Gold medals weigh heavy for poor students

Two students - S K Sowjanya and Nagaraj - figure in the list of toppers who have bagged most gold medals at the convocation of Bangalore University. The irony is that they will not be able to ‘afford’ these medals.

The university has asked students to pay for medals if they want them. “The university is running out of money,” vice chancellor B Thimme Gowda said. Addressing the media, he said that the only option before the varsity was to ask students pay for gold medals.

Expressing her disappointment, Sowjanya said, “Students from rich family can buy medals. I have bagged eight medals. I belong to economically weaker section. How can I afford to pay Rs 3,000 for every medal? What is the difference between me and someone who secured only one gold medal. I am also walking back with one and he also has one,” she said.

Stating that the university had not kept up the sanctity of the medal, she said, “If this was the case, anyone could buy it from a jewellery shop. For someone like me, medals mean a lot.” Another topper, Nagaraj, whose mother is a daily wage labourer, said that he was glad he had not invited his parents. Else, they would be dejected. “Out of six, I got only one medal. I will not be able to afford the remaining ones,” he added.

A former BU student, who got medals in 1980, said that the practice had been prevalent for many decades. He won two gold medals and a cash prize, but received only cash prize. “It has been the case for several years now. The varsity should have told the students in advance about this.’’

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