Economist Amit Bhaduri has resigned as professor emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University to protest against recent developments on the campus, PTI reported on Monday. An emeritus position is an honour conferred by the university on a retired professor in appreciation of their past work.
In a letter to Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, Bhaduri said the administration is “throttling” the free and lively atmosphere of debate that the university is known for. “It pains me but I feel it would be immoral on my part without registering my protest to remain a silent observer in this larger, sinister scheme of throttling dissent which is unfolding now at the university,” he said. “I am protesting in the only way which I find is open to me. I am giving up my emeritus professorship at JNU.”
He referred to his long-standing association with JNU, which started in 1973, and highlighted the difference in current times. “What is different now is not only incompetence of handling of situations by the authorities, but a deliberate attempt to throttle the free, and lively atmosphere of debate and discussion for which JNU was known all over the country,” the economist said. “This was a matter of pride for its faculty as well as its students that they were exposed to a whole range of ideas which was something that did not happen anywhere else in India, even I would say from experience, in very few academic institutions in the world.”
He accused Kumar of playing a “pivotal part” in the attempt to destroy freedom of expression. “You seem determined on imprinting your administration’s narrow-minded world view, and shut all other windows of ideas to the students,” Bhaduri added.
He expressed hope that returning the honour will send the right message to the JNU administration.
Last week, JNU professor CP Chandrasekhar had resigned from a government panel set up to review India’s economic statistical data. He had said that he lost faith in the government after the violence that erupted in the campus on January 5. The attack had left 34 students and teachers injured.