A MEETING to condole the death of Rohtas, the owner of the eponymous dhaba in St Stephen’s College, seems to have dished out a rather unpalatable war of words. A day after several college alumni, including Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam and historian Ramachandra Guha, were barred from entering the premises when they arrived for the condolence meet, and Guha called college principal Valsan Thampu a “fascist”, Thampu hit back on Sunday.
Defending the college’s action, he called the alumni “trespassers” and “gatecrashers” in a Facebook post. He also questioned why people were “worshipping” a “peddler of samosas” and giving him more importance than the college.
Launching an attack on Guha, Thampu wrote, “A thing or two about some alumni – led by that Aesopian historian Guha – beating their breasts about being stopped at the gate on Saturday. According to the said Guha, who has some pretensions to being a historian, I am a fascist because I was not at the gate to usher him in, when he came uninvited with the express intention to gatecrash. He and his gang were simply trespassers.”
He pointed out that no one had sought permission to hold any meeting on the campus. “The College had NO INFORMATION whatsoever that they were coming or a meeting was to be held. Someone has – I know not who – conferred on them the birth right to gatecrash into the campus at will,” Thampu wrote.
About Rohtas, the dhaba owner, he wrote, “Have you felt, ever, the urge to worship the dhabawallas, having paid for the samosas? For the life of me, I cannot understand how a peddler of samosa is more important than the Bursar of the College or the College itself on which he thrived; so much so that politics can be unleashed around his death to the embarrassment of the College.”