Time to punish black sheep in universities

Your editorial "Teachers as predators" (Feb 11) has rightly projected the grim scenario of research because of the harassment by the so-called black sheep in the teaching community. Likeminded dons team together for a common cause to discourage and demoralise the budding talent from blossoming. They do not even hesitate to jump the respectable limits of decency and decorum, their modus operandi being sexual harassment, threatening, reprimanding, academic degradation and numerous other innovative tactics.

Ms Puneeta Verma’s case is not the only of its kind. University corridors are replete with innumerable incidents. The only difference in this case is the intervention of the Vice-Chancellor of another prestigious university leading to the suspension of the teacher guide concerned. But what if the bigwigs also join hands with such teacher guides and shield the guilty, pressurise the aggrieved student to strike a compromise with the tormentor so that the university does not get opprobrium?

Many similar cases are hushed up. Two such cases of sexual harassment in GND University appeared in these columns a few years back.




If this is the state of affairs, what protection the law would provide to the students when those at the helm become party to such activities?

Such black sheep should outrightly be excommunicated from the teaching community and whoever parties with them should also not be spared. Teachers should be role models and religiously follow some moral code of conduct and pledge to treat the students as their own children. Only then can some improvement in our education system be visualised.

Arshita, GND University, Amritsar


The editorial “Teachers as predators” was timely. Such teachers whom you have rightly described as “black sheep” are a slur on the entire teaching community as well as society. You have also rightly recalled the befitting sack of Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, who had promoted a coterie of such moral delinquents.

It is necessary to cleanse Punjabi University of such elements for restoring people’s confidence in the institutions of higher learning. Putting such people behind bars will go a long way in providing protection to hapless girl students and researchers.

Dr Arun Sapra, Patiala

Why misuse public funds?

Apropos of your editorial “Elections Shining” (Feb 10), this campaign shows the BJP, specially the Prime Minister, in a poor light. How could a statesman like Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee succumb to this pressure from the party? It's a pity that he has publicly supported the move while reacting to the observations of the new Chief Election Commissioner, Mr T.S. Krishna Murthy.

People on whom this propaganda blitzkrieg is focused are already aware of the performance of the NDA government because they keep abreast of the day-to-day happenings in the country through the alert and vigilant media. So why misuse the taxpayers’ hard-earned money on this futile exercise when millions in the country do not get even a square meal a day and drinking water?

If the government is so confident about its so-called achievements and the “feel good” atmosphere it has generated, where is the need for such a propaganda at public expense, which is morally untenable? The dissolution of Parliament eight months before its expiry was equally unethical. It is hoped the ruling party will follow the spirit of Mr Krishna Murthy’s advice and stop this gimmick.

S.S. Chana, IFS (retd) Ludhiana

Talented singer

The exceptionally talented Malika Pukhraj, who died recently, will be remembered for her abiding faith in secularism. Many are unaware that when she was a singer in the court of Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir, Malika Pukhraj soulfully rendered bhajans in the temple there despite being a Muslim.

Indeed, music transcends all barriers.


A great teacher

With the death of Mr U.S. Parmar, HES (retd), Himachal Pradesh has lost a reputed educationist. He inculcated a sense of discipline and devotion to duty in his students. A remarkable feature of his personality is that he was loved even by those who often differed with him on matters of policy. Parmar was known for his frank and fearless views.


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