NEW DELHI: St Stephen's College principal Valson Thampu, who has been in news for all the wrong reasons, today said that controversies had been the "grammar" of his tenure so far and he thoroughly "enjoyed" each of them.
Thampu, who had recently compared himself to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim claiming that he is being hounded like an animal, also said the college has been on a "sleeping mode" for long. "Controversies have been the grammar of my service as the college has been subject to intense contestation during these years, but I have thoroughly enjoyed each of them till their last leg," he said while delivering a public lecture at the college on "A vision for education".
"Various people have come forward to say things about the college but no one has bothered to check their assumptions and presumptions about St Stephen's...I am afraid the college has been sleeping for quite a while now," he added. He said if he could be frightened, he would have rather joined some "national commission" and not the college.
Thampu, who studied at St Stephen's and later served the college as a lecturer and officiating principal, took over as the college principal in 2008. He is due to retire from the post in February 2016. Issues like allegations of forced conversion of an administrative officer to Christianity, fake degree used for his appointment, banning of e-zine for not seeking permission on content and shielding a professor accused of sexual harassment of a research scholar have rocked the college from time to time.
"A crucial aspect of robust academic environment is discipline which is a much maligned and grossly misunderstood concept. Morally, discipline is the ability to control animal instincts...no achievement or progress is possible without discipline and it is a gross mistake to see discipline in opposition to personal liberty," he said in a veiled reference to the recent e-zine row.
A student had dragged Thampu to court for suspending him as he had started a college magazine without his clearance. Thampu's move had invited criticism from various quarters.