Kashmir: PhD students set kebab challenge

Kashmiri-style kebab

Postgraduate students at Kashmir University have to pass a kebab-based test before receiving their final grades, it seems.

Academic panels usually award grades at a viva, or oral examination, but budding scholars at the college in Srinagar, Indian-held Kashmir, are also expected to lay on grilled meats before faculty members decide their fate, the Kashmir Reader newspaper reports. "Almost all departments ask an MPhil or PhD scholar to arrange 'refreshments' for the adjudicating panel," campus sources tell the paper, adding that the students can have to pay up to 10,000 rupees (£100) for the food.

The sources say the Media Education and Research Centre and English department have dropped this unwritten rule, but only recently - a former head of the research centre apparently had to order staff to serve "simple tea" to the panel, rather than slap-up grills provided at the students' expense.

The timing of the food also distracts young hopefuls from the all-important presentation itself. The university seems unsympathetic. "It is not a rule that a scholar must get refreshments for the panellists," says registrar Zafar Reshi. "They do it on their own. They are not compelled by us."

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