Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Different kinds of scholars.

Been having this thought for quite some time. People who have PhD and those who heal people have the same title conferred to them. Seems a bit unfair to me. Besides it creates unnecessary confusion among the general public (Remember Ross from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.).


Khushwant Singh puts it in better words in the last week's edition of his column "With malice towards one and all" which appeared in Hindustan Times:
Professor RC Sobti, Vice Chancellor of Panjab University and Registrar A K Bhandari came all the way from Chandigarh to confer an honourary doctorate on me.
Though overwhelmed with gratitude, I feel I must confess my shortcomings as a scholar. I went through school and colleges in Delhi, Lahore and London barely able to pass examinations I had to take. Having such a poor academic record, having four doctorates conferred on me is hard to believe.
My motive in writing about it is not a devious way to indulge in self-praise, but to draw the attention to the misuse of the word doctorate.
It has three different meanings. One is for qualifications as a healer of sick people. The second for scholarship in writing theses on topics hitherto not touched upon. And the third for honouring people for their achievements in any field. I think it is time we had three different words for them. Only those in the medical profession deserve to be called doctors.
We have to coin different words for scholarly works and recognition for achievements. Try to think what they should be in Sanskrit, Greek or Latin. And make it obligatory for recipients not to use them.

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