Something rotten at the heart of BHU

The university has become a rehabilitation centre for incompetent and lumpenised legatees of dons

ajay

Ajay Singh | September 27, 2017


#Varanasi   #BHU Violence   #Prof GC Tripathi   #BHU VC   #BHU Clash   #BHU   #Banaras Hindu University  


There was something eclectic about the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). As one crossed the gates, the sprawling campus came in view, representing a microcosm of the entire universe of education. Driving from the Sir Sunderlal hospital to the IIT and dairy farms at the end of the university, one would simply marvel at the genius of the man who founded it – Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

But the recent episode of alleged sexual harassment followed by girl students’ protests, subsequent use of force against them and its brazen justification by vice chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi confirm the fear that there is something deeply rotten in the BHU. It has been rotting there for decades and has only now exposed itself in the most virulent form.

There is nothing new in girl students taking a political position on the campus. The university has a legacy of illustrious girl student leaders on its record. But the campus was always a safe place for interaction of students. Academic dons living a Spartan life on the campus were role models for students and inspired instant awe and respect for their profound knowledge. But something went horribly wrong in the eighties.

Today the university has been reduced to a rehabilitation centre for “incompetent and often lumpenised” legatees of academic dons. One does not need to go far to find this out. You take out the records of those recruited in the faculty and staff, and you will find that most of them are either relatives or scions of the people who occupied prestigious positions in the university. For instance, one important member of the proctorial board has got “adjusted” his four scions as university faculty. And mind you, he is not an exception. In any faculty except at the IIT and the medical college, the story is the same.

How do these “incompetent scions” get admitted? If an agency scrutinised the academic records of these faculty members, it will be found that most of them had fared badly in high school and intermediate exams. Once they get into the university, their scale of performance takes a quantum jump and they become toppers. Such stories abound on the campus.

Hence, it hardly comes as a surprise when the faculty is divided on caste lines. A Brahmin VC would face the wrath of Rajput staff or a Rajput VC would get no cooperation from Brahmin and Bhumihar faculty. OBCs and scheduled castes lobby within students and faculty would be no less inferior in flexing its muscle to subvert the education system. Perhaps everyone seems willingly or unwillingly complicit in toppling the BHU’s prestige. In the latest episode, a section of teachers, instead of becoming firefighters, stoked the flames on the basis of their prejudices. And the vice chancellor, who regards himself as the “chosen one” because of his proximity to RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal, handled the whole issue in the most cavalier manner.
Insiders admit that given the outsiders’ access to the university, there were reports of eve-teasing happening all across the campus in the recent past. These complaints made by girl students were treated most shabbily by the proctorial board and the VC’s office. The incident that triggered the protests happened barely 50 yards away from the VC’s lodge. It merited a strong intervention and the girls needed to be assured that such instances would not happen in future. The university’s administration instead blamed girls for letting such molestation happen.

What is particularly significant is the response of the university’s administration to girls’ complaints. It once again exposes the mindset of those running the institution. In their view, girls returning to the hostel as late as after 7 pm needed to be blamed for exposing themselves to “molestation”. Interestingly, none of them is ashamed of holding such a regressive view. This is the precise reason why the VC avoided going to the women’s college (WC) which is located quite close to his residence. Of course, a visit to the WC would expose to him a litany of charges about the poor quality of management in the girls’ hostels. And the VC, being the chief protectorate of this “rehabilitation centre of incompetence”, would not let this happen.

Being an ex-student of the BHU, I am quite dismayed at rapid deterioration in the academics and governance of the institution. This is not the first time that the university has witnessed violent protests or hooliganism. In the early eighties, it was closed sine die many a time because a section of criminals were infiltrating students’ protests. But they were weeded out to restore a semblance of order. The soul of the BHU remained intact. However, the recent episode is indicative of a morbid atrophy that has afflicted the BHU’s soul.

ajay@governancenow.com

This report first appeared on FirstPost.com

 

Comments

 

Other News

“900 tenders worth Rs 150 crore?” For ward-level works: BMC

BrihanMumbai municipal corporation is floating nearly 900 tenders worth of Rs 150 crore in the next 10 days, but that is only for ward-level civic works, the BMC clarified on Monday, reacting to reports in a section of media.    “Since there are 25 wards in BMC, it involves m

Elections 2024: Banks, post offices to chip in for voter education

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two prominent organisations, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the Department of Posts (DoP), to amplify its voter outreach and awareness efforts ahead of the forthcom

Charming tales of the Snakeman’s early years

Snakes, Drugs and Rock ’N’ Roll: My Early Years By Romulus Whitaker with Janaki Lenin HarperCollins, 400 pages, Rs 699

Gripping graphic narrative helps make sense of pandemics past

The Moral Contagion By Julia Hauser and Sarnath Banerjee HarperCollins, 140 pages, Rs 699 The world has lar

“Globally, there is unprecedented positivity for India”

Addressing the Viksit Bharat Viksit Uttar Pradesh program in Lucknow on Monday, prime minister Narendra Modi launched 14,000 projects across the state, worth more than Rs 10 lakh crore at the fourth groundbreaking ceremony of UP Global Investors Summit held in February 2023. The projects relate to sectors

World’s biggest bird-a-thon begins in India

During the four days from Feb 16, more than a thousand birdwatchers throughout India are coming together with the goal of documenting as many birds as possible across the country’s diverse locations. Over one lakh birdwatchers globally participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Coun

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter