Poll veteran Channi ‘fails’ to clear Panjab University entrance for PhD in political science
Punjab technical education minister has failed to clear varsity’s joint entrance test for PhD and MPhil, PU sources claimUpdated: Sep 02, 2017 14:19 IST
Hope springs eternal in the heart of Charanjit Singh Channi, minister of technical education and industrial training in the Punjab government. Though Panjab University sources say the minister, who hosts job fairs for youth in the state, has failed to clear the varsity’s joint entrance test for PhD and MPhil, Channi still nurses hope. “I haven’t got the result yet. There is some confusion, I am told.”
A PhD candidate has to score 55% marks to clear the test in the open category, while a candidate in the reserved category must score 50%. A prominent dalit leader, Channi belongs to the reserved category. PU sources say, he has failed to make the cut.
The three-time legislator, known as much for his ‘winnability’ in the poll arena as for his unending pursuit of academics, shrugs off his disappointment. “It isn’t easy to compete with today’s youngsters. There are just two seats for PhD in the political science department of Panjab University. If I don’t make it this time, I will try again.”
The PhD is important to Channi due to the subject he proposes to pursue. A Congressman, Channi is determined to cement his loyalty to the party with a thesis on Indian National Congress (INC). “I haven’t decided my topic, but it will revolve around the INC,” he says.
That will be the icing on the cake for a legislator who is a trained lawyer with two postgraduate degrees — in business administration and in political science.
“I study for the love of education, not qualification,” he clarifies, clearly hurt at the ribbing he gets from peers and media alike for his academic passion.
“I have 10 universities under me who would be happy to give me an honorary doctorate, but I want to do my doctorate from PU,” he bristles.
Channi says he gets his dedication to education from his father Harsa Singh. “He worked in Malaysia for a while. He relocated us from our village to Kharar only because he wanted to educate us.”
Love for education
runs in the family
Channi, whose wife Kamaljeet is a doctor, says elder brother Manmohan Singh, who started his career as an overseer and retired as a chief engineer, inspired him. “He was a diploma holder when he joined the government service, but he did graduation, B Tech, and law while in service.”
Channi was doing matriculation from Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Kharar, when he took baby steps in politics by getting elected as the president of the students’ union. “I got 472 out of 1,000 votes,” says Channi, who remembers the exact number of votes polled by his two rivals.
He continued politicking in Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Chandigarh, where he was elected general secretary to the students’ union.
“I never studied for a naukri (job),” says Channi, who also excelled at bhangra and handball. “I represented PU thrice in handball; we won two gold medals in inter-varsity tournaments,” he recounts.
Did MBA after
being elected MLA
His political and academic journey continued side by side. He started by graduating in law from PU as a municipal councillor from Kharar. While others would have stopped at that, he decided to pursue MBA from PTU when he was elected an MLA. “I thought it was a good subject,” he says. Only last year he completed his post-graduation in political science from PU. “It wasn’t easy as I was the leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP). I remember getting Kanwar, a professor of political science, to Delhi so that he could help me prepare for the exams.”
PhD is very much on his agenda. If not this year, then next year. Meanwhile, his elder son Navjeet Singh, who’s passed out from PEC University of Technology is carrying on the family tradition — by enrolling for law.