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India: Vice-Chancellor’s ’Tank’ Talk - Statement by Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Union

25 July

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by JNUTA 2017-2018

The JNUTA is amused by the JNU VC’s earnest desire that a tank be rolled onto JNU campus. It is surprising that Prof. Jagadesh Kumar can only be inspired to patriotism upon beholding instruments of war. This seems to be only a personal affliction, since the rest of the JNU community does not need these visual aids to feel love and concern for this land, its environment and all its peoples, whether in the armed services or elsewhere.

The JNUTA also hopes that the JNU VC will understand that developing what he believes is the correct affective attachment towards the Indian Army is not part of his job description. JNU cannot be made into a theatre of war. His statutory role is one of "maintaining and promoting the efficiency and good order of the University" and of upholding the JNU Act and Statutes.

Unfortunately, by these standards, the JNU VC has spectacularly failed — he and his team have effectively shut down admissions to JNU’s research programmes, academic expression is constantly being threatened or attacked, every single statutory institution has been perverted, and a punitive atmosphere completely inimical to the pursuit of knowledge and truth is being fostered.

It is bad enough that Vice Chancellors are being made to comply with the current Government’s requirements to constantly demonstrate love of country, through physical symbols and staged events. But for a Vice Chancellor to eagerly take the lead in turning the campus into a parade ground is a worrying sign of the debilitating, and distinctly anti-intellectual effects, of long years in an obedience school. The University is neither a boot camp nor a place of worship, and the Vice Chancellor would do well to distinguish between each of these institutional spaces.

The JNUTA will not be distracted from its commitment to, and concern about, the serious academic and administrative issues which confront this acclaimed university today.

Sd/-

Ayesha Kidwai Pradeep Shinde

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[SEE ALSO:

Stop the tank: JNU’s VC peddles a dangerous idea. University must not succumb to pervasive militarisation that threatens debate. (Editorial, The Indian Express, July 25, 2017) http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/jnu-campus-army-tank-vice-chancellor-4765657/ ]

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