Monday, May 14, 2007

Protest against the outrage at M.S. University, Baroda


I'm sure you have heard about the outrage perpetrated by the chauvinistic goons in the Fine Arts Faculty at M.S. University, Baroda. This outrage has been compounded by an even bigger one in which art student Chandra Mohan has been arrested (and has been held without bail for over four days now), and Dean Shivaji Panikker of Fine Arts Faculty, who spoke up against the arrest and the censorship it represents, has been placed under suspension. The Fine Arts Faculty Blog has updates on these horrible events.

Peter Griffin has post about the "simultaneous all-India protest against the arrest of an art student and suspension of the dean of M S University." It is scheduled for today (14.5.2007) at 6:00 p.m.

In Bangalore, the protest is going to be on M.G. Road, opposite the Gandhi Statue. Go to Peter's post for the details about your city/town.

14 Comments:

  1. Wanderer said...

    The turn of events has been shameful in this case, especially with the police itself breaking the law (entering an academic institution) at the behest of a politician.

    When events like these occur, they make you realize how easily in our country can fundamentalism take everything else hostage....

  2. Anonymous said...

    THE DEATH THROES OF MSU?

    Once a reputed centre of tertiary education with countless number of alumni from all faculties strewn across the world, is now a pariah. It is on the verge of being disowned not only by the UGC, but shunned by past students and teachers who are shocked and shamed at the latest debacle unfolding globally, unfortunately for university administrators, across the internet. It is bad enough to witness the academic demise of one’s alma mater across the last two decades, but watching political fanaticism mocking the very tenets of democracy, of which all Indians are supposedly proud of, is positively blood curdling.

    The university is an institution, which needs to be properly administered and protected by those empowered to do so, including the Vice Chancellor, Syndicate/Senate Members, etc. Instead we are witnessing a debacle where the highest authority turns on his institute, sanctioning the violation of free expression and education on the flimsy excuse of immorality, that too in a land steeped and proud of its heritage such as Khajurao, Kama Sutra and the likes. Vibrant Gujarat indeed!!! The Mahatma and Sardar Patel would most certainly cringe wherever they in their heavenly abodes. The question begs to be asked whether the institute should shelter and tolerate these people. Therein lies the root of evil that has been plaguing MSU over the last few decades. Instead of a focus on academic excellence, mediocrity in all spheres has ruled the roost. Academic excellence dipped, national grants disappeared, dependence on the state government increased, thus allowing any ruling party to exert extraordinary influence on the university’s governance, including the appointment of vice chancellors of their choice, irrespective of their credentials and standing, and most importantly their ability to enhance the organisation’s stature. We have a situation where syndicate/senate members are either political stooges or have been muzzled to rubber-stamp critical decisions that could undermine the university’s credibility and standing. There used to be a time when academic luminaries were syndicate/senate members, but not any more, as political inclination is a preferable prerequisite.

    More disturbing is the rise in religious political fanaticism in what should be the tranquil surroundings of a flourishing university. Ishwar, Allah, Ram, does it really matter where education is concerned. One suspects that there is more to just immorality than meets the eye about the current fracas.

    Students, teachers, deans of faculties, syndicate/senate members, the PVC and VC are all party for the above debacle which represents some of the murkiest depths an educational organization can dip to. MSU is now a laughing stock. One used to take pride in being a MSU degree holder. Not any more, thanks to a crescendo of mediocrity, breeding acceptance of all that is anathema to true democracy, freedom of expression and education. The manner in which this incident has unfolded reminds us of the Taleban in Afghanistan. Are we fostering and encouraging our own “talebans’ who run amuck protecting the society’s ‘morals’, while flagrantly thumbing their noses at fundamental societal rights and law? If this is so, are we encouraging a ‘superior race’ (shades of Nazism) who are irreproachable and not answerable to common law and societal norms.

    Citizens of Baroda, students and teachers of MSU, show some spine and courage and stand up for all that is fair, truthful, legal and most importantly, what is necessary to reverse this downward vortex of destruction the organization is speeding through. March through the streets, express your feelings to the VC, syndicate/senate members, harangue the State Education Minister and Chief Minister, clog the internet and daily press. Remember, state elections are approaching and in 1974, MSU students were at the forefront of overthrowing the then state government. We are a proud state and have been prosperous too, but this needs to be bolstered by a robust educational system. While MSU is in the news, other universities in Gujarat will certainly have their own horror stories to tell. Mediocrity is like a delicate exotic fruit, one does pay dearly for scarcity. Why should Gujarat put up with mediocrity, as it breeds all sorts of evils.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Hello Professor
    You people did not talk about danish cartoon controversy, in which people were actually killed, back then you guys were saying it is the mistake of teh person who drew, now when it comes to hindusism or christianity -and remeber no violence/bloodshed happenend in baroda-you talk as if you are the moral authority
    Chup kar yaar ; aur jaake research paper likh, in sab mamlon se door raho aur apna kaam(research) achi tarike se karo, is blog pe jitna time spend karte ho usko research pe karo to you can publish more papers
    regards
    all the best

  4. Anonymous said...

    The MS University has fallen on bad days thanks to a VC and a PVC who behave like nincompoops and fall over backwards to please some party goons.

  5. Anonymous said...

    these are fascists in the disguise of hindutva revivalists. they have stopped promotions, appointments to headships of departments in MSU unless the individuals exhibit an explicit slavish attitude.
    the days of the Maharaja and people like Prof. Aurobindo Ghosh, K.M.Munshi and others of this kind are irretrievably gone

  6. Bombat Flyer said...

    One of the paintings showed a child pushing its way out of a woman's vagina and was titled "Durga Mata".

  7. kuraL said...

    Professor Abi you are a first rate hypocrite. You were silent when the AP Assembly passed a resolution condemning Jyllands Posten and the Danish government for the Mohammad cartoons. You were silent when the AP government and PR Das Munshi ordered the Da Vinci Code movie banned and when Congress goons trashed movie halls that screened the "Code" following a court order. You are silent about the Indian government's dragging its feet over permanent residence visa to Taslima Nasreen. Your fulminations carry no sincerity.

  8. kuraL said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  9. mark fields said...

    the question is that a political party activist barges into the jurisdiction of an august academic institution and orders the arrest of a student. why did he not castigate the authorities? The VC, the PVC....??
    the academic community of MSU must file a Public Interest Litigation against unwarranted intrusions of this kind.

  10. kuraL said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  11. Abi said...

    kuraL: I have to ask you to stop your abusive comments -- even those against other anonymous commenters. You don't leave me any choice but to delete your comments.

    If you cannot make your point without being abusive, I request that you do that on your own blog. Thank you.

  12. kuraL said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  13. Abi said...

    kuraL: Your first comment stands, so stop fuming. Your subsequent comments were removed because of they were abusive to people who don't agree with you. Yes, this is my blog, and I decide what is admissible.

    If you have something new to say, and if you are willing to tone your rhetoric down, you are welcome here.

    Otherwise, take your abusive comments elsewhere -- better yet, take them to your own blog.

  14. kuraL said...

    Prof Abi it is hard to “tone down rhetoric” before a hypocrite. Read this post every time to remind yourself how far you are from what you profess. It would be OK if you were a journalist or some chatterati. You are a person of learning hence you are obliged to uphold the highest standards of fairness. This post on this thread is about you and your standards of fairness. As long as you ignore this question I will continue to post on this thread. This is your blog. You can hit the delete button as many times as you want to. But there is no delete button to quell your own self.