10 points: Historians urge JNU administration not to relocate the CHS library

A Special Centre for Tamil Studies will be set up in the Centre for Historical Studies building

JNU campus (Photo: NH Library)
JNU campus (Photo: NH Library)

NH Political Bureau

The prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru is simmering with anger again. This time over the relocation of the library of the Centre for Historical Research (CHS).

Students alleged that the CHS library was being closed down. But refuting the allegations, the JNU administration said that the library is being shifted to the Exim Bank Library on the campus premises.

Here are the 10 points to explain JNU’s library controversy :

1. Students allege that the Exim Bank Library is not well equipped to accommodate 18000 books which include rare manuscripts, research papers archives, and volumes of inscriptions.

2. The relocation of the CHS library came in the wake of a donation worth Rs 10 crore by the Tamil Nadu government. The DMK-led government has donated the amount to the university for setting up a Special Centre for Tamil Studies.

3. Eminent historians and intellectuals who have taught at JNU have opposed the move, asking the vice-chancellor, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit to reverse her “hasty decision”.

4. They believe that setting up the Tamil Centre by relocating the CHS library is in violation of the terms of the financial sanctions through which the two libraries — CHS and the Exim Bank library — were created.

“It is quite disturbing to hear that the building is sought to be put to alternate use after several decades of its existence,” said historians in a joint letter.

5.  The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) have also opposed the relocation of the prestigious library saying: "Both the CHS as well as Exim Bank libraries came into existence as a result of special financial assistance being received by the University for the same. They house important resources that faculty, students and researchers can access and there is no question that cramming both of them into the same premises will have adverse consequences for access to them and lead to loss of some of these resources."

6. Students have launched a signature campaign against the relocation of the library. According to a report published by the Telegraph, 1020 signatures of academics and activists across the world have been received by Monday, August 7.

7.  Students have also issued an online appeal to “the national and global academic community at large, including JNU alumni as well as teachers’ associations, student bodies and individual professors and students across the world” against the relocation of the library.

8.  Students and teachers believe that the relocation will essentially destroy the institution which was funded specifically for the purpose.

9.  The university administration has, however, refuted the allegations. Registrar Ravikesh on August 4, said: “The proposed arrangement would not only facilitate the activities of one of the important Indian languages but also ensure prudent use of space on the campus without affecting the academic activities of CHS or any other centre.”

10. Students have also asked Tamil Nadu government to demand accountability from the VC.

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Published: 08 Aug 2023, 7:50 PM