Authoritarian Vice-Chancellors and the Fall of Our Universities 

PERSPECTIVE


From Manipur University to JNU – we see a demonic dance of revenge by the likes of Professor Pandey and Professor Jagadesh Kumar Ugly Vice-Chancellors and fall of our universities–this seems to be the new normal.

The New Leam Staff

Professor A.P. Pandey – the Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University – has proved it once again: the politically appointed Vice-Chancellors are essentially authoritarian; and far from being educators, they come to serve the interests of the dominant power, and thereby damage the spirit of a place of learning – its intersubjective space, its culture of dialogue, democratic decision making and transparency.

No wonder, he refused to learn any lesson. He was asked to go on leave pending an enquiry into allegations of negligence and financial irregularities against him. And now after resuming his duties, the first thing he has done is to issue an order banning teachers and students unions. 

This is the way things are happening around us. It seems that the ruling regime is determined to destroy our public universities by making students and teachers perpetually unhappy. All sorts of repressive measures to suppress the critical voice and the democratic ethos seem to have become the new normal. See beyond Manipur University. Just think of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Professor Jagadesh Kumar the ‘technician’ Vice-Chancellor with pedagogically impoverished ‘engineering mentality’- is always in news for all bad reasons. He loves to destroy the sanctity of the Academic Council and other bodies; he finds sadistic pleasure in issuing ‘show cause’ notices to the faculty for participating in a peaceful demonstration; he evicts the hostel wardens who are not in tune with his ‘line’; he appoints all sorts of psychophants (in fact, more than 160 teachers or meek subordinators have appealed to Mr. Javedkar to take into account that Mr. Kumar is the best thing that has happened to JNU; and this is the poison that ugly Vice-Chancellors spread for retaining the ‘divide and rule’ policy) in important positions; and every critique is seen as a threat . Yes, JNU is falling apart.

From Manipur to JNU – the trend indicates that there is a conspiracy. Ideas have to be destroyed; critical thinking has to be seen as ‘wastage’; the market has to be allowed to reduce ‘skills’ into a commodity; and everything about critical pedagogy has to be condemned as ‘political’–a deviance, a crime committed by ‘urban Naxalites’ or ”anti-nationals’. Destroy public universities. Destroy creative thinking. And promote ‘private universities’, encourage a corporate culture in a place of learning, and suspect socially sensitive, culturally nuanced, politico-ethical quest. 

The Vice-Chancellors, barring exceptions, are playing this ugly game. Don’t expect educational values or cultural sensitivity from them. Despite their ‘foreign degrees’, ‘awards’, ‘publications’ and ‘proximity with military generals or RSS stalwarts’, they are essentially destroyers. Good books, creative ideas, engagement with young learners, meaningful relationship with researchers and teachers – nothing bothers them. Being surrounded by psychophants and pampered by the ruling regime, they engage in a demonic dance of revenge.

Absolutely frightening!    

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