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Remo: outraged by how the IIT faculty treated his fellow musicians


'Brilliant doctorates don't by themselves make good people'

Three members of Remo's band died in a road accident on 19 September, a few hours after they had performed at IIT, Kanpur. The nightmare was compounded by what the singer calls the acting director's hypocritical offer of condolences

This is a letter Remo, the Goan rock star, wrote to a student at Indian Institute of Technology. It is severe on Prof I D Dhariyal, Acting Director and Dean of Students' Affairs, who Remo says did nothing to help him during the ordeal, and worse, offered to send his condolences once the mess was out of his backyard.

An architect who decided to turn musician, Remo takes pride in his ability to play many instruments, write his own words, and sing on stage (not merely lip sync, as many singers do). He was among the earliest in India to sing pop in English. In the late '90s, he stepped into the Mumbai film industry and sang a couple of songs, notably Humma humma in Bombay, and Pyar to Hona Hi Tha in the Ajay Devgan-Kajol film of the same name. He recently released an album with Hindi songs, O Meri Munni.

Remo's band was between Kanpur and Lucknow when the accident occurred. Remo was travelling in another car.

Victor Alvares, Selvin Pereira and Dharmendra Hirve died immediately.

Riyaz, a Kerala-based architect who leads the band Jigsaw Puzzle, got a copy of this mail from a friend, and forwarded it to The Music Magazine:

Dear Ashish,

You said the DOSA wanted to send the families his sympathy... I am horrified at the thought!

Please tell Dhariyal that I have personally said I do not wish to have him send his condolences to the bereaved families. They will neither be welcome or accepted. He and most other members of the staff did not bother to do ANYTHING at all for us after the accident. Sending condolences is the easiest and cheapest thing in the world. Hypocrites and politicians send them all the time. Tell him I said to save them.

He only came to my room once, on 19th evening because, as he himself said, someone mistakenly told him I wanted to see him; and not because he wanted to see me or comfort me. He offered NO HELP WHATSOEVER, with post-mortems or embalmment or police clearances, and he did not bother to phone me even ONCE to enquire about anything during the whole ordeal. The bodies of my band members were brought back to IIT in the open back carrier of a jeep, like a pile of old garbage... the IIT ambulance was too good to be used for them, I suppose... And now that the mess is out of his backyard and his precious campus is clean again, he wants to send us his condolences?! To clean up his conscience?!

You know, brilliant degrees and certificates and doctorates do not by themselves make good people. Let every student of IIT remember this. If your heart and soul aren't in place, you're nothing but pathetic excuses for human beings... like Dhariyal & Co.

You Ashish, RSP, the whole group of students who took shifts watching over Santana, Mrs. Madhumati Ray, Mrs. Shubha Karnik... and probably a few others I'm forgetting right now... YOU are the true angels who helped us unconditionally on a 24-hour basis in our hour of need. We shall never ever forget you.

But tell the hypocrites to stay the hell out of our way now, in the same way they stayed away while we needed them most.

I would be grateful if you could show the students as well as him this message from me. In fact, please post it on the main IIT-K notice board, or the students' main canteen, at my special personal request. Print it in the campus magazine. Spread it around.

Best regards

Write to Riyaz

Send your view

Reader response: Did the accident occur on the IIT campus for Remo to blame the faculty? And doesn't the incident also show how accompanists are always given second class treatment?

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