Real Fake - Animals with Degrees and Diplomas

Recently I came across a term called ‘diploma mill’. It’s American and probably that’s the reason why the term sounds unfamiliar. Without any nomenclature, the trend has been quite a ‘news’ in and around our hometown. To put it briefly, in this part of the world, the forgery masters have been working as a one-man army rather than as an institutions as in other places where a term like ‘diploma mill’ is a hashtag-able name—with the sole motive to offer fake certificates at a certain price. For instance in July 2016, the Manipur police arrested four miscreants who were involved in making fake documents and selling them at a price. But this was not the first case.

According to an Imphal-based senior journalist, Khelen Thokchom of The Telegraph, ‘The gang created fake Aadhaar cards, driving licences, PAN cards, among others and opened bank accounts in SBI in Imphal and Guwahati using the fake documents. Then they sold the bank passbooks and the ATM cards to criminal elements. They used correct names and addresses of genuine, unsuspecting people in creating fake Aadhaar cards and other documents and opened bank accounts. They, however, used passport photos of different persons. Police investigation has revealed that names and photographs found in the documents do not match.’

If we consider about the global trend, a diploma mill (also known as a degree mill) is a firm that, on paper, is an educational institution but which offers illegitimate academic degrees and diplomas for a fee. Closer home, remember the infamous case about the ‘prestigious’ Indian Institute of Planning and Management in 2015. In today’s post, I’ll be referring only to American diploma mills, which have conferred degrees to several cats and dogs! Unsurprisingly, there have been ‘successful’ prosecution against those institutes that have awarded a degree to non-human animals. Most of exposés were carried out during sting operations or field reports by media people. For instance, Colby Nolan was awarded a degree for $399 by a Texas-based online college.  



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