JNU has asked Romila Thapar, a renowned historian and a Padma Vibhushan awardee to submit her CV for the evaluation whether she can continue further as the emeritus professor. This move of JNU has gathered immense criticism in the university and social media.
According to the reports, JNU will set up a committee that will evaluate the CV and works of Romila Thapar and decide whether she can still continue as professor emerita. It has defended its move by stating varsity’s academic rules and regulations (Rule 32 (g)), added recently in March 2019. According to the rule the procedure of evaluation and reconsideration is mandatory for any emeritus professors who have attained 75 years of their age. Apart from Romila Thappar who is 87 years old, theoretical physicist R Rajaraman, 80 has also received the letter for the procedure of evaluation.
JNU is being criticized for this move from the political aspect since Romila Thapar is a vocal critic of NDA government. She said in an open letter published on the Indian Cultural Forum in April 2019 that hate politics was being used to divide the country, create fear and increasingly exclude more number of people from living as “full-fledged citizens”.
However, many people have criticized the “senselessness” of JNU’s rules to evaluate professor emerita. According to Times of India, Ajay Patnaik, a member of the Executive Council of the varsity till Friday, said that “ when the emeritus status was bestowed on these professors, it was for a lifetime. While this rule was updated recently, it should not apply to them.”
The JNU Teacher’s Association (JNUTA) said it was “an attempt to denigrate the teaching and learning traditions of JNU via its tasteless communications to professor Romila Thapar.”
Meanwhile, JNU has also released a statement saying, “The university is following its ordinance in letter and spirit in the appointments of professor emeritus at JNU. As per the ordinance, the university is required to write to all those who have attained the age of 75 years to know theiavailability and their willingness to continue their associaciation with the university.” It further said that the letter based on the ordinance was not directly for discontinuation but to review the works and contribution of the emeritus professors in the University, which is the right of every university.