Do not let a university turn into a ‘shakha’ of a poisoned tree

Have the JNU students and faculty seriously considered taking legal action against the current Vice Chancellor? From every report that I have seen, all his actions in the recently concluded farcical Academic Council (AC) meeting seem to me to be instances of prima facie procedural violation. (Or am I incorrect in assuming this?)

From what I have heard, his conduct includes the deliberate misrepresentation of the minutes, pretending to consensual decisions where there were none, and disruptive and arrogant behavior towards Academic Council members. If this is indeed the case, could there not be strong legal grounds to ask for his removal on the grounds of his willful violation of institutional procedures and ethics? What do people with legal experience think of such a possibility? What do students and faculty think?

If recourse to legal action is not feasible or practical, what else can be done to remedy this situation? What kind of campaign can restore a semblance of sanity to JNU (and to universities, generally) that have been serially assaulted by university administrations acting at the behest of right-wing thugs.

It seems to me, that this man, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar (the current JNU vice-chancellor) is acting like a criminal, and I think he should be treated as such from now on. Co-operating with his decisions, or even tacit acceptance of his manner of functioning, should now be seen as complicity with an agenda to destroy the university. Let us also not forget that this VC continues to protect those who assaulted Najeeb Ahmed before he disappeared from JNU. In the unfortunate possibility of anything untoward having happened to Najeeb Ahmed, this VC should be seen as being responsible. He creates the conditions of impunity that threaten the safety of each and every student. His decision to punish the students who protested yesterday with arbitrary and unjust suspension orders is exactly analogous to the authoritarian conduct of Podile Appa Rao, VC of HCU, that led to the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula. The manner in which both Jagadesh Kumar and Appa Rao have acted suggests a pattern of the deliberate victimization of students on the basis of their caste identities. This only brings shame and disrepute to the institutions headed by them.

In my considered view, (and please view this only as a suggestion) the time has come for Faculty and Students of JNU to come together (irrespective of their political positions and postures) to demand the unconditional removal of Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar from the vice-chancellorship of JNU and from the university itself. I think that all limits have now been crossed by his conduct. His declarations about what the AC decided should be treated as null and void (also because they are violative of the principles of social justice and democratic education), and the suspension orders against the students who were targeted must be revoked. I hope that the present JNUSU and JNUTA will not fail in their responsibility to conduct a coherent and militant campaign to reverse this situation. If they vacillate, or, are unable to offer a coherent, well worked out strategy, they too will be seen as responsible for the mess that JNU is in today.

I hope that every student (and here I mean ‘common students’ as well as student activists within and outside organizations) and every teacher at JNU is able to rise above the temptation of negativism and needless point-scoring at this juncture. Just as the JNUSU crucially must not see itself as immune to criticism, or fail to act with militant resolve and clarity, and in resonance with the concerns of students, (including of those outside the union) so too, those outside the union could help matters by not falling to the temptation of adopting ‘holier than thou’ postures that impede practical unity. Let there be solidarity in struggle, and the kind of criticality that aids , rather than impedes, solidarity.

This time, this opportunity, this moment of necessity for thoughtful, militant, intelligent unity of all students, teachers and all friends of the idea or a free and open university is too precious to lose at the altar of either posturing or prevarication.

Restore freedom to freedom square! Do not let a university turn into a ‘shakha’ of a poisoned tree! Eject Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar! Reject Podile Appa Rao! Bring back life to our universities !

One thought on “Do not let a university turn into a ‘shakha’ of a poisoned tree

  1. age

    There is the view, current in many circles, that universities have become a means of propagating ‘dalit vidya’, rather than a competitive, instrumental-ist shiksha that is the need of this national economy. School education remains scantily funded. Educational collaborations with foreign universities that have arisen and survived amidst histories of accumulation in the west (global north) are on the rise, who do little to gauge the real educational needs of students in India. ‘Professional’ universities proudly proclaim their instrumental programmes, while dispensing with ‘liberal’ ones. This cannot be the tack for a rising India, with vast numbers derived from heterogeneous sections, whom the state and central govts. have least interest in. This goes hand in hand with populist policies pretending to have the public interest in view

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