When my husband and I reached the venue where the convocation ceremony of ACJ was being celebrated, we little expected to see a jam packed auditorium with bunches of people crowding in the doorways as well. I squeezed myself amongst those standees comprising stylishly dressed young ladies who appeared more suitable to participate in a cat walk rather than in an event of an academic nature. I managed to get a foothold and was able to listen to whatever was left of the introductory speech where the speaker concluded on an optimistic note regarding placement of their graduates.
It would be interesting to read a couple of excerpts (which are practical tips to future journalists ) from the Second Lawrence Dana Pinkham Memorial Lecture , ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox Revisited: Further Reflections on the Environment-Growth Debate’delivered by Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forests .
‘I am delighted to be here this evening. When I received the invitation from my friend Mr.Sashi Kumar, I had only one question –will I be asked wear those awful gowns and quirky hats associated with graduation ceremonies? On being assured of a more civilized dress code, I readily accepted.
It is actually a triple –header ball game today as might be reported in Wikileaks-ACJ’s Convocation, World Press Freedom Day and the second Lawrence Dana Pinkham Memorial lecture.
One of the most celebrated essays of the 20th. century was IsaiahBerlin’s The Hedgehog and the Fox.The noted philosopher drew upon a fragment of verse by the Greek poet Archilocus-‘the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’-to delve into Tolstoy’s view of history.
In conclusion the Minister said:
‘This being a convocation address, I suppose I must end with some advice to all of you youngsters about to enter that greatest temple of learning (and earning) –the Universityof Life. The best advice I can give you in light of what I have said today is read Berlin. Be ‘Hedgehoggy’ but develop the traits of a fox. And a fox need not be looked down upon, as we often tend to do. I can do no better to convince you of what a fox could mean when I recall that joke—blasphemous to recall in Chennai perhaps. It goes like this: Q: Who is the only Indian politician to have a Hollywood studio named after him: A:Rajaji with the studio being 20th. Century Fox!
That is as good a place to end this lecture as any.’
Unable to stand any longer I had to leave before the rest of the events followed. I am still at a loss to understand the reason for such unprecedented attendance (comprising a great number of non academic people) in the short history of ACJ’s Convocation which used to be held at the Music Academy all these past years.
Probably the inclusion of ‘All are welcome’ in the ad. Was one of the reasons.
n.meera raghavendra rao