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10. Ph.D. Thesis

He is a scientist devoted to his subject. He used to glue himself to his microscope, often until 10 p.m. His profession was teaching in a college. He was not only respected by his students but loved for his sweet, soft manners and devotion to his pupils. No strike, however universal, would prevent him from taking his classes. He was a devoted scholar, devoted to his subject, his students and his professors. After his M.Sc. he did his Ph.D. The Principal of the College was his professor and guide. As ill luck would have it, this man who was universally loved and respected, who identified himself with his duty and fixed himself at his post of duty, who was soft spoken, had for some inexplicable reason fallen out of favour with his Principal, who was also his guide. His course in Ph.D. was a shining success. His expertise was in grapes, jasmine and tomato culture. His thesis came out very well. Even before the thesis was out, his findings were recognised outside.

His guide was more of an administrator than a scientist. When a thesis was written by a research worker, it was necessary that the guide certify it as a bonafide work done under his guidance before the thesis could be submitted to the university for evaluation. This guide, for reasons best known to him, refused to certify this thesis as bonafide. The scholar was dismayed. The entire campus felt outraged. Such a treatment to such a devoted scientist over so valuable a research work!  Soon the Principal left the college for a higher job in the Central Government with his office in North India. The statutory rules allow that any thesis may be submitted within four years, though the work is only for two years. If a thesis is not submitted within that four years, the whole work gets cancelled and procedure requires that the scholar must start over again from scratch. For this scholar, the expiry date was only a few weeks away. As he had already given up all hopes, his disappointment was less keen. His friend brought this incidence to my notice at that moment and asked whether a way out was possible. A way out was possible, I said, if the scholar agreed to pray to Mother.

A few weeks later a stranger called on me. He introduced himself as one sent by a friend of mine. I recognised the circumstances. I invited him in and asked where he was coming from. Slowly he warmed up and said he was coming from the Ashram, where he had an occasion to sit in meditation in the Room in which Sri Aurobindo had been in tapas for 24 years. After a while when we felt a little more comfortable and friendly towards each other, he explained as follows.

"Your friend returned from the Ashram and spoke to me about my thesis and asked me whether I would pray to Mother. I know nothing about Mother, but I have often heard from him that She is Divine. I had no difficulty in accepting the idea of prayer, but there was a great practical difficulty. The last date for submission of the thesis was just two days away. I had no idea where my guide was. As a last resort I left for the university office the next day, having hurriedly collected all the relevant papers, certificates and documents in one day. There I met the Registrar and told him my position. It was the very last day, 10 o'clock in the morning. The Registrar took a great interest in my case, appreciated my difficulty and was willing to offer any help, but he said it was totally invalid without the signature of my guide. I told him frankly that my guide refused to sign it and I did not know where he was at that moment. The Registrar agreed to receive the thesis as submitted on that day but also offered a suggestion. He told me that my guide was in the city on that day and I could try my luck in obtaining his signature. I hesitated. He explained that my guide was leaving for America that afternoon to receive an honorary degree and, perhaps, in such a mood he might agree to sign. With a heart filled with anxiety I went to his house. To my surprise, the guide was outside and received me with a big smile. My greater surprise was when he asked me about my thesis and offered to certify it. With a relief felt all over my body I held out my thesis. He readily signed and said he was taking the 2 p.m. flight that day and it was nice I could come in time. From there I went to the Ashram with a sense of wonder still hovering around me. That was my first visit. I offered my gratitude to Mother, about whom I yet do not know much. Straight away I am coming here."

He was really a very soft-spoken man and very cultured in his ways. Since then he has presided over international conferences and has risen to the highest position in the university in his own subject. Just now there are six professors working under him.

book | by Dr. Radut