A VC with right connections

I appreciate your concern for the autonomy of the universities and high academic standards in the centres of higher learning (Editorial, “Hands off varsities”, April 3). However, the editorial doesn’t take into account specificities of the situation obtaining in our Punjabi University, Patiala.

We have a Vice-Chancellor who had no other merit for the post than right political connections. He openly boasts of not having read a single book after clearing his competitive examination and downing five-six Patiala Shahi pegs and remaining steady. One can well imagine the sort of academic leadership expected of such a person.

University autonomy does not mean making it the centre of a particular political party and the recruitment branch at the instance of the previous political bosses. The university functioned as the extension counter of the Palace. Hundreds of backdoor and ad hoc recruitments were made in the university. Even in regular selection, there are many instances of ignoring the meritorious to accommodate the favoured ones. All this can be brought to light if a thorough inquiry is ordered. A memorandum to this effect has already been submitted to the government.

I agree that universities should be insulated from party politics and allowed to promote research and standard of teaching. Unfortunately, however, this is no more the case in Punjabi University, Patiala. Mr Boparai has been canvassing for a particular political party, trying to promote its interest, seeking ticket of this party for his wife. As a reward for this, he got extension in his term three months before the completion of his first term.

A search committee of high academics headed by Dr Bamba was set up by the previous government and without waiting for its recommendation Mr Boparai, a non-academician, landed in our university.

There is a difference between general administration and academic administration. A person well groomed in academics is better equipped to deal with the sensitive material, not to treat them as outlaws or criminals but handle them sympathetically as national assets. Mr Boparai, in conformity with his training, has been running the institution as a police chief and not as an academic leader. The faculty needs to be encouraged and provided leadership whereas he has tried to corrupt it by offering non-academic positions and privileges to win them over to his side.

University autonomy is not only for the Vice-Chancellor but also for the students, employees and faculty as well. In our university, it was construed to be only for the Vice-Chancellor at the cost of the institution in general. If the Vice-Chancellor chooses to conduct himself as a spokesperson of a political party, then, he should be ready for the consequences of such a position.

Prof MANJIT SINGH,Convener, Joint Action Committee, Punjabi University, Patiala


A role model

Lucknow University Vice-Chacellor Dr R.P. Singh’s sketch of professional achievements, career graph, righteous steadfastness and unyielding grit as delineated by Jangveer Singh (March 27) is highly inspiring in the light of indiscipline and lawlessness in most universities and educational institutions.

Dr Singh’s glaring example can encourage and embolden those who have the desire to uproot corruption from society irrespective of its facet and dimension. But it is sad that the majority play a safe and compromising innings with no guts to grapple with the challenges.

Dr Singh is sure to make a niche in the annals of higher education. Others too can serve the cause by emulating him.

C.L. ARORA, Ferozepore City


CD exposes BJP’s colours

The editorial “Communal disk: CD shows BJP’s bankruptcy of ideas” (April 11) rightly cautions the masses about the BJP’s purpose of releasing a communal CD just before the elections in Uttar Pradesh and its futile efforts to divide the country on communal lines.

It would be difficult for one to believe that BJP president L.K. Advani was ignorant about the contents of the CD. The party leaders’ attempt to disown it at this stage after widespread criticism is only a face-saving tactic. The voters of the state are intelligent enough to readbetween the lines.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |