Chandigarh, July 24, 2018
Punjab University is part of Punjab’s heritage and represents the liberal ethos and culture of Punjab in the world of academia. It’s Senate, Syndicate and Vice Chancellors have always guarded the rich heritage and maintained appropriate balance, keeping in mind the region’s aspirations. Therefore the appointment of all previous VCs was made keeping in view the sensitivity of Punjabis.
It is quite disturbing to learn that the new Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Professor Raj Kumar is an RSS man from Banaras Hindu University. It sounds bizarre that the selection committee did not find even one Professor from the Punjab University or any other University of Punjab, worthy to be the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University despite having illustrious academic careers. It certainly has a poignant reflection on the entire academia of Punjab. The Vice President of India in the capacity of the Chancellor of the Panjab University has no right to demean the academic excellence of the teaching fraternity of Punjab, who are serving in their respective area of expertise from decades; in the variety of the institutions of higher learning.
The new VC Prof. Raj Kumar has no connect with the region of Punjab and he never ever served in Panjab University, in any capacity. It is all the more intriguing that the entire process of selecting the VC for Panjab University was marred with hidebound ideological mindset of the RSS. The search committee itself was stuffed with RSS/BJP appointed/ affiliated persons. It is strange enough that out of about 160 applicants, only 9 were shortlisted and all the shortlisted professors had RSS/BJP connections. It is another extreme of intellectual dishonesty that neither in search committee, nor among the candidates, a single person belonged to minorities, schedule casts or schedule tribes. It is shocking to my ethics that BJP president from Chandigarh MR. Sanjay Tandon along with other RSS persons thronged to the office of the VC, unrestrainedly supervised the joining of the new VC Prof. Raj Kumar. This kind of reprehensible and rasping presence of BJP-RSS combine has certainly blemished the intellectual impeccability of the new Vice Chancellor and also sullied the image of the oldest secular University of India.
This out-and-out attempt to ‘saffronise’ Panjab University and change its secular character as per the authoritarian cliché of the RSS shall be resisted at every level. The appointment of the new Vice Chancellor has posed a big question mark on the future of the Panjab University.
It is pertinent to mention here that The PU has more than 180 affiliated colleges from Punjab and only 12 from Chandigarh. In view of these amazing realities the Chancellorship of the Panjab University should vest with the Governor of Punjab and Punjab Government should have decisive role in the selection of the VC of Panjab University. With the appointment of Prof. Raj Kumar, the academic circles are apprehensive that RSS ideology is going to be imposed covertly or overtly through all the future appointments and the functioning of the university and the affiliate colleges would soon be stained by with the RSS’s ideological blend; as each selection committee has a VC nominee.
In this scenario, I would urge upon all the academicians and the students of PU and affiliated colleges to keep their eyes wide open to save the secular character of the university. We also warn the new incumbent that if such an effort is made, it will meet stiff opposition from all Punjabis who are concerned with the heritage of this great institution. Each single sinister move of RSS, through the office of the VC Panjab University, shall be exposed thoroughly with tough resistant at every level.