26th July 2005 And 25th July 2015: Two Tragedies, Ten Years Apart

Mumbai, July 25: 26th of July 2005, a date well-ingrained in the minds of most Mumbaikars as the fateful day when unprecedented rain brought the ‘city which never sleeps’ to a standstill for a week, and claimed several innocent lives. Ten years have passed since then, but the scars which the floods of 2005 have left on the city are far from ameliorated.  25th of July 2015 is probably going to be another such date which will be difficult to forget; if not for the whole country, then at least for the families of around 7 lakh students across the country.

Yes, the second tragedy which I am referring to- would have unfolded by the time this article is published- is the AIPMT (All India Pre-Medical Test) re-exam scheduled for the 25th of July 2015. And why do I refer to it as a tragedy? Before jumping to the answer, let’s delve a little into the past. I myself had written the AIPMT just last year. And so the of boundless joy and liberation I’d felt the moment I stepped out of the examination hall on the 4th of May 2014 is still crystal clear in my memories. Conceded that other medical entrance exams were still there in front of me (including the prestigious AIIMS entrance exam), but still, with the AIPMT behind me, it was as if all the stress and toil of the past two years had paid off and I almost stopped worrying about how I’d do in all the ones remaining (knowing that I’d done upto my expectations obviously helped).

But for the 6.5 lakh unfortunate students who gave the AIPMT in May this year, this feeling of liberation was cruelly snatched away by the Supreme Court verdict quashing the test held on the 3rd of May and ordering the CBSE to hold it all over. And all this suffering, was the doing of some ‘e-terrorists’ who ran the hi-tech cheating racket to help undeserving candidates to gain admission into prestigious medical colleges across the country.

Why should the perpetrators of this scam be called terrorists? Just a glance at the number of people they have harmed and the suffering they have caused justifies it. First and foremost, are the 6.5 lakh medical aspirants and their families. The mental agony they must have gone through, is unimaginable; with their future hanging in balance, the stress and frustration they’d have felt is nothing short of what the victims of terrorist attacks go through. Even for those who manage to do well in this second AIPMT, the delay in the admission procedure would mean that their entire first year of MBBS would run behind schedule and as someone who has just completed first year MBBS, I realize that getting through the first year in a medical college is stressful enough, let alone doing so with a messed up schedule. Secondly, while the emotional aspect can probably never be quantified, there is one aspect which can be- the financial loss caused. The CBSE getting the entire machinery up and running at such a short notice- re issuing of hall tickets, notifying the schools to be used as exam centers and making the additional security arrangements necessitated by the bitter experience, preparing results all over- would surely not have come cheap. Thirdly, this unforgivable act could harm the entire country in the long term. Just imagine, had the crooks succeeded in their endeavor and pushed undeserving candidates into medical colleges, what sort of doctors would the nation be having in the future? Let alone the risk of incompetence, the fact that people who indulged in such unethical practices at the very onset would be the ones in whose hands people entrust the well-being of their near and dear ones, is enough to shake the conscience of the nation.

In my eyes, anyone who knowingly causes so much of suffering to the nation at large is nothing short of a terrorist. And I know it sounds a little extremist, but still I plead for the maximum punishment possible under the Indian law for all the perpetrators. For the sins of these terrorists are comparable to, if not more than those of Kasab , Afzal Guru or Dawood Ibrahim…………………………