A new controversial chapter is opening at the gates of Delhi University. Recently, the University approved the list of names for the new Delhi University colleges which includes Hindutva icon V.D. Savarkar and late BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
The varsity is opening up two new colleges. The first college will open in South Delhi’s Bhati village while the second college will be set up in outer Delhi’s Raushanpura near the Najafgarh village.
Apart from these two colleges, four facilitation centres will be started as well. Two of which will be established in the campuses of the new colleges only. The other two will be set up in North Delhi’s Shahabad Dairy and in the East Delhi area. Apart from these colleges and centres, a new law campus is being planned for East Delhi.
The list of personalities and the proposal to vest the Vice-Chancellor with the absolute authority to name new institutions has triggered a new controversy. Moreover, several academics stated that it was aimed at pleasing the government of the day.
Other names like the first home minister of the country, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, first CM of Delhi Chaudhary Brahm Prakash, are also on the list of new names. Moreover, other names like the famous Dalit leader Jyotiba Bai Phule, has been approved by the council.
DU VC Prof. PC Joshi confirms names for new colleges, centres
Prof. PC Joshi, Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi, has shown a green signal to the names. As per India Today, he said, “All the names which have been cleared are being proposed on the basis of their contribution to the society. Academic Council has cleared these names following the due process.”
In addition to that, the vice-chancellor has also justified the choice of names that have been considered for the nomenclature. On VD Savarkar’s name which remained in political controversies earlier as well, Prof. Joshi clarified, “He was a well-known freedom fighter and if you will go to Andaman and Nicobar, the cellular jail is still there where he had been kept for years. Even I went there and realized about his contribution in the freedom struggle.”
On the name of other BJP leaders, he said, “All of them made contributions for the country. Also, there are many others whose names are there on the list like Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, first CM of Delhi Chaudhary Brahm Prakash and famous Dalit leader Jyotiba Bai Phule. Hence, we tried our best to be inclusive. Now after it has been cleared by the academic council, we will put it before the Executive Council (EC) of the University for final approval.”
DU Academic Council disapproves these names
Even after approval from the vice-chancellor, many executives of the University are not ready to accept names like VD Savarkar.
DU Executive Council, Rajesh Jha, told that “Delhi University administration has kept the Academic Council members in dark and when they were discussing all-important four-year undergraduate programme then only this proposal of nomenclature was being brought before the council and passed without any debate. But we will oppose this move in Executive Council.”
“This list is politically biased. It seems it has been prepared to appease the ruling party of the day,” he added.
Also, he questioned the vesting of absolute naming powers with the VC. “Usually, the names are chosen (after discussion) on the basis of local conditions, the connections the personalities had to the area, and suggestions received from funding agencies such as the Delhi government,” Jha said. “But a fixed list is unprecedented. Has the government got any fixed list for naming development projects?”
Santosh Kumar Rai, a History Professor, said that the naming of institutions had always been tied to political preferences. “Naming is always a political act…. However, it’s always history that judges the personalities, and the justification and symbolism associated with the naming of institutions,” Rai said.
To read about the University’s first merit list, click here