Published: 13th November 2018
JNUSU stages protest against SSS's Dean Pradipta Choudhury who manhandled another faculty member
The protestors who demanded the resignation of the Dean also alleged that he rarely comes to office and never meets students
The JNU Students Union staged a protest at the University's School of Social Sciences (SSS), seeking the resignation of its Dean Pradipta K Chaudhury, who had allegedly verbally abused and manhandled a faculty during the Teachers' Orientation programme last month. In a video that went viral among the students and faculty of JNU a few weeks ago, Chaudhury is heard calling a participant in the lecture 'Badtameez' (which translates to disrespectful). When a few others raised their voice against it, Chaudhury is seen trying to physically evict one of them from the lecture hall.
Watch the entire video here:
Chaudhury's appointment as the Dean of the School of Social Sciences earlier last year was met with criticism from a section of the faculty and students, as he was only the sixth in line in terms of seniority. "Chaudhury was appointed surpassing five seniors. The faculty and the students were always against this," says Deepali Aparajita, a PhD Scholar in the SSS and Secretary of the SFI's JNU Unit "He is not coming to the office at all even after several complaints. Despite his unavailability, there is no response from the administration," she alleges.
Chaudhury is an alumnus of Ravenshaw University and JNU itself. He worked with the University of Hyderabad till 1993 before taking up an Associate Professor's position at JNU. His profile states that his major areas of research include: Political Economy of Caste in India, Interactions between Economic, Political and Social Processes in India since 1870.
Deepali also alleges that since the Dean is unavailable most of the time, there has been a delay in academic processes in the school. "A dean must look into all issues in a particular school. But that is not the case here. We've had an acute water crisis for weeks and the Dean didn't care about this. Also, a lot of fellowship applications have been pending for months," she says. The students were also unhappy about a circular that Chaudhury had recently issued, which prohibited them from using the reading room over the weekend.
The protesting students add that the dean who is mandated to conduct two Board of Studies meeting in an academic year conducted only one. This meeting was held during the summer vacations, to the inconvenience of the other members.
We also reached out to Atul Sood, President, JNUTA, who also raised concerns about the issue. "More than 50 members have submitted a letter raising a large number of issues to be discussed in the Board of Studies meeting. There is an anguish expressed by nearly 2/3rd of the members, since it affects the academic activity. But these are not listed on the agenda and we have an issue with it," he says.
He also says that since the required number of meetings were not held there was a delay in a lot of academic processes. "Many new courses have not been approved. The manner in which the vivas and entrance examinations are conducted is also not discussed," says Sood, who also adds that the JNUTA is questioning the functioning of the Dean's office and that they want the arbitrariness of decision making to be stopped and the centrality of centres to the functioning of the school to be restored.
The student protesters also demand the rejection of online MCQ Exam for JNUEE, installation of scanning machines in all three buildings of SSS, functioning reading rooms in all centres of SSS and an immediate release of funds for the SSS Journal.
Calls made to Chaudhury and a mail soliciting a response from him went unanswered.