Today I start my dream project of digitising my writings, photographs and some television documentaries on which I worked. My first ever journalistic writing was published on 10th December 1968 in a Ranchi newspaper, New Republic.
I was a student of Ranchi College at that time, persuing my graduation course. I aspired to become a journalist because I was convinced that I did not want any other job.
Bored with trying to decipher the marvels of Golden Treasury, I would keep making rounds of local newspaper offices with my write-ups, which were rejected in less than 30 seconds.
The golden opportunity presented itself in the form of a students’ agitation in Ranchi University. I visited New Republic office with a report and tried to keep a deadpan expression when the gentleman on the desk told me that they will use it.
Next morning, the newspaper published my report as ‘By Our University Correspondent’. I had to visit the newspaper office twice before they presented me with the a purse of Rs 10 as my honorarium.
Sharing my first report.
R.U. Signs Armistice With Student Rebels
(By our University Reporter)
RANCHI – Like the mad Indian Badshah, who made his people trek to a new capital and back again the Ranchi College was closed sine die on Dec 7 and reopened on Dec.10.
In the evening on Dec.7 notices were issued calling upon the residents of the College hostels to vacate by noon next day. Some of them left the hostels, as directed. They are now trekking back again.
All this drama started when four B.Sc. Final examinees went on hunger strike in the University campus on Dec, 5 the main demand being that the B.Sc. Final examinees too should be given grace marks as had been given to other examinees in the past. Their grievance was that they had been unjustly treated in the practical tests and had been made to fail therein.
It may be recalled that this scandal of “floating grace marks” was started by the University itself when it allowed 50 such marks to a batch of engineering examinees. The word is that this was done to enable the son of a particular member of the syndicate to sail through.
The hunger strike by four boys had the desired effect the next day when the students of Ranchi College went on a general strike in sympathy. The sympathy was not, however, confined within the ranks of the students alone. Some teachers too were found extending their spiritual support to the cause. The college authorities stopped in a day later, on Dec. 7, to close the college sine die.
However, all is well that ends well. The battle led to negotiations and an armistice was signed on Dec 9. The hunger strikers broke their fast and the teachers and students of Ranchi College returned from their Roman holiday on Dec. 10.
The armistice stipulated that the examinees in B.A., B.Com. and B.Sc. honours courses would be allowed to appear at supplementary examinations in two Pass Course papers. Their honours marks will remain valid but they will not be considered for merit placement.
The other stipulation was that in future all practical tests up to B.Sc. Final will be conducted by two external examiners, instead of by the internal ones as at present, and the marks obtained in the theory papers and practical test will be combined and assessed together.
Whether the internal examiners, who hitherto conducted the practical tests, are feeling flattered could not be immediately ascertained.
New Republic, Ranchi, 10 December, 1968