Academics and alcohol don’t gel well, or so a recent fracas at Mumbai University would have you believe. Earlier this week, a group of administrative staffers of the university were seen in a close huddle, absorbed in a discussion about what brand of bottled water to provide henceforth at all events.
This intense discussion over something that rarely merits even a passing thought was the result of the Academic Council meeting, where principals, heads of departments and other such significant academicians took umbrage over being served a brand of packaged water owned by a liquor baron.
When the principal of a noted college noticed that a popular liquor company had manufactured the bottled water, he raised strong objection to the matter, and other academicians present at the meeting supported his contention.
The brouhaha plunged the event’s organisers in hot water, and there was a confused flurry of activity to save the situation. “We didn’t know what to do, because barring very few packaged water manufacturers, most are associated to liquor or gutka manufacturers.
This leaves us with very few options. We took some locally available water bottles, and since then we have stopped serving bottled water,” said a staff.
Confirming the incident, Dr TP Madhu Nair, one of the members of the academic council who also is Dean for the Commerce faculty of Mumbai University, said, “It was in a very light-hearted manner that the point was raised by one of the principals in the academic council meeting.
The principal just said that in educational meetings where eminent educationists are present, packaged water of an alcohol company should not be served.”
Dr Shitlaprasad Dubey, another member of the council, confirmed the incident, saying, “Yes, one of the members had raised an objection and the packaged water bottles were replaced.”
While the incident took place at the meeting of the Academic Council, the members of other councils have also decided that they won’t accept water from liquor brands at any of the university meetings.
“If we are ever served water of a liquor or gutka manufacturing brand at our meetings, we will raise objection,” said Pradeep Sawant, member of the Mumbai University senate.