ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why India Needs JNU

A lifelong associate of Jawaharlal Nehru University reflects on what JNU means to higher education, research, and indeed what it means to the people of India.

This article is somewhat autobiographical, but it is unbiased. I served Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for more than three decades (1972–2004), from assistant professor to professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems (CSSS), and also as an administrative functionary from warden to rector (pro-vice chancellor). I was a direct witness to the horrifying situation of 1983, which resulted in a gherao of the then vice chancellor, rector and registrar for a couple of days. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister of India in 1983, and when all negotiations of the JNU authorities with the agitating students failed, she directed the then Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Jag Mohan, to intervene and take stern action. The university decided to have “no admission” in 1983–84. After this unfortunate inciden t of 1983, the event of  9 February 2016 is the second unfortunate happening in JNU.

In February 2003, I joined the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur (on leave from JNU), as its vice chancellor, though quite reluctantly. Due to my love for Rajasthan, being a native, and for my alma mater, where I studied and taught for a while (1961–70), I could not resist the temptation of being its vice chancellor.

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