JNU – Did you insult a Guru?

Incident of JNU having asked Dr Romila Thapar for her resume to review her Professor Emeritus status is at the least deplorable. In a tradition where we put our teachers even higher than God, the incident has left question marks on governments intentions

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गुरू गोविन्द दोऊ खड़े, काके लागूं पांय।
बलिहारी गुरू अपने गोविन्द दियो बताय।।

Above written couplet by Kabir gives a clear reason of why the article on this topic is tinged with lot of questions, few advice and slight anger. In a civilization where a teacher is revered higher than God, the controversy related to Dr Romila Thapar is unfortunate. I want to avoid being judgmental about any side of the controversy because the controversies these days do not tell the entire truth. My advice and demand from JNU is that they should come out clear from this controversy by publishing the facts and getting Dr Thapar to align with them publicly.

I am no fan of Dr Thapar. I feel scholars like hers have shaped the story of Indian History in away that has left lot of questions un-answered and which has also given people like me a world view where we have felt shame and humiliation regarding our past. This never mean that I will, in any way, support any humiliation of scholars of hers repute. She has interpreted the historical facts based on her knowledge, intellect and understanding and has followed the established scientific methodology.

She is one of the greatest scientists in the field of historical studies that India has ever had. She needs to be treated with dignity of a scholar. If I have to contest Dr Thapar’s views, I will invest my time, energy and intellect to build a similar capability and argue out my point of view.

India has a long tradition of intellectual debate (शाश्त्रार्थ). Let us be true to our Indian heritage and follow a path of debate than discord. Let us remember, Dhananda of Patliputra once disrespected a teacher (Chanakya) and we all know what happened to him in his lifetime. The great warrier, mahaveer, danveer Karna was not truthful to his teacher and he had to pay the price. A teacher is only a teacher and the views of teacher are followed or shunned. A true teacher does not follow an ideology; however, an ideology is inherited from a teacher’s teachings. Today, Dr Thapar’s views may be found in some political ideologies, but to blame that Dr Thapar follows some ideology is far from truth.

If JNU has a documented policy, wherein they follow this process of renewal of emeritus status, they should make it known to everyone and publish the current status of similar requests to other scholars.

I know that this process of having emeritus status to eminent scholars is followed by most of established universities and it is for the benefit of the university and the society to have great scholars continue to be associated with the universities. JNU should be clear that emeritus status is benefiting the university and not the scholar because scholars like Dr Romila Thapar does not have shortage of such honorary positions.

Writer’s Note:- In an age where print media is polarized, and no news can be trusted with the truth, my attempt is to safeguard a tradition of dissent. Learning through debate without discord and being able to agree to disagree with highest respect for each other. I would be delighted and enriched by your point of views.

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