NEGATION OF DEMOCRATIC ETHOS IN THE CAMPUS: Former Teachers of JNU Express Concern
IN a statement issued on March 20, former teachers of JNU expressed dismay at the turn of events in the university since the present vice-chancellor has assumed office. The strength of JNU since its inception had been its democratic ethos marked by mutual respect, and cooperation between its three main constituents, the students, the faculty and the administration; the frictions that arose occasionally were settled through collective intervention within this democratic ethos. The present vice-chancellor however has been seeking to replace this ethos by one where unilateral decisions taken by him are to be obeyed by others.
The superseding of senior professors in the appointment of deans and chairpersons of schools; the introduction of compulsory attendance without proper discussion at the various academic bodies; the wholesale sacking of deans and chairpersons who incur his displeasure simply for upholding the established norms and practices of the university; the replacement of GSCASH by a committee filled with nominees of the administration; the reduction in student intake and blatant violation of laws on reservation for deprived sections; the rampant interference in the selection of new faculty; the arbitrary and irrational rules regarding viva voce examinations for MPhil and PhD candidates that are preventing such students from being examined for the award of their degrees; the victimisation of student representatives; and the dismissing of massive protests by teachers and students as the mere handiwork of a handful of persons, are all symptoms of this effort to negate the democratic ethos of the university.
The former teachers have extended support to the current struggle of the teachers and students to maintain the democratic ethos of JNU which has made it such an outstanding institution, and urged the visitor of the university, the president of India, to prevent the vice-chancellor from following a course which will only destroy this institution.
The signatories to the statement include:
1. Romila Thapar, Professor Emeritus, Centre of Historical Studies
2. C.P. Bhambri, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Political Studies
3. Harjeet Singh Gill, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Linguistics
4. K.N. Panikkar, Retired Professor, Centre of Historical Studies
5. Sunanda Sen, Retired Professor Centre for Economic Studies and Planning,
6. Anil Bhatti, Professor Emeritus, Centre for German Studies
7. Harbans Mukhia, former Rector of JNU; Retired Professor, Centre of Historical Studies
8. Imrana Qadeer, Retired Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health
9. Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning
10. Balveer Arora, former Rector of JNU; Retired Professor, Centre for Political Studies
11. Zoya Hasan, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Political Studies
12. Mridula Mukherji, Retired Professor, Centre of Historical Studies
13. Sudha Pai, former Rector of JNU; Retired Professor, Centre for Political Studies
14. Atiya Habeeb Kidwai, Retired Professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development
15. Tanika Sarkar, Retired Professor, Centre of Historical Studies
16. Kalpana Khosla, Retired Professor, Centre for Russian Studies
17. Abhijit Sen, Retired Professor Centre for Economic Studies and Planning
18. Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning.