• What A Shame!

    Ananya Guha

    April 4, 2016

    Shreya Bhattacharji_JCUProf. Shreya Bhattacharji; (Sourced from CUJ page, Facebook)

    Well now you can't speak, you can't even invite speakers to your university. You'll be rewarded, or awarded, with a suspension letter. Suspending a teacher has procedures, doesn't it? There is I think something called charge sheeting, though I'm very slow with the rules. But in India, we have scant respect for rules. We flout them when it doesn't suit us and make them when we target individuals whom we do not like, or their faces, or their guts. And in doing so authorities of establishments (read universities) have of course their avowed ' informers ' acolytes, who should be spending more time in working or teaching. For decades now the higher education scene has witnessed an appalling breakdown, a breakdown of the culture of knowledge seeking, and good and creative teaching. And if someone tries to break down such poor standards, he is targeted as ' unholy ', and then the ganging up starts. Like bad money drives out good money, bad teachers and academics are driving out good ones, ones who want change. But why is there this inveterate resistance to change among teachers?

    We have got to accept it, there is a crisis, students whether in JNU or elsewhere have found their voice and will not take things lying down. Moreover, they are getting more involved in social issues, want a total change in any sectarian ethos; they do not want a warped reading of history or of the Constitution of this country. Now the issue is no longer of shouting anti-India slogans, the issue is that of combating vicious forces out to strangle the political and societal scenes. The issue is that of upholding a sacrosanct history of the country, reading its argumentative spirit, and relating them to present issues.

    The incident of suspension of a teacher in the Central University of Jharkhand is not only sad and depressing, it is also an example of policing and authoritarianism by university powers. At times Vice Chancellors believe they can do whatever they want, appoint whomsoever they want and run the administration with their coteries. This coterie system in universities must be blasted. It is highly corrupt, plutocratic and venal. It is a type of caste system, infusing fear into others. The public must know the exact guilt of Professor Shreya Bhattacharji, and what was her wrong doing? Where are the university rules and regulations, ordinances, which sometimes teachers quote (and wrongly quote) at the drop of a hat? I think all these must be made transparent and the public as well as academics must know what exactly was the nature of her supposed malfeasance. Was it because a former professor from an ostracised university had come into the picture? What a shame!

    Editorial Note: The Indian media reported on April 1, 2016 that Prof. Bhattacharji's suspension from CUJ has been revoked.

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