Friday, March 12, 2010

AMU: Who will stem the rot?

One of India's highest funded institutions of higher learning and research, the Aligarh Muslim University, appears in the media more often than not for the wrong reasons, for which the onus lies more on the AMU administration. But the Union government is equally responsible. Much is being talked about reforming, streamlining and revolutionising higher education. The pathetic state of affairs in AMU, and the government inaction against corruption and irregularities in the university system, despite clinching evidence, is disgusting.
In February, a 64-year-old senior faculty member was suspended. He was going to retire in the next few months. Complying with the orders of the AMU administration, he has not only vacated the AMU residential accommodation, but also reportedly left Aligarh for good.
While the AMU's 'show-cause notice' alleges that he indulged in 'gross misconduct', there are reports that he had indulged in homosexuality -- in his private space and with the consent of his partner. How did the administration get the evidence? It reportedly sent a 'student' to do a 'sting operation', got video clips and gave it to the AMU administration which showed greatest alacrity in taking action. While suspending a proud and reputed faculty member, the AMU chose to ignore the fact that less than a year earlier the Delhi high curt had decriminalised homosexuality.
Insiders will reveal that the law of the land is immaterial for the university, and religious codes are the only relevant reference. A modern university funded by a secular democratic State is run not in accordance with the law, but according to the Sharia.
But it should be noted that the 'minority' university also persecutes its own minority. The victim professor carried various layers of minority identities which might have made him vulnerable. In addition to his alleged sexual orientation, he is a Hindu on a Muslim majority campus; Marathi-speaking among the Urdu-Hindi speaking; and he taught Marathi literature in the department of modern Indian languages, the faculty of arts. He was also the chairman (head) of the department. Due to the suspension, he will no longer be a member of the selection committee of the teachers which will be held in a week or so. Many people link his suspension with the 'politics of the selection committee'.

Full report here Rediff News

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