Visva-Bharati Surviving on Ventilation, For Some, It's a Goose That Lays Golden Eggs: VC Bidyut Chakrabarty

Kolkata: Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty on Friday claimed the cash-starved university that is being used "as the goose which lays golden eggs" by many “is unwell” and “surviving on ventilation”.

Addressing a gathering on International Mother Language Day on the campus, the VC said a number of incidents in the recent past has sent a wrong message about the university to people across the world and came down heavily on those "trying to malign" the institute founded by Rabindranath Tagore.

"Many people are using the Visva-Bharai as the goose which lays golden eggs," he said adding that the university is going through a financial crisis and "is in ventilation".

The VC's outburst was aimed at the media, local traders and hoteliers as well as Left-leaning teachers, students and a section of those "who visit Rajghat wearing caps on Gandhiji's birthday".

The VC said, “I know many of you would make a video of my speech and make it viral. I don’t mind my publicity. However, I would like to request those doing that with bad intentions... please think again and I think application of mind is required here.”

Chakraborty said many people, including those setting up stalls during ‘Poush Mela’ and hotel owners, are exploiting the situation, but are unable to understand that if the situation worsens and the university is shut, all of them would land up in a precarious situation. He said even journalists are making money by sensationalising issues concerning the university.

He charged a section of the media for creating a controversy over rendering a Tagore song in Hindi on the campus on Thursday. A group of people said it is highly uncalled for to change Tagore's original lyrics in Hindi and render them at a prayer in Visva-Bharati.

The VC said he was hurt for being subjected "to verbal abuses" by some traders during a recent agitation over retaining stalls at the 'Poush Mela' which is organised by the university in December every year.

"Those who never leave an opportunity to criticise the VC preferred to keep quiet as it was he who was abused. They did not consider the fact that the VC's post is being maligned," he said.

Chakraborty said, "I deplore those who had doctored and distorted a video and upload it in social media for the sake of sensationalism." He was referring to a video, probably shot on January 7, in which a male voice is heard asking someone to teach a lesson to certain Left-leaning students.

Chakraborty observed that his detractors never speak out against "some people who pay tributes to personalities like Gandhiji on his birthday, talk about the simple lifestyle of the Father of the Nation. But they themselves do not believe in those words and are mired in corruption."

He, however, did not name anyone. Chakraborty said despite attempts made by some people who spread "false and distorted news" about the institute, Visva-Bharati will keep its pre-eminence intact.

Chakrabarty said, “Those who are from Bangladesh here should know how admission forms worth Rs 500 used to be sold in that country for Rs 5,000. This is a fact. We were humiliated, cases were filed against us, but we kept quiet. I think it’s our responsibility to come forward to save this world-class institution. But I don’t see anyone (interested in that). Where are the Left leaders and students? Where are the Right wing supporters?”

However, soon after, Chakrabarty was attacked for his statements. A leader of the SFI Visva-Bharati unit said, "He has been making such statements on a regular basis. It is unbecoming of a VC of Visva Bharati."

Indologist Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri said the language used by Chakrabarty were unacceptable. He said, “I have no words to describe the VC’s comments that came on ‘Bhasha Diwas’.”

The university has been in the news in recent months over a section of students and teachers’ opposition to the various moves of the VC. On January 8, Leftist students stalled a seminar on Citizenship (Amendment) Act where BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta was invited to deliver a lecture.

The university authorities have also banned teachers and non-teaching staffs from making any statement before the media. On January 26, the VC said the Indian Constitution was formed by a handful of 293 people and hence, its contents may not necessarily depict the entire nation’s views.

(With inputs from PTI)