‘Blind Leaders Immune’: St Stephen’s Principal on Student’s Death
After his note was published, Verghese said a ‘section of the media had selectively interpreted’ his text.
After Satyam Jha, a first-year BA (Hons) History student of St Stephen’s College, succumbed to COVID-19 at a private hospital in Kota in Rajasthan on 25 May, college principal John Verghese wrote an anguished note on the institute’s website.
Describing the 19-year-old as a “brilliant student” with “immense potential”, Varghese wrote about the student who died without being able to step onto the campus he had studied so hard to get into.
“A young man looking forward to life expectantly. His dreams and those of his parents and all who loved him came to an end with his death. His soul though, we pray, hope and believe, rests in eternal peace.”St Stephen’s principal John Verghese wrote.
However, after his note was published by media houses, Verghese said that a ‘section of the media had selectively interpreted’ his text.
Jha was a member of the debating society, the Gandhi Ambedkar Study Circle and the organising committee of the Students’ Federation of India unit. In the context of the increasing number of COVID deaths amid the deadly and unprecedented second wave in India, he expressed his concern.
“The claims of belligerent and blind leaders who are immune to the suffering and deaths of simple people also show that we are veering off dangerously to becoming a cruel and insensitive race. How do all those claims of power and importance matter before the death of a loved one? Nothing.”St Stephen’s principal John Verghese wrote.
“The second wave of the pandemic has been heartless in its ruthless rampage through our country exposing our hollow claims of being prepared, of being one of the largest producers of pharmaceutical products in the world, of even being a civilization that places value on the higher things in life. But if life itself is gone, then wither all these claims? They are merely a futile breath of air. A mere posturing, signifying nothing.”John Verghese | St Stephen’s principal
Saddened by Divisive, Mischievous and Irresponsible Media Reports: St Stephens Principal
Reacting to the publication of his note, the principal issued another note on 28 May saying that a section of the media had chosen to selectively interpret and report his communication. “I am deeply saddened by the divisive, mischievous and irresponsible nature of such media reports,” it read.
It went on to say that common sense and propriety demanded that every communication be treated in its entirety, paying full attention to the context. “Selective versions, truncated reports and modified communications may be read and treated with caution,” the note, signed by the principal, read.
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