Gaurav Mathur had to make a difficult choice – but he chose to do the ‘right thing’.
Like thousands of twenty somethings, Gaurav Mathur dreamt of getting into an IIM. Unlike thousands of others, he actually did make it. But his dream was cut short just two weeks into the course.
A condition for joining any of the IIMs is that all the requirements for graduation of the student should be complete by June 30, 2006 (that is, in case the student does not have a Bachelor’s Degree) for joining sessions of 2006-2008 batch.
In Gaurav’s case, this was not so. Gaurav had just completed his fourth year of studies at MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur. After fighting a court case, he had succeeded in getting all the theory and practical exams done by June 30, 2006 but his Project, Seminar and Educational tour were pending.
“I asked my case to be considered by Rajasthan University and made all sorts of efforts, but maybe because of the court complications (or simply my bad luck),things didn’t turn out right. I then put my case to IIM Calcutta,” says Gaurav. IIM C agreed to consider his case but asked him to abide by the decision of the Academic Council. The Council ruled against Gaurav, and he was asked to leave IIMC.
But I am moved to write not to rant against rules and bureaucratic procedures – yes they infect even the IIMs which, ironically, impart education in management. This is about the choice that Gaurav had – but didn’t make. A choice which would have allowed him to keep his hard-won seat.
In Gaurav’s own words: “There was little chance that my project etc would be completed before that date. I fought hard for it. But I knew it was almost impossible. So there were 3 choices left –
1. Convince some teacher to sign the certificate.
2. Forge a sign and put a false seal.
3. Modify the certi, honestly say that projects etc were not complete and plead before IIMC in the name of Justice.
Since no teacher was ready to sign a fraud certi, option 1. was out. Option 3. was almost sure to not let me inside IIMC …”
Well wishers urged Gaurav to take option 2. A friend even had a copy of the seal to be forged and signing would be no big deal for anybody. Apparently, a babu would be checking the certificate – he would just take a look at it and put it in a box – ‘to be opened only when I would leave IIMC with my degree’. And everything would be ok by then.
Says Gaurav: “Looking at the practical side… I was doing nothing wrong. I deserved IIMC. I had earned it. And my seat will not be going to someone else. It is wasted… Even my dad was ok with me getting a false sign on that certificate.”
But something was not right – Gaurav was torn apart. What’s more he had a scooter accident – and many other near accidents – which he took as a sign from God to do ‘the right thing’. On 29th June 2006 he decided against submitting a forged certificate. Subsequently, he lost his seat.
Says Gaurav, “I do not regret my decision. I still have a lot of pain and anger in me. But somehow, among all the consternation and chaos, there is peace inside my heart. When you think about it, that inner voice, that self – respect, and yes, your bloody life..is more important than an IIM.” With an attitude like that – Gaurav is bound to go far. Whether he takes CAT again, or a different road altogether.
– Rashmi Bansal