I was born into a Hindu Brahmin family on the 15 of January 1957 and came to Britain as a 15 year-old boy accompanying my parents of whom my father, Dr Gopinath Panigrahi, was on Government of India deputation as the Indian Liaison Officer in Kew Gardens between 1973 and 1976. My family returned to India leaving me to continue with my education in Britain.
My father came from a very poor farming family but had done so very well in early schooling that he secured scholarships to study further with the result that he eventually came to Britain during 1952-1954 and completed his PhD in Botany from the University of Leeds. He published around 350 scientific papers and wrote a few books during his career, becoming an expert in Taxonomy and Plant Nomenclature. He was honoured by the Indian Government with the Janaki Ammol prize late into his retirement. I had a brother and two sisters, the elder sister being a University Lecturer with her husband being an economist, and the younger sister a school teacher. My brother suffered from mental illness and did not develop a career.
My schooling days in the UK were pleasant and full of sporting activities, having represented my school and college at Badminton almost throughout and being awarded Full Colours for services to Badminton at Chelsea College, University of London. I also played village cricket until my early forties. After graduating from the University of London in 1978 having studied Pharmacology, I took a Phd studentship at Hatfield Polytechnic but left it within a few months once the restrictions on my passport had been lifted by the Home Office as I was granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. I did not wish to return to India to live with my family but wished independence. I joined the Tropical Products Institute in August 1979. I purchased a house while still single and obtained a naturalisation certificate in 1984 and a British Passport the same year. In 1985 I married the daughter of a Professor of Education in India through my father's efforts and we were blessed with a daughter in 1990.
I developed a highly successful career as a research scientist and during that time I studied for a Phd from the University of Reading in 1988 and also completed 6 out of 7 Units of a MSc in Agricultural Development with distinction level marks. I published 39 scientific articles and visited some tropical countries in which project work was conducted. This research was revisionary in nature and exposed the fact that the earlier literature from western science was not only inadequate to serve the needs of developing countries, frequently incorrect recommendations were made on commodities such as cottonseed meal, palm kernel meal, sunflower meal, coconut meal and cassava, so that countries were losing out economically by following the guidance given.
The Institute changed names several times and the turning point came as it was selected under the governments next steps scheme for agency status as the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) before being privatised to the University of Greenwich. This was when a hitherto unblemished career suffered a blowout as staff were caught up in a dogfight to try and save their jobs. Jobs were only safe if one had sufficient funded projects to manage and conduct. I was a non-ruminant livestock nutritionist but since 1991 the emphasis of the Livestock Department's work had shifted from a general livestock perspective to a ruminant focus and we were expected to train ourselves in this area. I took up this challenge readily but found the attitude of senior staff, in particular, Professor Margaret Gill (a Scottish lady), very disconcerting. I considered this to be the result of racial discrimination and jealousy. Over time I realised that I was being denied project funds with a view to my redundancy. I fought this by devising new projects but could only secure minor projects which were to guarantee a short term future. I continued with laboratory work much to the annoyance of Professor Maggie Gill for she could not stop me conducting research work while I still had a job whether or not I had a project. I decided to stretch out existing projects for as long as possible. In 1997, 40 staff were made redundant and I only escaped that round of cuts by having some important project completion work to do.
Things came to a head in November 1996 when the root crops in poultry diets project in Cameroon was coming to an end. The Livestock Production Programme Manager, Dr Richard Mathewman, had suddenly found some extra money from the Department of International Development to be spent that financial year and issued a call for new projects or project extensions. When I tried to get the root crops project extended I encountered considerable hostility. I had not been satisfied with the technical progress in the field and put forward a proposal to investigate a few poultry diet improvements. Instead of addressing the proposal that I had put forward the Programme Manager's response was to ask me to fill in a Project Completion Summary Sheet to signify that the project had ended. I questioned him about it which led him to write to me saying that I was applying for funds under false pretences. The comment hurt me a great deal as it called into question my reputation and I asked him why he was asking me to complete a project completion form when his earlier email had made it perfectly clear that he was still considering a project extension to the root crops project. He denied that it was still under consideration. The important thing however was that the messages were being merely relayed to me by Dr Mathewman pretending to be acting for himself when the true situation was that Professor Gill was actually making the decisions. I did not get a project extension but exposed Professor Gill and Dr Mathewman to being deceivers, and brought the matter to the attention of the acting Director, Professor John Perfect. This incident was a major turning point as I had exposed racial discrimination in the allocation of research funds, which led senior management to gang up against me from that point onwards.
Subsequently I found that all my major project proposals including for the Department for International Development's Flexibility Fund and Darwin Initiative were being blocked unreasonably and obstacles were being placed in my path to ensure that I did not succeed. At the same time I had a Budget Manager to satisfy and had to show that I was trying my best to secure project funds for the Department, for the Departments were run as separate entities each having to survive to exist. In the summer of 1997 the Department received calls for concept notes and I was encouraged to take part in the development of concept notes for submission. One person chosen as a Bid Coordinator was a Mr David Jackson with whom I shared an office. When my progress was hampered again I decided to complain and wrote a strongly worded memorandum to him, copied to my Head of Department, Dr Barry Blake and the then Director of the Institute Professor Willis. The purpose of the memorandum was to demonstrate that I was a valuable member of staff because of my superior technical understanding of the subject matter and so the right person for the task of submitting a concept note and taking part in the project but for the fact that I was being racially discriminated against and marginalised out of funds.
UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH
NATURAL RESOURCES INSTITUTE
MANAGEMENT IN CONFIDENCE
From: Dr S. Panigrahi Date: 27 July 1997
To: Mr D. Jackson : 01634 883545
(NRI Research Bid Coordinator for DFID's Fax: 01634 883551/883888 NRSP SAPS Call for Research Proposals on eMail: shan. email@example.com Constraints to Natural Resources Productivity in Semi-Arid Farming Systems of India)
cc Dr B Blake Professor D Wills
PREPARATION OF CONCEPT NOTES FOR THE NRSP SAPS CALL
1. I am most concerned at the ambivalent attitude you have displayed towards me thus far in relation to the development of Concept Note (CN) for the above Call. This is most vividly reflected in your not even bothering to respond to my emails on the subject. And when I have tried to remind you of some of my concerns verbally you have given me answers that I have felt were tantamount to being 'fobbed-off', as the expression goes. Do you not wish my KAWAD CN preparation efforts to succeed? You are aware that I have only a few days left in which to finalise the CN before going on leave, and I am under-commissioned in the next UoG financial year. I have heard that there are redundancies in the offing and those without much commissioned work will naturally be selected for this. I may only be junior member of staff but this job is important for me for the sake of my family. Please note that my wife only has a part-time job as an administrative officer, and we have a 7-year old daughter to bring up for which we need our combined incomes! As a parent yourself of a young adolescent daughter you should be well aware of how costly this is if you want your child to have a good education.
2. I am, therefore, asking you again for genuine help this time in my efforts to develop my CN. Please note that failure to respond positively to each of the following points may leave me with no alternative but to request Ian Grant to appoint a different Bid Coordinator for this Call - a person more mentally-predisposed to assisting other NRI staff than yourself! I must have the information requested in the following paragraphs in writing before noon on Monday 28th July 1997.
3. First, please give me copies of all your letters to potential overseas collaborators in India since 11 July 1997, including the Fax print-out slips that will confirm to me the times of any successful transmissions attempted through this medium. You said you were expecting a reply from them by close-of-play on the 24th of July so that you would then arrange a second CN Drafting Meeting (CDM) this week. Have there been any replies? Did you try to speak to anyone directly on the telephone and checked that relevant staff had not gone on holidays? As you know I am expecting to travel widely in India shortly and wish to call on these persons, especially at the University of Agricultural Sciences and CRIDA, to discuss my CN.
4. I referred to Dr Arora in my email of 23 July 1997 to Dr Thomas (copied to you), and again, his name came up at the CDM as a key person for implementation of the project in India. You are aware that in his letter of 1st October 1996 to Mr Wilson (at the British Aid Management Office, New Delhi) Mr Lewcock specified that all KAWAD-related research proposals must be discussed with Dr Arora. This has become even more important now that he is the 'Commissioner', as you rightly brought to our attention at the CDM. If you still have not written to him, what are your reasons for this? Please also ensure that I have his address and telephone and Fax numbers so that I can then communicate my views to him directly before I go to India, and then arrange to meet him during my stay there.
5. At the CDM we expressed grave concerns on paragraph 12 of the Call, as no one could not fathom out its significance in the context of KAWAD. Specifically, we deliberated on how it could be possible to develop research ideas on cropping patterns and livestock systems, or on common property resources, or on coping strategies, and perhaps least of all, on catchment management strategies that would achieve complementarity with KAWAD if we were to conduct research to validate and test technologies/approaches elsewhere (Zimbabwe was considered at the CDM for 'elsewhere' because of the contents of paragraph 10 of the Call) given that soils, climate, rainfall modality, length of the dry season(s) socio-economics, etc., are crucial variables for the sustainability of any project under SAPSs. You undertook to discuss paragraph 12 with Dr J Barrett (the Programme Manager in DfID) since Mr Lewcock, according to you, was on an overseas mission in India and could not be contacted by email. Have you contacted Dr Barrett as yet? If not, why not? Further, is it not worth telephoning the University of Agricultural Science at Hubli-Dharwad to locate him? You will recall that the trainee from Karnataka working with Ansen Ward said that all major State Universities were now on the Internet so they may well have installed email systems recently! Please keep me informed on these communications by copying your letters to me in future.
6. As you know there was a time delay of several days between the appearance in Room A121 of the two Call documents - the first one that you gave me on 17th July without any hand-written markings on it, and the second one on 22nd July with 'DJ. Working Document' marked at the top. Both documents were unaddressed, dated the 11 July 1997, neither was signed by Mr Lewcock, and you pointed out to me only on the morning of 23rd July 1997 that there had been no modifications made to the first document in the second one. Any sensible Bid Coordinator would be expected to issue these documents in the reverse order to which you did, do you not now agree? We also had a third document produced at the CDM by Derek Russell which none of the other Committee members were in possession of! This being the most official-looking of the three documents (it had a covering page and was signed by Mr Lewcock, for example) must have been the document that Ian Grant had seen/received on 14 July 1997, and to which he referred in his email of 21st July 1997 to HODs and Bid Coordinators (see NEWRES.XLS). Since Mr Lewcock was consulting you in detail at least since the 4th July 1997 on the drafting of this Call, I would expect him to have had sought your opinion on the final version before he released it on the 14 July 1997 to other Institute staff through the official, lets call it the 'Derek Russell' Call. It seems that he did not inform you that he had now agreed to issue the Call prior to his departure, and further, that no-one bothered to give you a copy of the 'Derek Russell' Call. Or else, as an NRMD colleague you would surely have immediately asked me to discard the first two Call documents in favour of this document since you know that by the 22nd of July I was spending all of my time studying Dr Barrett's detailed KAWAD project memorandum, your complicated but thorough and interesting 15-24 July 1996 project identification mission visit report, and the Kalyanakere-Mavathurukere Watershed Development Programme Final Technical Report. In addition, I was studying maps of Karnataka for road/railway networks and the proximity of Bijapur, Bellary and Chitradurga to the major urban markets of India, discussing the project site with the trainee from Karnataka, and then discussing several project ideas with you. You did not receive the 'Derek Russell' Call right up until half-an-hour before the meeting (please confirm) when it had been apparently seen/received by Ian Grant on the 14th of July and, perhaps, also by Dr Blake sometime about this date. If you did not receive it should you not have insisted on it as the NRI Bid Coordinator, given that you had been assigned the responsibility to circulate it to all staff with an interest in submitting CNs? It seems that Ian Grant appointed you Bid Coordinator on the 21st without ensuring that would have the 'Derek Russell' Call. You also arranged the 23rd July meeting giving Dr Thomas no time to study the requirements of the Call. You appeared to know that the Call had become official only some time after 12.26 pm on that date because on your return to the office you then started deleting the markings 'DJ. Working Document' when photocopying the document for the benefits of the Committee members. If you did receive the 'Derek Russell' Call even at that stage you would have let us have copies of this one instead, because as far as you were concerned the contents could well have been changed at NR-International without reference to you (that company is perfectly entitled to do this if it chooses!). If the 'Derek Russell' Call only became generally available around 1.00 pm of the 23rd July, and you were aware of this, as Bid Coordinator I would then have expected you to postpone the CDM at 2.30 pm to give the Committee members time to consider the document first. Do you not agree that this is what you should have done with hindsight?
7. If the 'Derek Russell' Call is indeed the definitive official Call, do you know why the title still reads as follows:
'ODA NRSP Semi-Arid Production Systems Research Proposed Call for Submission of Concept Notes'?
8. A good Bid Coordinator should try to follow the example of Nigel Hunter who on receiving the same notice from Ian Grant as you, studied the Call right up until the 25th of July and then sent a general notice throughout the Institute soliciting the registration of interests in his Call, giving until the 31st of July 1997 as the deadline (see his email). Excellent approach! On the other hand, no one at NRI with whom I have spoken was aware of your intentions, and even Dr D. Thomas next door thought that we were going to discuss the NRSP SAPS Zimbabwe Call until I informed him otherwise by copying to him the papers you gave me at around 12.00 on the 23rd of July! (you should be aware that Dr Thomas has been strongly recommended for the new Departmental post of 'Research Manager' and it is very disrespectful to treat him in this manner on such a vital research issue).
9. You informed me on the 22nd that only Czech Conroy, Dr Thomas, you and I will be present at the CDM. You appeared not to know at least up until 1.00 pm on the 23rd July that Rod Bowen, Richard Mathewman and Derek Russell would also be present. As you know Rod's contribution to the technical discussions were minimal - this observation implies no disrespect to him, he is a Forestry specialist and we were discussing semi-arid agricultural systems with a focus on water conservation! Derek Russell was due to attend an important Departmental meeting at 2.00 pm that day and appeared to be suddenly diverted away that morning for your CDM. And why was Richard Mathewman present when there were already two strong NRMD livestock specialists in the Committee. You should take note that as far as I am aware Richard is still partly retained by NRInternational as a member of their staff, for Programme Advisory/Management purposes (please check with Dr Blake). If so, was his presence at the meeting as a member of CN Drafting Committee appropriate? Again he made next to no contribution to the discussions, and from what I could see, he did not even have a copy of the 'Derek Russell' Call or your first two Call documents (?). If you did not ask these three people to attend the CDM who did, and for what purpose?
10. As NRInstitute is now in the private sector, us scientists from the old civil service system have, unfortunately, got to get used to an additional burden - legal affairs! If we do not, one of us will soon make a mistake in our dealings with outsiders that could plunge NRI-UoG into contractual obligations that they could not possibly meet so that matters might have to eventually be resolved in a court of law. We are in very dangerous territory with research because there is so much uncertainty in this sphere, for example, a minimum 70 per cent of the work that we are responsible for contractually is outside our control as Project Managers (the overseas elements). You need to constantly bear in mind that NR-International is a profit-making (of sorts) private company responsible to its shareholders (of sorts), and that the RNRRS Research Calls go out for competitive tender! Whilst I am no expert on legal matters, it seems logical to assume that it it could be illegal for that that company (and for us if we appear to collude) to seemingly give this Institute an unfair advantage over its competitors by for example, using us to draft the Call (we could tailor it to our strengths - I know you have been working on the precise wordings of Mr Lewcock's Call since at least 4th of July), assisting us in the drafting of the CN (if Richard Mathewman is indeed still partly retained by NR-International!), and by letting us have prior notice of the details of a Call (as you and I were). If you are inexperienced about these matters, you should consult the Directors Office about legal affairs.
11. Lack of any amendments to the first Call document or to the 'DJ. Working Document' Call document in the final official 'Derek Russell' Call version is a pity because the CN Drafting Committee agreed that this was a rather carelessly-prepared document containing confusing Purposes and Outputs, and above all, was anticipating research complementarity to a Developmental project that had not even started and which would take several years after a suitable project start-up period, to become operational to the extent that the associated natural systems could be understood (KAWAD is expected to be 15 year project with funds currently confimed only for the first 5.5 year Phase). The correct approach would, therefore, be for 2-3 years of watershed design/engineering to be completed before considering a RNRRS NRSP complementary research. In my view, it would certainly be a waste of time, money and manpower effort to conduct technical research, at least until some new watershed sites had become established. We are in the realms of speculation to specify project outputs and milestones under circumstances of such high uncertainty (if you are unsure about the difference between 'risk and uncertainty' please check with me). Some research could perhaps be organised in Year 2 of KAWAD's operation if priority is given in KAWAD to starting its implementation in Bellary because of its higher rainfall so that it would be easier to replicate known technical interventions here. However, I have not seen the Technical Annexe for KAWAD (it is not in Dr Barretts document that you gave me to study) and so cannot comment further on this aspect.
12. Thus, all matters and factors considered, I would suggest that at present the useful NRSP strategy-congruent research work be limited to detailed project identification, for which we should seek Programme Developmental funds instead of Research funds. This will, however, not be an ordinary project identification mission but itself would require 'projectisation' over a 2 year period. There is a mountain of literature from previous World Bank-funded research to be digested by UK staff, and this should be followed by a series of KAWAD-progress monitoring visits that will end up with a SAPS CN research proposal/memorandum with the assistance of local collaborators and NGOs. It follows from this that, in my assessment, the Call as set out is 2 years premature. Accordingly, I would also very strongly recommend that Mr Lewcock be advised immediately to withdraw the Call before it wastes more valuable time, firstly, of experts in the UK and overseas who would unncessarily start preparing CNs for it (technical expertise is getting to be in very short supply these days as research funds dry up throughout the world) and secondly, of those who will have to appraise the CNs (please realise each of the external reviewer and the members of the PAC would have to study the documents that you and I have in our possession (see paragraph 6) before they can make recommendations on which are the sensible research proposals for DfID to pursue in relation to KAWAD-complementarity. Please also spare a thought for administrators at DfID who may now be inundated with tens or even hundreds of CNs arriving at the Systems Management Office.
13. I should make some further views known on research project identification in case you accept my recommendations in paragraph 11. The composition of the UK visiting teams to monitor KAWAD progress at different times over the 2 years is going to be vitally important to consider for getting the eventual CN right. In this regard you will recall that at the CDM concern was expressed that £25,000 per visit will not be sufficient for this. A two-person team of an agronomist and socio-economist will not be adequate to carry out the task, as Mr Lewcock seems to think. You have pointed out (paragraphs 21-28 of your visit report) that a multi-disciplinary approach is essential and, in particular, that ICRISAT scientists are in dire need of advice from a respected Hydrologist (to be added as the third team member in addition to an agronomist and a socio-economist). NRI does not currently have a hydrologist. Whilst we must rectify this deficiency, for our immediate needs I would suggest you contact the Institute of Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. You are also aware that Mr Wilson in his reply (copied to Dr J Barrett) to the above-referred letter from Mr Lewcock insisted: 'Among this work, soil fertility and fodder production are central'. The fourth member of the team must, therefore, be a livestock feed and manure specialist. I believe I was recruited into the CN Drafting Committee to fulfil this role (please see my email of 24 July 1997 to Claire Troy copied to Dr Blake and yourself). Although we need to be sensitive in how we communicate our true feelings to Mr Lewcock, DfID must aware that Mr Lewcock is not a technical specialist but a Manager so that he cannot be expected to appreciate issues concerning environmental sustainability. That is what we at NRInstitute are here for. And we need to provide advice that is consistent with the simultaneous objective of maintaining the reputation of NRInstitute-UoG as a World Centre of Excellence in Tropical Agriculture. Please, therefore, consider these matters carefully and inform Mr Lewcock, and if necessary, Dr J Barrett. When all these deliberations are complete please convey any important messages to me at my India address that I gave you (my telephone number there is 009133 534 5868, in case you need to contact me).
14. On a minor matter, I should also be grateful if you would please advise Ian Grant of the following (on my behalf but I think many others at NRI also hold the same views), so that he may then consider making appropriate representations. The months of July and August, being the height of the holiday season, is a bad time for DfID Programme Managers to issue Calls for concept notes. As you will realise from the above technical deliberations, the drafting of research proposals for implementation overseas is a very complicated affair, requiring studies of the state of economic development of a country and the geographic/climatic/socio-economic attributes of the regions selected for project implementation. But perhaps most significant, staff need to adopt considerable diplomacy when dealing with overseas people to try and secure the establishment of sound collaborative arrangements, especially in India and Kenya in my experience. These countries have inherited bureaucracies that will grind any scientist down so that we need to be very patient! Further, we must also remember that we are now part of the UoG, and as such, each one of us has a responsibility for conducting ourselves with overseas collaborators in a courteous and generous manner when trying to surmount language and cultural barriers. Only then will the institutions be inclined to send their young students and scientists to us for under-graduate and post-graduate courses and PhD studentships. Thus, seven weeks to getting a CN prepared from the date that a Call is issued (which will be only 5-6 weeks for the relevant staff by the time they receive the document!) is woefully inadequate to make collaborative arrangements with overseas collaborators by telephone and fax communications that we have to rely on. I would suggest 3 months as being more reasonable for the submission of a CN and 4 months for project memorandum.
15. Finally, may I remind you that I must have a response in writing to each of the above points in clear unambiguous terms waiting for me on Monday when I arrive at work. As I mentioned to you when you were about to leave for home on Friday, I am having to look after our daughter in the mornings of this week. This leave has been somewhat enforced on me - unfortunately, much as we pleaded, the NRI/UoG PlayScheme organisers could not persuade UoG to release the required rooms for the children to be looked after during the first week of the school holidays. However, I will still try and complete as much of the CN work as possible with your cooperation.
Dr S. Panigrahi
Natural Resources Management Department
The memorandum was a severe criticism of the University's work that I was engaged in and in particular on how I was treated. Mr Jackson submitted three documents in defence but I did not respond to these and I went on a family holiday to India. On my return a month later the Deputy Head of Department wrote a memorandum to me which led to informal disciplinary proceedings being initiated against me. A meeting was held and I was reprimanded, the issues specifically relating to my alleged discourteous behaviour towards Mr David Jackson and Mr Andy Major, both of Natural Resources Management Department. Strangely the charges against me were to do with calling a junior administrative staff, Mr Major, incompetent which I denied. In my defence I stated that Mr Jackson had been blocking my progress out of jealousy. Dr Blake in his memorandum of 13 November 1997 acknowledged that 'Dr Panigrahi had one very serious concern related to the Jackson concept note issue but with far wider implications. Dr Panigrahi stated that he had raised a range of other proposals over time for eg for PhD studentships and ASSC funding which he felt should have been put forward and funded. He had often not received a response to explain why his ideas had not been taken up and was of the clear opinion that there was a process in place which was actively and specifically blocking funding proposals that he produced. The Institute and Departmental procedures for concept note production had changed and still seemed to be changing when it suited those responsible. Dr Panigrahi had no understanding of why such a widespread blocking of his proposals should be imposed by a range of colleagues, but he was convinced that this situation exists.' I was asked if I thought that there was a conspiracy against me. I said 'No' knowing that to say otherwise would be tactically wrong as it would give them the reason to send me for medical attention for psychological problems. Dr Blake summarised the proceedings that it '…will require the following from Dr Panigrahi:
· acceptance that his suspicions of colleagues in the context of their attitudes towards his development of proposals are unfounded
· acceptance that his behaviour with respect to Mr Jackson and Mr Major was discourteous and inappropriate
· acceptance that his communication with American Express was entirely inappropriate and circumvented normal line management procedures
· an undertaking that he will in future adhere to normal Institute and departmental management routes, procedures and standards of courtesy in all matters and will route correspondence through line management as appropriate
· where problems arise he will discuss these with his Line Manager, Deputy Head of Department or Head of Department according to availability, before acting
· acceptance that having agreed these terms, subsequent failure to uphold the undertakings may lead to immediate formal disciplinary action
Further action will await Dr Panigrahi’s response to this document'.
I gave the undertaking required with extenuating circumstances for my conduct to be considered. Soon after Dr Blake said to me one afternoon, 'The most important thing is to sort you out' with a double meaning, as I was undergoing medical treatment for suspected tuberculosis, which fortunately subsequent tests showed to be incorrect.
The informal disciplinary hearing was held on the afternoon of 12 October 1997 and I had come into the office very early in the morning to send an email in preparation for the hearing. As I drove out and while still within the University premises, a car suddenly turned on me and damaged my car's right flank and caused a tyre puncture. The driver was a lady, a junior member of staff from the Director's Office. I was certain in my mind that I was not to blame for the 'accident' and that the lady had deliberately driven into my car. I tried to probe her further by email but she refused to engage in the discussion, which added to my suspicion that the incident had been an attack on me in order to send me a message that I should leave the Institute. My Insurance company, Direct Line Limited appointed Moore Blatch solicitors to take the case to court - on what arguments I do not know.
I struggled on through the winter of 1997 to keep up with my work. At one point in relation to a few days break that became available I found myself writing to the new Director of the Institute Mr John Perfect an email with the saying, 'Thank God for small mercies'. Such was the compulsion to write these words I wondered if the message was coming from a different world. I went to Zimbabwe in February 1998 to work on my oilseeds in livestock diet project. The visit was marred by the Intermediate Technology Development Group undermining my work on the field and my efforts were being ruined by colleagues in Zimbabwe and others at the Natural Resources Institute and the Appropriate Technology International of the United States. However, I ignored these problems in order to focus my mind on the purpose of the visit which was to develop a project proposal for securing future project funds.
Throughout this period I was being harassed non-stop by colleagues with such actions as would show me to be incompetent. Dr Chris Wood on his return from a trip to India presented me with a copy of the Indian news journal 'India Today' which I took as a message that I should pack up my bags and go back to India immediately. The United Nations placed an advertisement in the Economist for the post of Director of Sustainable Development clearly targeted at me. I applied but no response was received concerning the vacancy. The United Nations had been manipulated.
I had virtually no projects by then and I had known for some time that the writing was on the wall for me. Yet, to annoy management I prepared two papers for submission, first one to the Spring Meeting of the World Poultry Science Association-UK Branch (WPSA-UK) in Scarborough in March 1998, and the second to the 10th European Poultry Conference to be held in Israel in 21-28 June 1998. Furthermore I secured a Travel Grant from the British Poultry Science Limited to attend the Spring Meeting of WPSA-UK which was being held jointly with the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) Meeting for a combined fee of £190. At the Meeting I paid this amount by cheque. While in Scarborough I received an invitation from Dr Jim McNab to participate at the World Poultry Science Association Symposium to be held in a year's time. I packaged that invitation as a small project proposal and put it forward for funding from the new Livestock Production Programme Manager, Dr Wyn Richards. I was almost certainly going to be successful with this application but the harassment was continuing unabated as the BSAS siphoned out a further £190 from my Bank Account without authorisation. The University had for long been monitoring my telephone calls and I had given out my Barclays Connect Card number for the first time to a lady in Jerusalem where I was proposing to stay during my participation at the European Poultry Conference. I could only conclude that the VISA number was then passed on to Joyce Darling of the BSAS for her to harass me under the false pretences of mistakenly charging me a second time. That is when I became convinced that Scottish colleagues had decided to persecute me out of their national loyalty to Professor Gill at Natural Resource International. What does one do? Lie down and take all the harassment? I chose to respond in kind for I had had enough of racial prejudice, and further had realised that I had learnt about as much as I could out of my association with the Natural Resources Institute. The laboratories were being closed down and the scope for research had diminished considerably in recent years. The most important thing was to retain a good name, the reasoning being that I could then become a free-lance scientist if I did lose my job. I wrote in an email that the University of Greenwich was a polytechnic that thought it was a university, having been so classified (along with numerous other polytechnics of the UK) by the previous Conservative Government.
In one email to the Livestock Production Programme manager I found myself writing at a certain point: this saga was engineered for al's intents and purposes, with the term 'al' apparently representing the Almighty. This was an early clue that I was to experience a religious phenomenon. On numerous occasions I felt that during my emails I was communicating with a higher power rather than the person to whom the email or letter was addressed. When I was harassed with the 'false pretences' jibe I wrote to the Director after sorting out the matter that I did not need to do anything further to protect my reputation within Natural Resources Institute or outside: the word outside meant in the spiritual world and before God.
The project proposal development with Intermediate Technology Development Group (UK) was going well but before anything could be happen on this a letter arrived from the Personnel Manager on 1 April 1998 outlining an allegation of misconduct by me. I was so angry by then that I decided to fire off a sarcastic letter of protest to the BSAS, written as if in Scottish accent, and gave it on 20 April 1998 to Professor Gill as its President. She was also the Head of Natural Resource International with its offices in Chatham Maritime. I wanted the letter to hurt.
To From BSAS Dr S. Panigrahi British Society of Animal Science 3, Hoath Lane P.O. Box 3 Wigmore PENICUIK Near Gillingham MIDLOTHIAN EH26 ORZ KENT ME8 OSL UK UK Tel.: 9131 4454508 Offical Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax.: 0131 535 3120 Email:BSAS@ed.sac.uk Fax 0131 445 4508
20 April 1998
Dearie me Joyce Darling@BSAS Central Operations (- Relocation?)
CONFERENCE FEE:REF: 8044273: BR SOC ANML PROD PENICUIK
1. Hello! Are you still there Joyce dearie? Is there anyone’n? What’s go’n on, ma’ dearie?
2. Got ye green ‘Cardholder Copy’ o’ Sales Voucher Slip for Bank of Scotland, Merchant Services, wi’ ma’ Barclays Bank Visa Card No. and wi’ the follow’n entries:
CARDHOLDER’S SIGNATURE: Mail Order
AUTHORISATION CODE: 92445
DESCRIPTION: Conference fee (this looked like yer handwrit’n, Joyce dearie?)
AMOUNT: 190 pounds
DATE: 09-04-98. Incid., postmark on envelope, ‘twas 8.04.98?? Joyce dearie, yer did the same thing a’ Scarboro’. I gave yer the cheque on 23rd March and the date on your receipt was 25 March - suggest ye check Barclays Cheque No 90098086, 100665?
DEPT.: Blank space (??)
SALES NO: Blank space (??)
INITIALS: Blank space (??).
3. Saw entry in ma’ Bank printout on Friday: BCC 190.00 DR 16APR. Incid. ‘ope yer no relation to Alistair, or we’v all ‘ad it! Good on yer for BSAS though, Joyce dearie? Are yer’n charge of the new fundrais’n strategy! Did’yer tell Dr Black all abou’ i’? Did he like i’ and say ‘well done’ and ‘good on yer Joyce dearie’, or did he shou’: stramash, Joyce (as yer great soccer manager Alex Ferguson might’v put i’!). Incid. did yer pass on t’ WPSA-UK their bit o’ booty?
4. No worries, though Joyce dearie, as that other mastermind Alan Border might’v put it (incid. d’yer know anything about cricket up there by any chance - in case not I am send’n here some of the rules in plain English; see PPS). Easy come, easy go, as I always maintain. Can yer take any more o’this? Say when, and I’ll stop dish’n. i’ out!
5. Thank ye though for ye BSAS compliment slip. What did I do to deserve this? Was’t ma’ ‘knock-out’ poster, by any chance? Incid., who’s idea was’t - no signature/initials or date on’t!).
6. Good Meet’n though Joyce dearie, but a wee bi’ gloomy and wet, is Scarboro’ - even the nice landlady in guest house did no’ make up for this. And that zig-zag from the main road down t’ the Spa Complex - glad there was no frost, or even moss, I tell yer - or else delegates would be hav’n to go down wi’ ‘their skates on’! And in case yer wonder’n about Blackpool for the next’un, forget it - tha’s no good either, go’n by reports! They tell me it gets tha’ way when one’s had ‘t too good for too long, Joyce dearie. Suggest somewhere ‘down here in this direction’ for a change. Wha’ abou’ Brighton? Nice place, and a wee bi’ warmer for delegates! Could also do wi’ a wee bi’ of boost, yer know, wi’ all the trouble with the football ground! Look wha’ happened to Glasgow in jus’ a few years! - it’s a great place now, be’r than E’inburgh, I think. Promise to think abou’ t’?
7. Enjoyed the Meet’n, though bi’ rush-rush on 23rd March mornin’ - due to be’n a low budget visit, yer see! Jus’ managed to get on the ‘Flying Scotsman’ at Kings Cross about 10.30. Incid. caught the headlines in ‘The Scotsman’: ‘Tensions shows as Scotland receives a mauling in Calcutta Cup’! Sign of times, I wonder’d! Took a taxi from the station, checked-in at the Adene H’tel and ran down the the zig-zag t’ the Complex. Phew! Did yer know, I just got into the Spa Theatre in time to catch the last sentence of President’s welcomin’ address: ‘BSAS has a reputation of being a friendly society, and I hope it will remain that way’. Hear Hear(!!), I thought. Incid., now wonderin’ whether for the next’un the President could add the words ‘and wealthy’ between ‘friendly’ and ‘Society’ - with yer new fundrais’n strategy! Who knows though - there’s many a slip t’wixt cup and lip, as ma’ good Dad says - but also ‘say nought the struggle not availeth’ - no, not yer Robert Burns; Arthur Clough (incid. is he any relati’n to tha’ other great soccer mastermind Brian, who never got his chance for the big job, I wonder!).
8. Incid. wish yer good luck with yer fundrais’n - we need’t! Perhaps, for the next’un yer could offer the delegates some decent food, ‘nstead of them sarnies and fa’ chips - and no dessert, dearie me Joyce! I thought yer knew that I’m a bit partial t’ samosas and chicken nuggets! And yer do have all tha’ haggis and black puddin’ - no need to be abandon yer own food (and yer accent!) because of misinformation and need for fundrais’n, Joyce dearie - I know good few Englishmen who love the stuff. And good haggis is made from sheep, not beef, as I understand’t - so no need for the delegates to fear mad cow disease; or even scrapies now that yer have tha’ ‘Dolly’. If I was to be perfectly ‘onest wi’ yer, I’m more than a wee bi’ concerned abou’ the recent spread of ‘headless chicken syndrome’ though up there, start’n from Aberdeen through E’inburgh down as far as Nottingham and Lincolnshire, would yer believe - did yer hear anythin’ abou’ that in Penicuik, by any chance? No, Joyce dearie, I mean’t - good luck wi’ yer fundrais’n. Perhaps yer can then also offer us give us ‘cakes with tea’ ‘nstead o’ them stale old ‘cookies’ yer got up there now tha’ crumble in yer mouth at first bite, and spread debris all round - usually in other people’s homes! Incid. yer do still have those lovely short crust and short bread biscuits that’s world famous! Oh, canno’ afford it, I know!
9. Incid. not much cricket play’n up there in Scotland, ’s there? At least, not the Test Match kind needin’ ‘stayin’ power’. It looks like yer prefer the limited overs ‘hit ’n miss’ type or the under-ar’m stuff; Or is it the the kid stuff with tennis balls that yer play up there; if yer continue t’ practice wi’ these balls, I can tell yer, yer got no chance in the World cup, where yer batsmen have t’ face Commonwealth grenades!
10. Anyway, Joyce dearie. Thank ye for the Conference - see ye in the next’n, now that yer got yer money - unless yer baa’ery is as fla’ as a pancake by then and yer move’t to Penipinch. Incid., wha’ does Penicuik mean, is it by any chance: ‘if yer see a penny quick pick it up before someone else does?’
11 All tha’ remains is for me to wish ye Namaskar, with our own say’n Satyemev Jayate. As Christmas may be comin’ early this year Merry Christmas to ye (all).
UK, originally from Kalinga (Orissa), a place near Calcutta, India
PS. Joyce, dearie. In case ye’re wonderin’, ‘incid.’ is short for ‘incidentally’ - I know how yer love to cut things down to the size to suit yer needs up there; now perhaps yer know how tha’ feels. Incid. I also just got fed-up wi’ it in the end - referr’n to things ‘obliquely’. I learnt tha’ this strategy does the job without spread’n much debris, but takes an awful long time! Who has time these days, Joyce dearie - yer tell me now?
PPS. Oh I almost forgot:
CRICKET AS EXPLAINED TO A FOREIGN VISITOR (OUTSIDER)
You have two sides one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out, including the not outs - that’s the end of the game.
Incid., of course, ‘these days’ women also try and play this game, as yer might ‘ve noticed. HOWZAT!
On 24 April 1998 I received a second letter from the Personnel Department suspending me from work pending disciplinary proceedings. I felt a sense of relief for the day to day mental struggle in coping with the harassment would now be over. The University still had to go through a formal Disciplinary Hearing and an Appeal Hearing before it could dismiss me. I decided to fight the Hearings to protect my reputation but first took home all my box files containing scientific work before the suspension could be fully implemented. I wrote to the Vice Chancellor Professor Fussey stating that Mr Turner’s documents of 1st and 24th April 1998 had been both incomplete and premature: of particular concern to me is how alleged misconduct so minor that it was deemed not grave enough to warrant Disciplinary Action (see Mr Turner’s letter of 1st April 1998) suddenly became gross misconduct in his second letter of 24th April 1998. Formal disciplinary charges were concocted and my letter to BSAS was the single most important issue that was the subject of these proceedings. The suspension was also carried out with a blatant disregard for the University's procedures.
I asked my doctor to refer me to a psychiatrist to diagnose my mental condition with a view to going on sick leave from the University. This was also done to obtain medical cover as an excuse for any misconduct that I might be accused of and also to have on record that I needed to see a psychiatrist because of depression caused by workplace harassment. I was diagnosed as suffering from severe depression with psychotic features and prescribed with Laustral and Risperidone tablets. I kept appointments with Dr Rao at the BUPA Hospital in Walderslade and submitted a sick note to the University in July 1998. I had also sought out a High Street solicitor, Mr Nicholas Sorrell of Sorrell and Co Solicitors, 5 High Street, Gillingham, Kent, to whom I paid a total of £1750 during the coming few months. I handed a letter to Mr Sorrell at our second meeting, requesting that he type it out and send it to the University of Greenwich from his Firm, as follows:
TERMS OF DR PANIGRAHI’S SUSPENSION FROM WORK PENDING DISCIPLINARY HEARING: DAMAGES