Women outnumber men at Bharathidasan varsity convocation, differently abled receive PhDs

A total of 1,06,231 students were to receive their certificates on Thursday, of which 71,774 (67.56%) were women

Published: 10th December 2021 02:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2021 02:01 PM   |  A+A-

TN governor R N Ravi, Chancellor of Bharathidasan University, presenting medals and degree certificates to graduates during the 37th graduation day in Tiruchy (Express Photo | MK Ashok Kumar)

Express News Service

TIRUCHY: At the Bharathidasan University convocation on Thursday, underneath the white coats was an array of colour. Women graduates/ PhDs were more than double the men. A total of 1,06,231 students were to receive their certificates on Thursday, of which 71,774 (67.56%) were women.

Of these, 1805 only received the certificates in person while the others would collect the certificates later. Governor RN Ravi, Chancellor of the university, handed over the certificates to each of the 1805 graduates at the convocation on Thursday.

Taking note, and lauding the number of female graduates, Dr K Ponmudi, Higher Education Minister, and Pro-Chancellor of the university, said that it is heartening to see women outnumbering men. He said this was the way it was during the Sangam Era and we were returning to that time.

"During the Sangam Era, many women were educated. Things changed in the time following that and women didn't study as much. Now, we are moving back to that Sangam time and women are extremely interested in education. They are studying and making sure that their children study," said Ponmudi.

Several pregnant women and women in their 50s, proudly received their certificates and doctorates from Governor Ravi. One woman, Praveena, with just two weeks to go for her delivery, and fresh from her baby shower, collected her PhD from the Governor. She has a BSc, MSc, MPhil and now PhD in Zoology. She says that she was glad that she received the certificate before the birth of her first child.

"I am very happy that my life's dream has been fulfilled today. I am doubly glad because I am officially a Doctor before my baby is born," said Praveena.

Another woman, Benazir, who received her doctorate in physics, said that she was proud looking at the sheer number of women in the crowd.

"My happiness at receiving my degree doubled seeing the number of women waiting in line with me to receive their degrees. We need more women to study and this trend is heartening," said Benazir.

Differently abled receive PhDs

Proving that willpower is the key to success, four differently-abled students received their PhD degrees from Governor RN Ravi. By applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt, fear and poverty, these students hope to become teachers and inspire the next generation.

N Kathiresan, a 37-year-old teacher at the Government Syed Murthuza Higher Secondary School, has already started walking on that path. He received his doctorate in Tamil. He said he studied at government institutions throughout his life because he couldn't afford private education or classes. "My parents are agricultural coolie labourers. They mostly do farm work. I have three brothers and now I am working as a teacher for 11th and 12th standard in the same school I studied in," he added.

Kathiresan further said technology has helped their lives a lot and made studying easier. "Till I was pursuing MA, I had a tough time studying as we would have to record everything in cassettes or CDs and listen to them. Now, recording and listening has become very easy. I hope to inspire the future generations to study and achieve something in life," he explained.

Kannan, 34, pursued his PhD on the works of author and poet Andal Priyadarshini. He said he was inspired by Priyadarshini's feminist work and wanted to research more on it.

But completing a PhD is not easy for a blind person, said Kannan's friend and fellow doctorate holder Suga Vaneswaran.

"Pursuing PhD is very difficult. To read, write, understand and submit your thesis is a challenge as it is. It takes most people more than five years. Imagine if you can't read and write, but rely on audio alone, to grasp, understand and then make your observations. Then you explain it to a scribe, who writes it. It is truly difficult; hats off to people like Kannan, who make it look like a cakewalk," said Vaneswaran.

Kannan completed his doctorate in 4.5 years. He is looking for a college lecturer job and hopes that the government can help him get one. "I wanted to be the first person from my family to pursue a doctorate degree. My father is old and has to escort me to various colleges for interviews. It is very difficult for us to go on short notice. I have given the UGC National Entrance Test as well," says Kannan.


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