Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University Homi K Bhabha has written to JNU Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, saying he has resorted to “criminalisation of dissent” leading to widespread misrepresentation of the actions of students.
“Instead of engaging with the diversity of opinion expressed by your own students and faculty, the members of your very own community, you have resorted to criminalisation of dissent. This has led to widespread misrepresentation of the actions and opinions of various members of the student body,” Bhabha said in an email to VC.
The Padmabhushan awardee, one of the important figures in contemporary postcolonial studies, has also asserted that the event which should have been a “passionate” and “well-informed” debate on campus has turned into an ugly media spectacle of no conceivable value to the JNU community.
“I implore the senior administration of JNU to play a leading role in establishing a constructive and productive mode of interaction with the student body.
“Yours is an institution with a great unblemished history, and today the eyes of the world are vigilantly watching for you to recover the trust of your students and faculty, and return JNU to its rightful place amongst the most enlightened academic institutions in the world,” he added.
Jawaharlal Nehru University is caught in a row over an event in the campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, where “anti-national” slogans were alleged to have been raised. The varsity’s students union president Kanhaiya Kumar, is in judicial custody in a sedition case in connection with the February 9 event.
Various foreign scholars have been conveying to the VC their disappointment at shock at the turn of events at the varsity.
Harvard University Professor Arthur Kleinman had yesterday advised JNU Vice Chancellor to stand up against government pressure, warning him failure to do so will “redound” on JNU in the most negative way.