Thursday, August 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Of Vice-Chancellors and politics

Recently in a handbook of information of one of the universities in the northern region, I was surprised to see eight seats reserved as a quota for the Chief Minister for admission to a course in information technology.

Now ministers openly sponsor Vice-Chancellors. VCs oblige them by inducting them as members of various academic bodies of the universities. Then they influence university decisions on admissions and recruitment of teachers. How can one expect the decisions of these bodies to be fair and based on merit?

It has become a vicious circle university professors licking the feet of the VC and the VC in turn of his sponsors keeping an eye on some reward.

The entire academics has been taken over either by bureaucrats or politicians. I find almost all teachers in universities divided into factions for their petty gains like becoming a warden, a Dean, a nominee to a selection committee, for getting a house, for getting adjusted their wards and so on.

A former VC of Punjabi University, Patiala, in an article written by him for The Tribune after a couple of days of the death of Mr Beant Singh, openly claimed that his appointment was done by the late CM because he was his friend.


In Haryana none of the VCs in four universities at the moment is appointed on merit. One has been a good soldier in the Army but that does not necessarily make him a good VC. Another was an OSD to a former Haryana CM. Yet another has been appointed because of his caste profile. None of the four VCs in the state have any experience of working as a teacher in any university in the country.

The Haryana CM has earlier appointed his election-in-charge to be the VC of GJU and thereafter he was elevated to the post of Chairman of a state selection commission. I think it is high time to curb this menace and as is put by the author that apolitical, talented, now sulking professors should join hands and stand up to every wrong before higher education completely goes to dogs.

D. P. SINGH MOR, Punjabi University, Patiala

PAU affairs

The viewpoints expressed by Capt Gill and Dr (Mrs) Dhir in their letters are biased against the PAU VC. Both have tried to instigate the faculty. Please restrain yourself from meddling in the PAU affairs. The decline in PAU started much earlier and it was at its peak when Dr Khem Singh Gill became the Vice-Chancellor and appointed Dr A.S. Khehra as Director of Research by rejecting the duely selected candidate, Dr B.S. Dhillon.

Later when Dr A.S. Khehra became the Vice-Chancellor, PAU suffered a lot during these years. Credit for bringing normalcy on the campus goes to Dr Kalkat. The present Vice-Chancellor is not corrupt, he is efficient, punctual and disciplined. He wants that the faculty should also follow these principles. Thus he has created more foes than friends for himself. Wait and see, he will be able to bring the lost glory to this institution once again.

K. K. SHARMA, Ludhiana


Farce at PAU: Dr Aulakh has risen to power using all possible ladders and connections. When he was selected as Dean, College of Agriculture, it was due to the influence of some well-placed relative.

Dr Aulakh then managed to get selected to the coveted position of Director Research. He bypassed a number of eminent scientists like Dr Balwant Singh, Dr M.S. Bajwa, Dr D.S. Dev and Dr Khepar. This started an era of politics and decline of this institution. Dr Aulakh got himself selected for a second term by again using his political connections, especially the Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dr Rattan Singh.

Unable to get Vice-Chancellorship by straight means, Dr Aulakh chose to pressurise the then VC, Dr Kalkat. The position for Pro-Vice-Chancellor was created overnight for Dr Aulakh. Almost immediately, Dr Kalkat announced his retirement plans.

Merit and seniority in selections have been the biggest casualties during Dr Aulakh's miserable rise. Now by abolishing the post of PVC, Dr Aulakh is at his dirty politics again.

PAU has been unable to make any significant contribution to Punjab agriculture in the past decade. The reason is obvious: poor leadership. Every scientist deserving or non-deserving knows that he can hope to get a promotion only if he first finds some political support. Universities were normally left alone by politics but with the start of the Aulakh saga, everything changed and anyone could dream of any position.

Over the years PAU has been thrown into chaos and scientists have become the biggest victims. People who do not want to work, would never speak out against the happenings. People who wanted to work, did not have time to speak out against people like Dr Aulakh. So the people who had a field day were the less than deserving ones, who knew now that they too could become Deans and Directors, and that only political connections mattered. The effects have started to show: financial crunch, petty fights and race for power. Science and agriculture have been left far behind in this decay.

What pains me the most is that the PAUTA is silent on all this and in fact, the leaders support Dr Aulakh's behaviour. He obliges them in every possible way and that helps them to remain in power. The previous PAUTA was too critical of the administration and the current PAUTA is overly obsequious. As long as Dr Aulakh and his coterie are allowed to carry on their dirty politics, PAU will rot. I am now ashamed that I was once associated with this university. We can now see the demise of the very last ounces of morality in the noblest profession of all: teaching. Woe to the scientists who let this happen to my beloved alma mater.

PROF S. J. MITTAL, (RETD), by e-mail

Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Now PAU does not need a Pro-Vice-Chancellor! I feel that there was never a time when PAU needed a PVC as much as it does now. With Dr Aulakh as VC, PAU has started its descent into the depths of corruption and rot. But since the position does not suit the VC, he got the post abolished. The reason given is that there is a case against the position. Only the very ignorant will believe this pathetic excuse.

Almost every position filled at PAU is challenged, and in fact, Dr Aulakh's own position as VC has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. So should the VC also not step down and wait for the verdict of the case against him?



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