Why the age-old Madras Christian College objected to a skit by students on trees
news Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 05:30
Sameera Ahmed| The News Minute | March 24, 2015 | 09.20 am IST Follow @Sameeraa_Ahmed After a publicised student-alumni led campaign against tree-cutting within Chennaiâ€™s esteemed MCC campus, yearly skits hosted by its students have been criticised for their indirect references to the move by the college authorities. In the last week of February, protests began against the cutting of a rare Cassuarina equisitifolia tree which was cut down in the 365 acre campus amongst others over installation of solar panels. Reports and protests against cutting of trees culminated in an online petition by an alumnus of the college, Susan Deboarah. Addressed to the Principal of MCC, RW Alexander Jesudasan and two others, it read, â€śThe pride of MCC lies in its trees and the ecosystem which supports the campus and without those trees MCC will cease to be what it is. Please stop cutting the trees in the name of development of infrastructure.â€ť Saturday saw MCCâ€™s students and alumni gather at a campus that boasts of being one of the oldest colleges after the warden of one of the halls came down heavily on students against their skits that focused on the tree-cutting incident. According to reports, the college had previously cut down many trees on the campus. Soon enough, both online petitions and SMS protests were launched against the continued felling of trees. The skits are a part of the college tradition where each of the halls representing MCC summarise their sarcastic take on the events of the previous year. However, after three skits making indirect references to the recent tree-cutting were staged recently, students allege that the school principal and the management came down heavily on wardens for allowing it to be showcased. Ahead of Heber Hallâ€™s celebrations on Saturday, it was alleged that the principal directed the warden of one Hall, Yagnashekhar to examine the script before allowing it to be played. A student of the MCC who worked on the third skit for his hall after the first two were rejected by the warden for their references to the tree-cutting, says, "The warden just lost it. He ripped up the script and threw it away. He didn't understand the script and blasted us.â€ť According to him, he had told the students that if they indeed wanted to go on with the performance using the available scripts they could; but that he would not be responsible if they got suspended. With just two days left for their performance when told to come up with another new script, students decided to put their foot down and forego holding the show. The student alleges that the warden issued them a veiled threat about having control on their educational degrees telling them to come up with a new version before the D-day. However, soon after, word spread. "A whole bunch of alumni continuously pestered him telling him to allow the skit." After pressure from alumni on the warden, the third skit which was initially rejected was based on Oscar Wildeâ€™s short story, "The Selfish Giant" was performed in front of audiences on Saturday at the campus. The wardenâ€™s objection had been against the usage of the word word "giantâ€ť. â€śWithout reading the script, he rejected it,â€ť he said, explaining that the previous two versions of the skit had more direct references to the tree-cutting. According to another student, other wardens had come under fire after skits referring to the tree-cutting incident had been allowed to be held on the campus. All efforts to reach the warden have gone unanswered. However, no action has been taken against any of the organisers so far. Even though the skits are viewed by mostly MCC students and alumni, students believed that the management was upset over the possibility of the issue boiling up into a campaign once again. (Image courtesy: MCC student) Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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