Unearned Diploma


Haji Ali entered India as one of thousands of escapees from his country’s revolution. He paid lip service to the new order in his country, writing slogans for the revolution on compound walls around the city of Pune, and joining in an occasional march whenever some international event was to the dislike of the political leadership of his home country.

Unfortunately for him, Haji Ali did not have his heart in the revolution at all. He was one of the pampered sons of the old order who’d escaped with wealth intact, and whose sole ambition was to get a degree, learn reasonable English, and then head for the USA, sworn enemy of his home country.

As his activities didn’t fit his ambitions he was under constant risk from both his country, and the country of his dreams. What would happen to him if either country were to learn about his activities or ambitions caused him many sleepless nights.

English lessons were not progressing fast enough for his liking, and he felt his life was at constant risk, so he decided to speed up plans. By plane, train and bus he toured India looking for contacts in a university of international repute from which he could somehow manipulate a degree. Naturally enough we was rebuffed time and again, then one day he found a benefactor. In every country there are people in responsible positions who are prepared to sell principle for short term gain.

I’m happy to report that government officials were quick to discover this unusual transaction. There are no secrets in India and eventually truth will come out. The university official lost his job and Haji Ali lost both his money and his degree. Eventually his residence permit was not renewed. Faced with deportation he implored police officials with tears and promises of wealth, but to no avail.

The sons of the revolution also became aware of his duplicity and informed their government Haji Ali needed special attention on his return home.

How he wished he’d kept to his original plan and studied diligently in order that his ambition could be realized.

Lest we deal too harshly with Haji Ali in our minds perhaps it would be well for us to give some consideration to what we’d have done under those same circumstances. Certainly it would be well to look for a lesson in our life experience.

Do we sometimes get tempted to cut corners to achieve our objectives, and have we in our experience suffered sometimes severe penalties for cutting those corners?

Perhaps we haven’t tried to buy a degree, however cutting corners with little decisions dishonestly always comes back to haunt us at some point in our life, and it certainly leads to a culture of dishonesty with much larger implications and penalties.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2015 All rights reserved

11 thoughts on “Unearned Diploma

  1. I feel a little sorry for Haji Ali the person, who I imagine as a young man desperate to start the life of his dreams no matter what the cost, but reading your response to jstansfeld’s comment puts things more in perspective. Chaos (whether revolution on a large scale or anarchy/indiscipline on a smaller scale) shows no mercy anyway – most individuals who come in its path usually find themselves worse off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lesson is clearly presented in this story, Ian, and you’re right, we can’t judge his actions not knowing what we would do in similar circumstances. However, usually dishonesty has a way of biting the culprit in the butt. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always espoused to the theory that little dishonest acts somehow fester and end up proliferating until they become unimaginably large. However, I feel sorry for Haji Ali who sounds like a young man in need of parental guidance. When he ‘escaped’ his own country’s revolution he also seems to have jettisoned the values that he must have grown up with. In his case it sounds as though his wealth was his worst handicap as it made him think that he could purchase anything that he wanted. It is a provocative story, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of youth fled the country during the time of the revolution and used India as a place to learn English cheaply, but they created havoc having absolutely no respect for police or any other form of authority. We had to use some stern discipline in the educational institution I was working in at the time as they had money and thought they could buy whatever they wanted, including the young women students.


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