Who’s paying for Pinarayi son’s UK studies?

published on November 21, 2007

Courtesy: www.dailypioneer.com
Author:VR Jayaraj | Kochi

Does a leader of the proletariat have the moral right to educate his offspring in academies which charge astronomical amounts in tuition and other fees even when he exhorts his comrades to lead intense agitations against self-financing professional colleges? Is it right for a communist leader who complains about lack of attention given to liberal arts by colleges to send to study abroad? Where does Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala unit secretary of the CPI(M), who has no known sources of huge income, find the money to pay for his son Vivek Kiran’s MBA course at Birmingham University where the fees and other expenses are in the range of Rs 50-lakh for two years?

Questions like these, which had made their way even into the State Assembly in the beginning of 2006, are once again hot subject of discussion in the Kerala CPI(M), which is ravaged by rampant faction fights between communist hardliners led by Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and the neo-liberalists headed by none other than the party secretary.

The issue is now enlivened once more by Janasakthi, a magazine published by pro-Achuthanandan Leftists, which asks, “Who is the sponsor of Pinarayi’s son at Birmingham ?” The articles appearing in the latest issue of the magazine, arraying a series of documents to disprove any and all claims made by the secretary so far about the source of resources for his son’s studies abroad, are powerful enough to trap Pinarayi (and his reformist supporters) in a very difficult situation.

When the issue was in the news in February 2006, Pinarayi had stated that bank loans were available for students if they were interested in studies. Citing the case of Rajani S Anand, an economically backward engineering student who had committed suicide for not being able to get an educational loan over which the SFI and DYFI had hosted several violent strikes, the magazine says that Pinarayi’s son had not availed any loan for his study abroad though an application had been moved. It also says that neither Vijayan nor his wife Kamala had sufficient family resources to support Vivek’s expenses at Birmingham. In September 2005, when Vivek’s course abroad was to start, Pinarayi had informed the bank that he did not need the loan. “He should have found some other source for money,” says the magazine.

As per a Birmingham University letter to Vivek, the tuition fees alone for the two-year course would come to GBP 22,500, which was close to Rs 20 lakh. The magazine says that this and other expenses, even if they were moderate, would come to somewhere near Rs 50 lakh. The magazine states that Pinarayi Vijayan alone would not be able to foot such a huge bill. The magazine asks, “Then who sponsored this?”

When writer-social activist Sarah Joseph had once raised the issue before the public, pro-Pinarayi cultural leaders in Kerala had sided with the secretary saying it was no wonder that clever and studious boys got admission in reputed universities. But the magazine cuts to size these cultural leaders’ arguments proving with documents that Vivek Kiran had never been an above-average student. In fact, since the school finals, he was a below-average student. It alleges that he had to depend on his father’s clout to get admission to the School of Communication and Management Studies in Kochi , where a minimum of 50 per cent marks were required for admission in the qualifying examination while he had only 40 percent marks. Also, he had passed out from SCMS with a low “C” grade.

The magazine alleges that the parents of the boy had compelled him to study subjects he was never interested in. From the school finals, Vivek had scored good marks in languages and humanities while under performing in other subjects but he was diverted from that track to management studies in which he had proved a low-performer. This was irrespective of the communists’ complaint that languages and humanities were not being given proper attention by authorities in the academy or parents because of their craze for quick-job courses.

The magazine, brought out by Leftists with known pro-VS leanings, implies that some of Vijayan’s connections with people of redoubtable income sources had ensured the funds for Vivek’s study abroad.

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