TN Academics Appeal to Voters to Defeat ‘Dictatorial Regime’ at Centre
April 8, 2019
Around 60 academicians in Tamil Nadu have appealed to the public to vote for “constitutional values, diversity and inclusive society” in the upcoming general elections to preserve “questioning and critical thinking” in institutes of higher education. The appeal, signed by some former Vice-Chancellors, civil servants, writers, scientists, artistes and academicians associated with leading institutions in the state was made in a press meet held here last weekend.
The signatories, such as Dr.M. Anandakrishnan, Former Vice-Chancellor Anna University, R. Ramanujam, Dr.V. Vasanthi Devi, Former Vice-Chancellor, MS University, Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Enakshi Bhattacharya, Professor, IIT Madras, Chennai, among others, called upon the voters to defeat the government, spearheading continuous attacks on premier higher educational institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Central University of Hyderabad among others. They decried the attacks on pluralistic society, secularism and diversity which are central to the idea of India.
They also denounced the Narendra Modi-led government’s inclination to appoint persons with known Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) links to the office of academic prominence, terming these actions as a move towards implementation of RSS propaganda in higher education.
“The system of higher education is being greatly weakened by the promotion of obscurantism, irrationality and aggressive communalism by the ruling dispensation,” read the statement.
The inclusion of objectionable content in the NCERT books clearly explains the RSS’ influence in policy decision of the Union government, said the statement.
The proposal of Higher Education Council of India (HECI) in place of University Grants Commission (UGC) is a move towards privatisation, centralisation and corporatisation of Education, which will deny education to the economically and socially backward community, they opined.
They expressed their disappointment over the very low allocation of 0.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for science and technology, and also accused the present Chairman of Indian Council of Social Science Research, Braj Bihari Kumar, appointed by the National Democratic Alliance government, for “targeting eminent intellectuals for pointing out the wrong policies of the government.”
The appeal also noted the alarming increase in unemployment, as per the reported statistics of the National Sample Survey Office and private agencies like the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, and blamed the Union government’s decision of demonetisation and hasty implementation of Goods and Sales Tax for fuelling unemployment and destruction of unorganised sector.
Vasanthi Devi, Former Vice-Chancellor of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, while speaking to The Hindu said, “The rise of organised regressive forces in the last few years, committed to destroying constitutional values, has to be challenged and stopped forthwith without any reservation”.
The resilience of the farmers, workers, employees, women, dalits and minorities provide hope for overcoming the present situation, they felt, and appealed to people to elect a regime that “will protect the Constitution of India”.
First published in Newsclick.
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