Recently, a history research scholar from the University of Hyderabad, who is also a member of the national executive council of ABVP and ex-president of ABVP-HCU, was suspended for one year by the administration, with the HCU admin also imposing a fine of ₹30,000. Mr Kaluram Palsania (Karan Palsania) on facebook abused Prof. K. Laxminarayana and challenged his credentials without any evidence. He used terms such as ‘bastard’ for asking an optional question in end semester paper of ‘Economics of Education’ paper. Prof. Laxminarayana compliant and with his continued follow up and building pressure from progressive student groups HCU admin pushed to take strong action against Mr KP. The kind of punishment can be seen as an attempt from admin to set an example for the student community.
There are several ways to engage in academic discourse. For instance, one incident is quite discussed in social science building by many, in a one of the sociology exam, prof. Hargopal had asked a question over a comparative study of dictatorship or fascism and democracy. A student chooses to defend dictatorship logically with an argument of speeding up of policy formation and implementation, while democracy suffers from policy paralysis. Prof. Hargopal appreciated his efforts also guided him how it is possible to criticise democracy while being in that system and however, it is near impossible to do it in other case. But, KP chose a worst possible option, abuse and verbal assault.
This incident raises few questions and that can put a larger student community in many contradictions. It’s not the first proctorial complaint against KP, but it is first time in University that someone is suspended for abusing on social networking site. In last couple of years abusive language, threats of sexual and physical violence has emerged as new norm. In that backdrop, this act of HCU admin can be seen as exemplary. However, its not first or only case of use of objectionable language on social networking cite or in reality in HCU. In fact there was a proctorial compliant against mr. KP of verbal and physical violence, but, since that complaint was by fellow student, admin choose for compromise of not letting destroy someone’s academic. But what so strange in this case, same KP and same admin choose to waste one whole academic year with fine too. The use of false gesture, language and attitude is norm in chief warden office, but no one even give damn to it because they are Guru jee of our gurkul called HCU.
I respect a lot Prof. K. Laxminaryana as an academician and activist. He is from marginalized section of our society and always stood with mass movements. The use of abusive words against him anguished me. It was utter condemnable act. Here, I am not saying Mr. KP is not guilty. However, my actual question is imagine if a student register a complaint against a teacher, will admin react in similar manner. We have many complaints against our honourable Guru jee. Leave aside those cases in which student feared to complaint against faculties due to highly hierarchical setup of our academia. I can name out many from humanities and social sciences, against whom many complaints of assaults is registered. But, hardly those things moved to any end. Student’s have complaints against warden’s visit at late night encroaching their privacy and use of false language. But, no action has ever taken against any faculty. HCU student have many complaint’s to its VC and other professors at administrative posts these includes verbal abuse. However, no enquiry is ever seriously done. Registration of complaints of verbal abuse is never considered as seriously in case of student and student affairs.
All these factors simply reflect that no matter how much differences HCU-Admin has with Prof. Laxminayana, How castiest HCU admin is in attitude It has this understanding that this hierarchy prevailing in campus need to be given at most importance. This is my message to those who has problem/differences with safforanization term. Securing these traditional guru-shishya relations in modern professional centres of learning is outcome of soft hindutva also making use of abuse as expression of social power is outcome of hard hindutva.
Progressive section of the campus need to answer these questions, what is there stand on institution of fines on student’s? Even if someone is from well to do family is it appropriate to ask an adult to take fine money from his home. Also what is meaning of fine in this case. Do not you consider exemplary punishments as continuation of feudal tradition? Do not you think punishments in democratic setup need to be based on rationally set norms and rather than appeasing larger masses. The growing trend of so called ‘strict action’ has made suffered you in past will haunt you in future.
I condemn act of Karan Palsania in strongest word, Also appreciate HCU admin for conducting firm inquiry. And stand in solidarity with academician who is struggling to hindutva assault but still challenging sarfornization of education at all level. I consider this as a big win of progressive forces in the hindutva regime. My concerns are with those, who are making roar how can he do this to a faculty. Mine point is no one can do like this to anyone, if this is the rule of university it have to apply to cases of student-student cases, non-teaching staff-faculty cases, also in those cases in which faculties do verbal assault against students. If we are dreaming for a critical academia then we first need to demolish this faculty-student hierarchy. Second, monetary punishment cannot be tolerated in these kinds of cases at all.