A catastrophic moment
When the various colleges under DU announced their respective cut-offs for their courses, the impact was no less catastrophic than the cloud burst which hit Uttarakhand about two weeks ago. All students were jolted out of their triumphant sweet distribution from the results, their harried fathers scurrying around with calculators to check every %age point on their child’s mark sheet & their stunned mothers being given shock treatment to help them come out of a state of stupor. Yes, most of DU college cut-offs were in the north of 98%, in some cases even 100% and, it’s rumored, in few courses it was 102%. (Yes, apparently students consistently clocking 100% over last 5 years in a row, would get a grace of 2% this year, making them reach a mathematically improbable 102% in aggregate, and, of course, only those students could go for those 102% cut-off courses)
The pandemonium which followed was, thus, no different than the one witnessed in the flood affected areas. Some even suggested diverting Army from Uttarakhand to Delhi to handle the flood of tears in the eyes of thousands of earnest students, who had scored between 90- 96% & were now in a situation of being marooned as academic refugees- whom no college or course worth taking was taking.
The Congress & BJP quickly got into action of explaining how its respective opposition was responsible for the situation.
The Congress bemoaned the culture of bunking brought about by BJP party’s constant walk-out of Parliament sessions. The party said, this attitude of bunking seeped into many bright impressionable minds into bunking school & consequently getting their potential 99% marks, down to a paltry 97.5% and thus missing the cut-off.
BJP gave a different angle, saying it was the economic mismanagement by economist PM Manmohan Singh, which led to this situation. With the rupee tumbling to newer lows every day against dollar, many students planning to fly across to the other side of Atlantic for college education had to drop as budget spiraled out of control. And this simply meant more demand for domestic college seats despite limited supply and consequent rise in cut-offs. An economic explanation for an economical PM.
A collateral impact in another sphere
These developments in the academic circles were also having a parallel effect on a completely non-academic neck of woods. Yes our Netas! Suddenly they found themselves being the needless butt of jokes arising out of the mindless cut-offs. SMS jokes whirled around saying all students scoring less than 85% had no hope of doing any course and hence should join politics- which has no qualification needed. Tweets flew about saying political Netas were happy with 100 as cut-offs marks, until they were reminded that it’s 100% and not 100 marks aggregate total of all subjects together!
With their pride hurt, all the honorable MPs across parties came together and decided to get some honor back. There was complete unanimity that there should be some kind of cut-off which will showcase the unmistakable talent needed to be a Parliamenterian. And this cut-off shall be adhered to by all parties.
Someone suggested that let the cut-off be academic qualification of at least Post-Graduate & above. It was quickly shot down, as all knew, that MPs will go a step further and purchase their PHD thesis by tomorrow, leading to an awkward situation of all MPs being called Dr in the Parliament. Someone suggested that age reflects experience hence cut-off should be 65 years or above for MP and 88 years or above for PM. Though initially LK Advani supported this cut-off, he later backed out after knowing even he will have to wait for 3 years for a shot at PM under this cut-off.
A consensus emerges
The confabulations went for long before someone mentioned that cut-offs should be of that aspect which is essential to maintain the excellence as well as exclusivity of the Institution i.e. Parliament. What is that aspect? All Members were divided into small groups and asked to brainstorm and come back with a cut-off. At the end of this brainstorming, all group leaders announced their cut-off. Everyone shouted in union, cut-off should be 35 (except couple of voices in the left corner which shouted 25).
Everyone stared at the Left corner and said “Even passing marks in a paper are 35, we feel you should also raise your standards and agree to 35.” The left corner was left cornered. And they reluctantly agreed to raise their bar to 35 as well.
So the Speaker smiled graciously and announced “Yes on this historic day, we have decided to raise our bar of excellence and agreed to have a cut-off that for each Loksabha ticket, aspirant should need to score at least 35.” He paused for effect, before adding “I mean spend minimum of 35 crores for the election!” As a happy by-product, he mentioned this will also end racism, at least in the case of money. To achieve the cut off of 35 Cr per seat, MPs will never discriminate between White or Black money, all are welcome.
The resolution passed, the announcement done and the pride restored, MPs were back to bunking.
In a corner of Delhi, a middle-class father went up to his starry eyed daughter, who was studying and asked “So now you know both the cut-offs- for College and Parliament. Which cut-off, you think, can we possibly achieve if we strive hard?”
“Papa, I think the 102% cut-off of DU” the girl replied before going back to her studies.