Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has slammed the JNU over the latest controversy over noted historian Romila Thapar. For those who don’t know, the Jawaharlal Nehru University had recently asked the historian to submit her CV in connection with the assessment for her continuation as professor emerita. Social media erupted with angry reactions coming in from all quarters. Several people pointed out that Thapar’s contributions are already listed on the university’s site and the entire exercise is totally uncalled for. Tharoor took to Twitter to react on the row.
“JNU asking Romila Thapar to submit a cv to JNU to continue her Professor Emerita status is worse than an insult, it is a crime against the values & principles of education & respect for intellectual merit,” the Thiruvananthapuram lawmaker said on micro-blogging site.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association slammed called JNU administration’s move as "politically motivated". However, in its defence, the JNU released a statement and said that it was going by the set rules. "As per the ordinance, the university is required to write to all those who have attained the age of 75 years to know their availability and their willingness to continue their association with the university. Letters have been written only to those emeritus professors who fall in this category," the JNU statement said.
In July, the varsity's registrar wrote to Thapar and asked her to submit her CV, so that they can evaluate whether she should continue as professor emerita. The registrar's communication stems from a resolution of JNU's executive council on August 23, 2018, which revised the guidelines for designation as an emeritus professor.
Thapar specialises in early Indian history and has been a teacher and researcher for nearly six decades. She was professor at JNU from 1970 to 1991. In June, she was selected for membership of American Philosophical Society. Thapar was also awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize of the United States Library of Congress. Thapar was among the eminent citizens who moved a petition in the Supreme Court last year demanding the immediate release of a group of activists arrested for alleged Maoist links.