PLEASE JOIN PROTEST AGAINST SHAMEFUL HARASSMENT OF DR. NANDITA NARAIN – MONDAY THE 19TH OF OCTOBER, VICEREGAL LODGE, DELHI UNIVERSITY 10.30 AM- 1.30 PM.
With apologies to Manoj Mitta’s excellent book on 2002 by the same name, it appears that yet another fact-finding commission has made a mockery of the process of law, not to mention truth and justice. Dr. Nandita Narain – yes that blood-curdling, fearsome figure in the picture above – has been accused of disrupting the work of 3 colleges in Delhi University and asked to appear before a fact finding committee appointed by the University, 10 days before the term of the current Vice Chancellor Professor Dinesh Singh ends. For those not acquainted with Dr. Narain, she is the popular President of the Delhi University Teachers Association, beloved Mathematics professor in St. Stephens’ College and a brilliant scholar in her own right. Having contested and won the recent Delhi University Teachers Association elections against the V.C’s relentless pressure tactics and a blitzkrieg of campaigning and publicity by other parties including the government-friendly National Democratic Teachers’ Front, Dr. Narain has evidently had nothing but her enormous personal integrity going for her.
Shorn of high-decibel rhetoric and glamour in the politically charged but highly confusing historical moment the University is passing through, Dr. Narain and her campaign firmly won over a large number of fence-sitters in the University including an exploited floating population of ‘ad hoc’ faculty. Dr.Narain’s previous term as President saw her not simply getting better professional and academic conditions for the University including its teachers and students, but also exposing the expanding web of lies that had come to be the VC’s office under Professor Singh. Working against all odds, the DUTA under Dr. Narain had in the past year painstakingly and meticulously put together a White Paper on the ‘grave illegalities, academic erosion and administrative breakdown’ in the VC’s office – a charge that some of you may remember, was serious enough to get the HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s attention not too long ago. Of course, since then, Irani, no long term friend of any teachers’ movement I guess, has chosen to go mysteriously silent and allow the VC to complete his term.
He won’t go quietly into the night, however. Completely ignoring the mountain of allegations against him, lording it over the University from his citadel called the Viceregal Lodge, still swaying with power as if he is sitting on the infamous elephant he rode in to the cultural festival of the University, Professor Singh has now thrown his last card, ostensibly taking cognizance of allegations of misconduct by 3 college Principals and issuing a notice to Dr. Narain to appear before the committee. The fact of the matter, since the word ‘fact’ is being thrown around so loftily, is that Dr. Narain’s crime in these cases was nothing more than what any democratically elected teachers’ association head would have done – acted on complaints received by teachers in these very colleges over the past year and a half and attempted to visit these colleges and try to meet the teachers. Clearly this didn’t go down well with the college authorities, who in fact rudely stopped her from entering their colleges in some cases. Let us not forget that the complaints against Dr. Narain have been filed by Principals, not by ordinary teachers. Let us also not be fooled by Professor Singh’s claims that the fact-finding commission has nothing to do with him, but “works on the directives of the University” (what does that even mean?! Last we checked he was the VC of that University!)
Dr.Narain is not a stranger unfortunately to these laughable allegations by outgoing administrative heads – some may remember the outgoing St Stephens Principal Professor Valson Thampu, reeling under court cases himself, seeking to drag Dr. Narain to court last year on ridiculous charges of defamation.
In light of these dramatic developments which would be laughable if they weren’t so highly vindictive, the DUTA executive met on Friday and has appealed to students and teachers across the university as well as well-wishers to come to a protest meeting outside the VC’s office – the Viceregal Lodge – Delhi University, tomorrow, Monday the 19th of October, 2015, at 10.30 am.
DUTA Press Release: 16 October 2015
The DUTA Executive met on Emergency basis today in order to discuss the vindictive notice served by the University, via an unauthorised “Fact-Finding Committee”, to DUTA President Nandita Narain asking her to depose before the Committee on Monday, 19 October. The meeting was attended by a large number of teachers representing various staff associations of colleges. Letters and resolutions of solidarity with the DUTA President and condemnation of the outgoing DU VC have been pouring in; some of these were read out before the Executive members.
The DUTA Executive has unanimously expressed strong condemnation of the outgoing DU VC’s dastardly and conspiratorial attack on the DUTA President for discharging her duties as the elected representative of the teaching community. It sees the attack on Nandita Narain as an attack on the DUTA as an institution of the academic community which has consistently exposed the outgoing VC’s misdeeds, sadistic cruelty towards teachers and students, and the systematic manner in which he and his team of close loyalists have sought to destroy Delhi University.
The DUTA Executive warns him from continuing with this conspiracy and clearly urges him to withdraw the Fact-Finding Committee against her with immediate effect, failing which he will be held singularly responsible for provoking widespread unrest and instability in the University.
The DUTA Executive has also resolved to write to the Visitor and MHRD on the prevailing situation,demanding immediate intervention and reversal of the VC’s action and an official reprimand to him.
The DUTA Executive has also given a call for a Joint Teachers-Students Protest Meeting outside the Vice-Regal Lodge, DU, on Monday (between 10.30 am and 1.30 pm), following which the situation will be re-assessed.
(C. S. Rawat)