Campaign against Delhi varsity VC gains momentum

Over a thousand people have signed an online petition floated by Mushirul Hasan, Director General of the National Archives of India, urging the prime minister to intervene in the academic changes in Delhi University.

“Hasan was a student of the St Stephen’s college and also taught there for sometime. He later became the vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia. Besides teachers from DU, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia and authors like Amitav Ghosh, filmmaker Shyam Benegal, cultural theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak from the University of Columbia, artist Vivan Sundaram, the nephew of Amrita Shergill, have signed the petition,” said Saikat Ghosh, professor at DU.

The petition said it was “shocking” that Dinesh Singh, DU vice-chancellor, refused to meet the teachers who have been on a relay hunger strike for over a month. “We find it shocking and incomprehensible that the VC has refused to even meet them. Neither has he met the students nor the non-teaching staff who joined the protest,” the petition stated.

It also claimed that the academic changes in the university will have far-reaching consequences.

“We are disturbed to hear that decisions seeking to fundamentally alter and restructure the academic programmes continue to be taken thoughtlessly, arbitrarily and hastily. Such changes will have far-reaching consequences for teaching, learning and research.”

The petition also stated that DU, one of the oldest and largest universities of the country, has produced fine students, scholars, teachers and intellectuals over the years. “We suspect that it is being pushed into an irrevocable crisis, threatening to destroy this 90-year-old institution, by an university administration oblivious of DU’s rich academic traditions,” it said.

Appealing to the prime minister, the petition stated: “This crisis needs to be urgently resolved.”

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