JNU To Have School For Sanskrit and Indic Studies, Faculty Miffed

There is growing disenchantment among the JNU faculty over imposing decisions which they say are taken without “wider consultations”.

New Delhi: Elevation of the special center for Sanskrit into the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies has widened the ideological fault lines in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University.

There is growing disenchantment among the JNU faculty over imposing decisions which they say are taken without “wider consultations”. Alleging open violations of the decision-making processes, members of the Executive Council alleged that there are no wider consultations on matters of academic importance.

Recently, the Executive Council invited views over email after the School for Sanskrit and Indic Studies was approved. A Section of the JNU faculty has reacted sharply to this.

Professor and Executive Committee member Surajit Mazumdar, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning School of Social Sciences said, “The proposal was not exposed to wider consultations while pushing for the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies. The administration has made a mockery of the decision making processes of the university. Now, you will argue on the basis of a technicality, but in a university, a proposal was passed without discussion.”

Another EC member argued that “there was always a consideration of changing the center of Indian languages into a school of the Indian language, and Sanskrit could have been a part of that, but the current move is driven by ideological motives, which believes Sanskrit is more than a language, it is a philosophy”.

Professor Girish Nath Jha, Chairperson, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies confirmed that an EC meeting did not happen but comments were invited over mail for the new school.

When asked about the haste with which academic matters were pursued on campus, Professor Chintamani Mahapatra, who is Rector and a member of Academic Committee said, “Under normal circumstances, all procedures are followed but some instances need timely execution, certain issues require immediate action. There is nothing wrong with inviting views on email. Everyone cannot be available for the meeting.”

He added, “The plan is to elevate the center for Indian languages into the school. Sanskrit was not merged into it because some centers have infrastructure, staff, and the facility. It is a school for Sanskrit and Indic Studies, so it will not just emphasize on Sanskrit, but also on the philosophical traditions of India.”

The JNU administration claims that although there was a special center for Sanskrit earlier, it is now a school, thus providing it with more power to plan and propose programs to boost the study. This will give the school autonomy over academic and administrative departments.