Of skills and certificates
“A good man is better than a good certificate”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi counselled the country’s youth the other day to hone their skills to their very best extent so as to useful members of the society. In this context, some time back an agricultural scientist, named XYZ narrated his experience in an article carried in a local daily newspaper as to how he started his career as an Agriculture Development Officer after his degree course, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and he struggled hard to do a doctorate in his profession. Some of XYZ’s teachers in the Agriculture College had done advanced research in one the fields of Agricultural Science. They prefixed letters ‘Dr’ before their name. Emulating their example, XYZ also wished to go in for research, so that he could also earn entitlement for the said prefix ‘Dr’ before his name. Longing for earning acclaim for ones performance of one act or the other is a universal craving with us all. Earning entitlement for a decorative prefix like Dr before one’s name is a modus towards that end.
In common parlance the word doctor, abbreviated as
‘Dr’ generally implies a physician, the professional who medicates us out of our physical ailment. On the lines of allopathic physicians, the dentists and the veterinarians are also addressed as ‘Doctor’. The association of physiotherapists too have now got the decoration made applicable before their name. Of late some Graduates in Agriculture and or Horticulture, employed as Inspectors of Agriculture/Horticulture, etc are sometimes found prefixing ‘Dr’ before their name.
‘Dr’ generally implies a physician, the professional who medicates us out of our physical ailment. On the lines of allopathic physicians, the dentists and the veterinarians are also addressed as ‘Doctor’. The association of physiotherapists too have now got the decoration made applicable before their name. Of late some Graduates in Agriculture and or Horticulture, employed as Inspectors of Agriculture/Horticulture, etc are sometimes found prefixing ‘Dr’ before their name on the premise that their degree, B.Sc. in respective stream, is a four years course like Animal Husbandry doctors’ B.V.Sc. degree earned in the same duration from same institution. Here, the electronic search engine Google clarifies that a person who has completed academic research comprising rigorous work followed by publication of the thesis, which would make substantial contribution to the existing knowledge, is entitle to be called a Doctor or ‘Dr’. The word doctor thus refers to level of expertise and not to any particular profession, further clarifies the search engine.
Here, the misuse of the word doctor or the pre-fix Dr by jholachhap mendicant is quite common in Indian rural scenario.
For that matter obsessive flatterers call even a pharmacist a doctor. The mushrooming of cheap mercenary universities and plagiarism becoming rampant all around in certain academic circles also dilute the importance of the word doctor. Interestingly, in not too remote a past in a response to the UP Government’s advertisement for a few posts of peons, hundreds of PhDs had submitted applications for the appointment to that lowest government post.
The confusion, however, makes me nostalgic about our high school era perception way back during early nineteen fifties. One of our teachers used to say, “A good man is better than a good certificate”. Here is a concrete example of the said perception being true and sound.
Who built Bhakra dam?
It was sometimes during nineteen fifty that Pandit Jwahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, inducted an American dam builder M Harvey Slocum to head the Indian engineers already working on the Bhakra dam project, on the advice of Harry S Truman the then President of America. The Indian engineers included graduate and even postgraduate civil engineer alumna of prestigious Indian Engineering institutes like, Kharagpur, Benaras, Roorkee, etc; The PM had signed one way agreement for Mr Salocum’s appointment offering him Rs one lakh as monthly salary with liberal terms for leave and travel, etc!
Mr Salocum arrived at Nangal some times during 1950 and took up the construction of Bhakra Dam as its top Executive
Director. All of Indian Engineers complied Mr Slocum’s foolproof directives. He did not avail even a single days off for anything personal till the Shiwalik gullet had the dam at Bhakra and the back waters of Satluj became swirling Gobind Sagar, some times during 1960. He got relieved from the assignment only after a heart attack lifted him straight from his Nangal abode while he and his spouse were having a leisurely stroll to his new abode in the heaven above. Legend has it that Mr Salocum had left school after 8th class and his technical expertise was based simply on ground experience. How forthright was the school teacher’s perception that “A good man is better than a good certificate”?
Call me Dr.
A diploma is not enough!