Romila Thapar refuses to share CV with JNU; Prabhat Patnaik says, idea is to humiliate and root out dissent
Fellow emeritus professor says university just wants to humiliate people like Thapar and root out dissent in the campus
Noted Marxist economist and leading Indian political commentator Professor Prabhat Patnaik has lit into the JNU administration’s move asking noted historian Romila Thapar to submit her CV to decide whether she should continue as professor emerita at the university.
Talking to National Herald a day after he shot off a letter to the Economic & Political Weekly magazine, in which he pointed out that the position of a professor emeritus in JNU as well as universities the world over are conferred for a lifetime, Professor Patnaik said people like Thapar are being targeted because they have been critical of the ruling dispensation
“Their idea is to basically degrade, discontinue and humiliate university’s emeritus. Romila Thapar has been very vocal and critical of this government,” said Patnaik who taught at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at JNU from 1974 until his retirement in 2010.
Asked if the development was just another onslaught on the university by the right wing, Patnaik replied, “By definition that would be the case. People like Romila Thapar were the first to build up this university. The point is that people who have built up this university are suddenly being humiliated by people who came to the university two years ago and who have no particular or long-term stake in the university. I find it ironical.”
Meanwhile, Thapar has made it clear that she is not willing to share her CV with the JNU administration. “This status is given for a lifetime; the JNU admin is going against the basics, asking me for the CV now,” the celebrated historian has been quoted as saying by sections of the media.
Patnaik, who has also served as vice-chairman of Kerala State Planning Board, also expressed his anguish over the way JNU is being run.
“As emeritus professor, some of us have been writing to the university administration that this is not the way JNU should be run,” he said.
“Any talk of improving higher education will not have any meaning if there is no questioning, if there is no dissent,” he asserted. “Generally, the way they have been treating the university, is really to root out any possibility of dissent. How can you have a university where there is no dissent,” he said.
Thapar, one of the most influential historians in India, taught at JNU for several decades before she was given the prestigious position as a emeritus professor at the university.
JNU’s move on Saturday asking Thapar to submit her CV has led a to a huge row, with allegations that the same was biased and motivated flying thick and fast.
Published: 02 Sep 2019, 3:59 PM