‘Save Indian Academia from the scholarship of hate and anger’

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Quick Summary

  • 46 Academics have put forward a petition highlighting the rot that has set in in the Indian Academia in the aftermath of the tragic suicide of Rohit Vemula at Hyderabad Central University on January 17, 2016.
  • The petitioners allege that a new brand of scholarship has emerged in the last decade, that has converted academic scenario into a political war-zone.
  • The petitioners have urged the Indian academic community to save the Academia from such scholarship promoting hate and discord in the society
  • The petition can be accessed here

Here is the Open Statement by concerned Academics on the tragic happenings at Hyderabad Central University and the rot in Indian academia that it has exposed:

Save Indian Academia from the scholarship of hate and anger

The tragic death of a young research scholar of the University of Hyderabad is deeply regrettable. We sincerely hope that this sad death, which has drawn so much national and international attention, makes the teachers and administrators in our institutions of higher learning adopt a more caring and concerned attitudes towards their wards, so that no more brilliant young lives are wasted in this manner.

This tragic death has brought forth the rot that has set-in in the Indian academia in general, and particularly in our premier schools and institutions of learning. Over the last ten or fifteen years, a new brand of scholarship have transformed the meaning of high academics in such a manner as to convert our high institutions of learning into some kind of war zones. The avowed purpose of this scholarship is not to understand, to analyse, to empathise with the Society around and to create possibilities of invigorating it with new ideas and meanings, but to abuse, ridicule, distort and destroy.

Such scholars have not only come to dominate the social science faculties of our institutions, but their peers have also managed to occupy high positions of power in the various Councils and Commissions that govern and guide the Indian academia. Consequently, several new disciplines, departments, centers and chairs, etc., have been created in many premier institutions of higher learning with the explicit intention of unraveling the fabric of Indian society and creating discord and dissension within it. The University of Hyderabad itself has a multiplicity of such centers, engaged in different aspects of what they call “exclusion studies”.

Under the influence of such scholars and their peers in the higher echelons of academic governance, the young scholars joining these institutions are being led astray. They are being taught the language of anger, abuse and discord instead of that of sobriety, reflection and harmony, which is the essence of all genuine scholarship. They are being forced to fight the ideological war that their angry teachers and mentors have chosen to wage on the Indian society.

More than the alleged caste discrimination, the tragic death at the University of Hyderabad is the consequence of this deep distortion of the academic atmosphere of the campuses. The young, innocent and often poor students entering the campuses are seen as fodder in the ideological war of their mentors; they are taught to hate and angrily agitate rather than soberly read, learn and comprehend. In the celebrated suicide note of the scholar of Hyderabad University, this conflict of a young boy, who joined the University to become a scholar and was made an agitator instead, is reflected even more strongly than the “accident of birth” that has been highlighted.

The atmosphere of discord and discontent that has been created in the campuses has led to several suicides in the past. The death of the University of Hyderabad scholar is not the first that has happened there and in other premier Institutions, nor will it be the last unless the atmosphere in our campuses is radically corrected.

It is indeed surprising that several Indian and foreign scholars, instead of reflecting on the sad state to which they have reduced scholarship in India, have brazenly affirmed that the kind of discordant atmosphere that has led to this tragic death is what the Universities in India must support and nurture; and that inculcating such anger and hate, and not sober serious scholarship, is the proper business of academia.

We condemn the attempt to use the tragic death of a young scholar to further distort the academic atmosphere in India. We call upon the academic community and its leaders and governors to:

1. Act swiftly to save the Indian academia from the clutches of this new brand of academics in the University faculties and their peers in the higher academic governance of India. The people at the helm of affairs in the higher governing bodies of Indian academia have remained largely unchanged. These persons in position of authority have continued to further vitiate the atmosphere in our institutions of higher learning.

2. Protect the academia from the on-going political and ideological warfare by strongly discouraging angry agitational ways of the teachers and students on the campuses.

3. Moderate and restrain the voices of anger, abuse and discord on the campuses at least as strongly as these are in the society outside. The angry academics entrenched in these institutions must not be allowed to continue their ideological wars in the name of academic autonomy.

4. Initiate a comprehensive review of the direction that the social sciences have taken in India, audit the academic work done in the major institutions of learning during the last ten years, and explore ways of inculcating an atmosphere of sobriety, harmony and serious scholarship in these institutions.

This Statement is issued on behalf of the following scholars, teachers and researchers:

  1. Dr. J. K. Bajaj,
Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai and Delhi

2. Prof. M. D. Srinivas,
Centre for Policy Studies;
Member ICHR;
Formerly, Professor of Theoretical Physics University of Madras, Chennai

3. Prof. Madhu Purnima Kishwar,
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Editor, Manushi

4. Prof. Shreepad Karmalkar,
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai

5. Prof. Sunil Kumar, 
Professor, Thomas G. Pine Faculty Fellow and
Director, Multimedia & Wireless Networks Research Group, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department,
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

6. Prof. Vipin Chaturvedi,
Professor of Medicine,
University of California, San Diego, CA USA

7. Pro. Mohan Lal chhipa,
Vice Chancellor,
Atal Bihari Vajpayi Hindi Vishwavidhyalay, Bhopal

8. Prof. Kapil Kapoor
Chancellor, MGAHV, Wardha Formerly, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, JNU

9. Professor Santishree D. Pandit,
 Department of Politics and Public-Administration, Savitribai Phule University, Pune

10. Prof. Ashok Kapoor,
Former Professor, School of Physics, University of Hyderabad;
Currently, Visiting Professor,
School of Basic Sciences,
IIT Bhubaneswar

11. Sri Banwari,
 Formerly, Editor, Janssatta

12. Prof. M. S. Sriram,
 Formerly, Professor and Head, Department of Theoretical Physics University of Madras, Chennai

13. Prof. Jyotirmaya Tripathy,
Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras

14. Prof. Kanchi Gopinathan,
 Professor, Computer Science & Automation Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

15. Prof. Yashwant Pathak,
 Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Pharmacy
University of South Florida Health, Tampa, FL, USA

16. Prof. Devendra Jalihal, 
Professor, Dept of Electrical Engineering Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai

17. Dr. Satish K. Sharma, Senior Member IEEE;
Professor and Director Antenna & Microwave Lab (AML), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
San Diego State University, San Diego CA USA

18. Makrand R. Paranjpe, Professor of English, Jawaharlal Nehru University

19. Professor Aswhini Mohapatra,
School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

20. Professor V. Varadharajan, Formerly, Professor of Economics Vivekananda College, Chennai

21. Dr S N Sharan,
Professor & Director, School of Electrical, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Manipal University, Jaipur

22. Prof. R. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance, IIM Bangalore

23. Prof. Daya Nath Tripathi,
 Department of History, Archaeology and Culture Gorakhpur University;
Former, Chairman, ICHR

24. Dr. Gautam Sen,
 Former Faculty, London School of Economics and Politics

25. Michel Danino,
 Guest Professor, IIT Gandhinagar Member, ICHR

26. Dr. Inder Mohan Kapahy, Former Professor of Physics Delhi University, Delhi

27. Prof. Edamana Prasad,
 Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, Chennai

28. Dr. Rajni Garg,
 Research Professor, Computational Science Research Center San Diego State University, San Diego

29. Prof. G. Gopal Reddy, Department of Political Science Osmania University, Hyderabad

30. Dr. P. Kanagasabapathi,
 Professor, School of Management SASTRA University, Tamil Nadu

31. Prof. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, 
Professor of Political Science,
Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut

32. Prof. Mohan Kashikar, 
Professor of Political Science and HOD RTM Nagpur University

33. Prof. K. K. Mishra, 
Professor of Politial Science Banaras Hindu University

34. R C Jain, 
Professor and Head, 
Electronics & Communication Engineering Department, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, NOIDA

35. Dr. P. Madurai Veeran, 
Department of Public Administration Presidency College, Chennai

36. Sarma L. Rani, 
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering University of Alabama in Huntsville

37. Dr. Mahaveer K. Jain, 
Associate Professor, Physics Department, IIT Madras, Chennai

38. Dr. Karam Veer Arya, 
ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management, Gwalior

39. Prof. T. Pradeep, 
Institute Professor and Professor of Chemistry Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai

40. Dr. Ram Subramanian, Department of HSS IIT Mumbai

41. Prof. R. Dhamodharan, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, Chennai.

42. Dr. Anil Kumar Gourishetty, Assistant Professor in Physics, IIT Roorkee

43. Dr. K. V. S. Shiv Chaitanya, BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, India

44. Prof. Sushma Yadav, Chair Professor, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Chair In Social Justice, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

45. Prof. Sharadindu Mukherjee, Member ICHR and former Professor of History, Delhi University.

46. Prof. Ved Nanda, Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law, University of Denver, USA

NewsGram view: The recent happenings in the Indian Academia, especially, the politics played over the suicide of Rohit Vemula and the anti-national sloganeering in the JNU, have clearly exposed the politicization of the Indian Academia, especially carried out by the regressive Left. The atmosphere of politics in general, of anger, hate, and anti-national sentiments in particular are not conductive for imparting education to students. It is high time that the rot in the Academia is cleaned and a calm and conductive environment for learning is established.