Prefixing the abbreviation “Dr” and suffixing Ph. D to one’s name come to fruition after one is made to sweat it out for as many as five years. It is no more so. People have acquired the ingenuity of short-cuts to ‘produce thesis’, an important requirement for becoming a Doctor of Philosophy. Thriving industries have come up in many places in the county which offer ‘ready-made thesis’ for a price. According to well-investigated stories which appeared in newspapers, the national Capital and Hyderabad have become the hubs of this ‘industry’, though there are others too. Most of the research works coming out of these ‘production houses’ are procured apparently from college and university libraries or taken from internet and manipulated to look like original ones.
Another area of manoeuvering is publishing articles in ‘international magazines’, which makes one more qualified in the recruitment market. It adds more weightage to one’s biodata. Hence, many ‘shops’ have come up that function as publishing houses of several magazines and they get the job done with elan. In fact, these magazines are ‘international’ only in name; they are nothing but fake ones meant to ‘make’ someone more qualified in the biodata.
Another area of fraud is making anyone an ‘author’ by publishing his/her book. Becoming an author adds to the profile of an aspiring teacher/professor. Writing a book requires months, sometimes years, of hard work. It is the result of burning midnight oil and spending many a sleepless night. ‘Shops’ have come up to help aspiring teachers by ‘cooking up’ books in no time. The ‘author’ does not have to take any pain; he/she has to shell out some money, a few thousand rupees; it makes one an author overnight. In most cases, such books may not be sold in the market. It will be graciously gifted to libraries and friends.
The mushrooming of such ‘industries’ started with the University Grants Commission and other bodies giving more weightage to candidates holding Ph. D than those without that suffix. While prestigious universities keep a tight leash and vigil against plagiarism, some are lenient and the candidates take advantage of it. They get abundant help from the above- mentioned shops that have sprung up in many places.
Conferring honours and awards is yet another fraud rampant among academicians. Honours like ‘best teacher award’ are just a few ATMs away. Draw the money and hand it over to certain organisations which will arrange for such awards being presented by dignitaries. One does not have to go through any rigorous scrutiny or such formalities involved in the selection process. But it is a case of one getting honoured in a dishonourable manner.
The ultimate casualty is merit. In an environment where writing a thesis, publishing articles, authoring book and conferring honours are all fake, it raises serious questions over the future of meritorious candidates. Retrieval from the present situation looks bleak as even Ministers and others holding responsible positions are under the shadow of allegations of holding fake degrees. When custodians of law become violators of the same, there is little hope for meritorious people.(Published on 17th September 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 38)