We wrote in this space yesterday about the need for actor Manoj Kumar, ‘hurt’ by a scene in Om Shanti Om, to develop a sense of humour. Today, we pass on the same advice to the students and teachers who are ‘outraged’ by the comment made by St Stephen’s College administrator M.S. Frank. In an interview with the college magazine, Mr Frank stated that if a co-ed hostel was allowed in the campus, a maternity ward should also be considered. Frankly, that is quite a witty line.
But even if Mr Frank was being dead serious — which he wasn’t considering the interview mentions that he let out a laugh when he made his ‘controversial’ statement — what terribly upsetting thing did the man utter? College life by itself can be liberating for many. And if the price of the liberation in the form of co-ed dorms is the occasional failure of contraceptive powers, what is so blightful about thinking about on-campus facilities such as a maternity ward?
Liberal gravitas can be such a frightfully serious thing. In the midst of a lighter, more genuinely open-minded crowd, Mr Frank’s comment would have actually been welcomed — on the lines of, say, that old chestnut, ‘Make love, not war.’ But on our venerable campuses, a wisecrack becomes an authoritarian uttering, a phobic comment from a fuddy-daddy. Frankly, Mr Frank’s line was quite the opposite.