AHMEDABAD: Remember that Jaspal Bhatti comedy show, where a PhD student spent more than half of his research time buying groceries, booking rail tickets and mopping floors for his guide in order to get his thesis done on time?

Well, that may have been reel life. But in real life too, Jigar Patel, a research scholar at Gujarat University's chemistry department, went through all of this. And his guide VK Jain insisted that Patel maintain a daily activity log sheet mentioning this non-academic work and even signed it.

A year into his research, a frustrated Patel has filed an application under the Right to Information Act, seeking answers from the university on whether mopping lab floors, repairing electrical equipment, booking tickets for his guide formed part of his research topic — 'Calix Pyroles and Its Applications'.

Patel claims in his application that he was asked by Jain to do odd jobs like repairing his scooter’s flat tyre and depositing cheques. Patel has submitted a copy of the log book. An entry in Patel's log sheet on October 16, 2005, which carries Jain's signature, states, "Went to BSNL office, creation for printer work, post-office, watch shop for repairing, complex preparation of dyes and computer work."

Another entry dated September 19, 2005 reads, "Printer repair, mouse change and searched for 'Jhaadu' (broom)." Similar entries appear practically every day till September this year on Patel's log sheet.

"After going through my daily log sheet, no one would believe that I did complex research. I filed the RTI application to bring to the university’s notice the harassment we face from some guides. It is time students came out in the open," said Patel.

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