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Honorary doctorates are dime a dozen now!!

Couple of days back when I opened the days newspaper I was surprised to find that tennis player Sania Mirza was awarded a doctorate by MGR University in Chennai.  What caused me a surprise is she is all of 22 years old and has been a professional tennis player only for the last 5 years,  Her biggest achievement so far is reaching the 4th round of US Open in 2005 in Grand Slams.  Her other big achievement is achieving the mixed doubles gold medal in Asian Games in 2006 and silver in Singles in the same Asian Games.  

I am not trying to belittle the achievements of Sania but I feel that she is still very young to be given a doctorate.  She has a long way to go and still needs to be a consistent performer first.  But MGR University doesnt think that way. 

But this is not the only instance.. Last year Cinema actor Vijay and Director Shankar was awarded honorary doctorates by Sathyabama University.  I am not against the honorary doctorates given to Cinema actors and directors but my concern is now the basic qualifications are getting diluted.   Historically honorary doctorates were given to people who are considered experts in their field of activity or who has done yeoman service to public good.  The recipients were also honoured to be awarded the doctorates.  But now you see Universities are running behind celebrities to offer doctorates to promote and create visibility for their Universities rather than really recognising the deserved.  

There are highly deserving candidates like Krishnammal Jaganathan who won the Right Livelihood Award in 2008, which is called as "Alternate Nobel Prize" for her untiring non-violent struggle for the landless labourer and also against prawn farms spoiling the drinking water sources for villagers has gone unnoticed.  You can read her biography here in Wikipedia.  Let theTamilnadu Universities fight with one another and award her doctorate for her efforts also. 

Honorary doctorates are just becoming a joke nowadays.. 

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