Gossips are rife in the campus about the new VC! Earlier, there were rumours of his having connections with the infamous half-khaki-pants. The fact that he hails from the neighbouring jewel-on-the-crown institute, does not make it any more appealing. There has always been a perceivable sense of animosity—differences in perspectives and beliefs between the Sciences and the Humanities, in the country; thankfully most of them have remained limited to debates and war-of-words within the academic circles.
With increasing disturbances being experienced in Universities throughout the country, the repercussions of which have been felt in JNU too, the arrival of the new VC could not have been at a more unfortunate time. The Lyngdoh Commission, onslaughts of the Saffron Brigade, Non-NET Fellowship, WTO-GATS deal and fear of Privatization of education, efforts being made to curb student’s politics, rising instances of dictatorialship, discrimination and intolerance—all of these prophesy turbulence ahead.
Already the various departments and sections of the University have witnessed changes in the management and work procedure. There is a marked efficiency and meticulousness that can be observed everywhere. A visit to the Health Centre revealed that from now on, the medical prescription by the Doctor will be approved, noted and stamped by an attendant, before the medicines are issued. In the Scholarship Section of the Administrative Building, some forty five scholarship forms are pending signatures, due to some confusion on the HRA guidelines. On account of which, a new Committee has been formed, which will look into the matter and submit its recommendations by the end of this week. It is expected that the suggestions of the Committee will help in the formulation of a properly devised procedure for applying for HRA. One wonders, in absence of clear guidelines, how was the University managing till now? Did no one before this ever apply for an HRA? Last month, a notice was issued by the Administration through the different Centres to all students/scholars/researchers availing any scholarship/fellowship to furnish fresh details of their scholarship/fellowship, bank account number, date of joining the University, date of applying for the funds, etc. The semi/partially/seasonally functional Clubs of JNU have sprung into action, fearing inspection by the new VC.
Oh! While at the Admin Block, your humble writer also managed to overhear something about a student who has threatened the Administration to commit suicide if the management does not release his scholarship fund long overdue. Used to the delay and languor of the occupants of the impressive “Pink Building,” the writer was surprised to see the staff members in a flurry of activity rushing to and fro and answering calls to resolve the issue with the student!
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” said the English poet Shelley. He staunchly believed in the indomitable spirit of the humankind against any forms of repression. The question is which way will the wind blow this time?
The writer is a scholar at JNU and works for The Informer. The views expressed are personal. For any comments please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.