of Finland. Then all I need will be a regular shell account and I can upload the webletters without interference from Finnish Government authorities which are ridiculously sensitive to any form of political satire. They just do not seem to appreciate satire.

What seems to have irked them is that the last editorial on Scientific Fraud in Finnish universities where our rebuttal of the claim that there was a mechanism for detection and tackling of Scientific Fraud in Finland was in existence, got an airing on BBC World Service on Sunday 29th September.

Since I was the first "whistleblower" in Finland, and they just glossed over my complaint about a colleague professor who was stealing the work of my students in our laboratory, this has raised a storm as the Professor's Union, the Finnish Academy, the Finnish Ministry of Education and my own Union, the Finnish Union for Researchers failed to raise a finger to bring the person to book. Well that is life!

I wonder whether in Delhi University and in Stephen's, Professors and Researchers carry out this form of Scientific Fraud, or is it that unlike universities in western countries, very little research work actually takes place in the college or university.

It does appear strange to me after all these years that I do not recall any of our college teachers actually being involved with any original research in Stephens - or is my memory failing me!!

Here is a letter from our New York Stephanian Coordinator
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 1996 15:02:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sreenath Sreenivasan
Sender: email address supplied
To: "stephanians (non-new york)":

Subject: SSC #3: our next event

vol 1 / #3: oct 4, 1996

dear stephanians:

a short, occasional newsletter to tell you of our activities in NYC...

the october meeting scheduled for oct 12, 1996 has been CANCELED. (our host-to-be is going to be out of town that day)

instead, our next event, a reception, is now scheduled for nov 8 at the bose pacia gallery in manhattan. a big thank you to deepak talwar (bsc '85), gallery director, for offering to host this event.

date: friday, nov 8, 1996
venue: bose pacia modern
(20th century masters and contemporary fine art of india)
580 broadway, suite 202, soho
212-966-3224 (please RSVP to or
time: 6-8 pm

on display will be paintings by sanjay bhattacharyya, a well-known young painter from delhi.

see you there... pass on the word... if you know of any stephanians who aren't on our list, let us know!

see you there...



FYI: anil wilson has taken a three-year leave as principal of SSC to work at himachal univ, and horace jacob is acting principal...

I am still working on a map layout of the college as it existed in 1963 and hopefully in a month I will have it up.

Regards and take care,

Stephanian Jacob Matthan
Oulu, Finland