The Telegraph reported that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) registrar Pramod Kumar has written to prominent historian Romila Thapar demanding she submits her resume to the university for evaluation. Eighty-seven-year-old Thapar is a professor emerita at the university and Kumar reportedly informed her that a ‘university-appointed committee’ will evaluate her resume to determine if she should continue to hold the position.
The university’s move is especially ironic since several new appointments made by the present administration in JNU have been charged with plagiarism. Wirehad reported in April last year that two new recruits in the faculty who had been nominated to head important decision-making bodies in the university had been found guilty of plagiarism. The article named six professors who had reportedly indulged in plagiarism. In a follow-up investigation, HuffPost India found that another four professors, appointed by the current administration, have been accused of plagiarism.
Despite reports in the media and protests by students, the JNU administration refused to take action against the accused.
JNU student’s union president R Balaji told HuffPost India that he had filed two complaints seeking a probe into the plagiarism charges with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC). “No action has been taken against the accused,” he said.
However, they seem to have sought Thapar’s resume to decide if she is worthy of holding a prestigious position in the university.
A professor speaking on condition of anonymity told The Telegraph that the move was ‘unprecedented’ and ‘politically motivated’ since a professor emerita holds the position for life. Thapar is a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi government and people pointed out on social media that the move seems to be retaliation on that account.
On Twitter, people roasted JNU’s management for questioning Thapar’s credentials.
The Citizen reports that Thapar has responded to the administration’s demands questioning them on how they intend to evaluate her. “In her response to the registrar, Thapar has reminded the university administration that they should be aware of what it means to confer an emeritus professorship, as has been explained above. Furthermore, she has quite rightly asked, what exactly is the committee going to assess and how?” the report states.