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SSC-pass Sena MLA becomes 'Doctor' for Rs 48,550

Shiv Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar, who was Std X pass as of the last Assembly elections, suddenly used ‘Dr’ before his name in an ad to greet party chief Uddhav Thackeray on his birthday; after a little research of our own, we uncovered a dummy’s guide on getting a PhD

Are you unsatisfied with the bachelors or masters degree that you have? Do you yearn to get the respect that comes with having a ‘Dr’ before your name, but don’t want to work towards earning it? Well, our politicians, known to lead by example, may have just the solution.

Shiv Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar suddenly revealed his degree to the world while wishing Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray a happy birthday in party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday
Ghosalkar suddenly revealed his degree to the world while wishing Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray a happy birthday in party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday

Shiv Sena MLA from Dahisar, Vinod Ghosalkar, who was Std X pass as of the last assembly elections in 2009, suddenly revealed his doctorate degree to the world while wishing Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray a happy birthday on Sunday. The birthday wish in Saamana was signed ‘Dr Vinod Ghosalkar’.

Intrigued, we set out to trace his journey from SSC to PhD, hoping it would be fascinating, educational, and inspiring. Turns out, it was all three. We called Ghosalkar first, but he claimed to be too busy to even tell us the name of the university from where he got the degree.

According to his son Abhishek (right), ‘Dr’ Vinod Ghosalkar (left) got the degree three years ago. File pic According to his son Abhishek (right), ‘Dr’ Vinod Ghosalkar (left) got the degree three years ago. File pic
According to his son Abhishek (right), ‘Dr’ Vinod Ghosalkar (left) got the degree three years ago. File pic

We then contacted his son Abhishek Ghosalkar, a Shiv Sena corporator, who told us that his father had got the honorary degree in Political Science from the Institute of Education, Research and Development (IERD) in Kolkata, which is affiliated to the New Age International University.

A look at the university’s website took us to the page where they mentioned that Honorary Doctorate degrees were given by the university without a thesis, for a fee of just Rs 48,550. “Honorary PhDs may be awarded in exceptional cases without the submission of Thesis. The Honorary PhD is awarded in recognition of a candidate’s contribution in the field of his work.

A detailed bio-data mentioning the useful and meaningful contribution in one’s field has to be submitted along with the application form with all testimonials attached. Full fees of Rs 48,550/- has to be remitted in the name of ‘Institute of Education, Research & Development’ in such cases, along with the form filled in duly.

In case of refusal, full fee will be refunded,” the website reads. The University categorically mentions that the applicant has to submit the details, which implies that the institution did not confer the degree on Ghosalkar on its own, but that he had applied for it.

Take your pick
The university also talks about its patronage from USA and Europe and, seemingly, offers you the choice of getting a doctorate from either.

The New Age International University’s website states that the degree would be awarded by New Age International University, Sebroga/USA, whereas the Institute of Education, Research And Development’s page states that it would be awarded by New Age International University, Europe.

As per the website, the New Age International University has a care-of office, located within the premises of the Institute of Education, Research And Development in Kolkata. We tried all the numbers mentioned on the website, including the mobile numbers, but couldn’t get a response from the University or the Institute.

While the Institute has an ISO registration number, under the Indian Registration Act, 1908, there was no sign of the University Grants Commission, which provides recognition to all the universities in India. Abhishek claimed that his father, who is also a vibhag pramukh, got the doctorate in Political Science nearly three years ago, and the family does not tom-tom the degree.

“Only people close to us know that sir (Vinod Ghosalkar) has the degree. We don’t use it and we don’t even tell anyone about it. We have the certificate with us, and we are not going to use it anywhere,” stated Abhishek.

Rs 48,550
The fee for obtaining an Honorary Doctorate degree from IERD, Kolkata

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