Published: 28th July 2019
English DU prof loses job for studying subject only as allied, says dept flouting rules
Kumar got his PhD from the Centre of Linguistics in Translation Studies and then applied to the DU English department Adhoc panel in order to be eligible to apply in DU affiliated colleges
After teaching for three years as an English professor at PGDAV College, affiliated to Delhi University, Dharmaraj Kumar was surprised to find that his name did not figure in the approved list of DU's Ad-hoc panel in 2018. He would only be allowed to teach in a DU affiliated college if his name was on the panel, so now without his name there, Kumar pretty much didn't have a job. He then ran pillar to post trying to set things rights only to find that in 2019 again, his name didn't figure.
Kumar, who hails from Patna, got his PhD from the Centre of Linguistics in Translation Studies and then applied to the DU English department's Ad-hoc panel in order to be eligible to apply in DU affiliated colleges. He was selected and began to apply to different colleges. He got a job at PGDAV College in August 2015 and had been working there as an English professor. In 2016, his name went missing from the panel, "I told them my name had been removed and they immediately put it back. I was told that because English was my allied subject my name had been removed," he said. Things were peaceful in 2017, but trouble cropped up again the very next year.
In 2018, his name was removed again. "The other departments don't have such an issue, professors who have studied allied subjects are also allowed to teach the subject. Here, in the English department suddenly they're saying I cannot teach because it's an allied subject," he said. Kumar's name did not figure in the Adhoc 2018-2019 list released on June 29. It did not figure in the revised list released on July 3 either or the first and second addendum corrigendum. Kumar's name only appears in Addendum 3, released on July 20.
Kumar said he made several representations, wrote letters, met people and finally after continuous efforts, his name was put back on the panel, "I showed that the UGC Gazette rules and my name was included again."
When the same thing happened this year, he could do nothing. "They can not arbitrarily take decisions like this."
When we got in touch with the English Department of Delhi University, an official said that the department decides the qualifications from time to time. "This time for the ad hoc position in English is English in MA and NET," he said.
Today, Kumar does not have a job but he says that this is much bigger than the fact that he has lost his job. "It's an extremely regressive move, to implement this means that we are discouraging teachers who have diverse backgrounds. If DU does this, then all other smaller Universities will follow suit because they will now be scared to hire teachers who have studied some other subject, but have enough knowledge. This is illegal and the eligibility criteria rules are being flouted. So this is a long fight and it is not just about me, this is about the system of education," Kumar points out.
When Kumar took to social media to talk about the issue (a post on Facebook), DU sent him a notice for defaming the department, "Are they the Modi government that I'm not allowed to criticise? How are they so powerful that they don't allow people to criticise them. They claim to be progressive, is this what they refer to? Have I not been defamed? I had a job for three years and now suddenly I don't. Is this not humiliating to me?"
His anger is understandable. "We cannot let the department succeed in implementing such a standard," he said determinedly.