Saturday, April 11, 2009

University of Calicut and its stupid certificate

Are you a graduate from the University of Calicut? If you are, there is ample chance that you are in possession of an ungrammatical certificate like the one I got in the early 90's. A few weeks back I needed it for some small purpose and laid hand on it after years. Out of curiosity I pored over it and found that it has a stupid howler on it. Half of its contents is a subordinate clause starting with 'whereas' and ending with a period without a main clause! Yes, on a certificate bestowed by a university is this howler.
The certificate reads thus:

Whereas it has been certified by duly appointed Examiners that [my name] is qualified to receive the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, he having passed and been placed
in Third Class in Part I,
in Third Class in Part II,
in Third Class in Part III, in [year], [year], [year] respectively.
The Senate of the University confers on him...

What follows after the period (The Senate of ...) should have been the main clause of this sentence. However, nobody in this university knew enough grammar (at least in the last 20 years) to correct this blunder. The grandiosity of the language may have served to hide this pitiable error. And the university has conferred/ continues to confer on thousands of unsuspecting students its diploma in the form of a certificate with this ridiculous blunder! During the last twenty years several vice-chancellors have come and gone and all of them must have manually signed these certificates in thousands. Who cares to read these diploma papers! Even if they had read, most of them wouldn't have recognised the howler. Each of the certificates thus issued is closely checked for errors but grammar or language is no concern during this check. One can never blame section officers and assistants when professors make stupid errors of this sort. Surely, no section officer or assistant could have composed this bombastic nonsense. It has a genuine 'professorial' imprint to it.
Is it that no body in these years brought this howler to the attention of the authorities? I don't know but I would like to tell you that it wouldn't have made any difference. I brought this to the attention of the university authorities. They never bothered to give a reply. Maybe you can bring about a change if you go the right way, that is, through proper channels, which would mean proper party channels. You need to be politically correct for that and I am not.

Here's a discussion about this on Wikipedia Reference Desk:Language.

PS: Not all certificates sold by this university bear this howler. For example, the BCom certificate doesn't have it but the BBA certificate has it. Not sure of BSc or PG certificates. If somebody reading this is intrigued into checking her certificate I would be thankful if they would give me some feedback.


  1. If you would put the whole text of the certificate as you got it I would make a comment. I do not want to make a comment on a text quoted by any one. Why don't you put a scanned copy of the certificate?

  2. The blogger who commented above asking for the complete certificate is C. P. Aboobacker, a member of the current syndicate of Calicut University. What's more, he is one of the three members of a syndicate sub-committee that made the "inquiry" and the made-to-order report to expel some talented young people from the faculties there. His poetic peregrinations (like the kalamoothram (കാളമൂത്രം)) in his blog can hardly make amends for the evilry of his vicious and vindictive committee report.

  3. I'd been issued a similar certificate upon graduation. But the "Whereas" subordinate clause thankfully doesn't end with a period. It just goes on to say "The senate of the university hereby confers...", though the main clause begins with a capital (Which I guess is the style).