New Delhi: The JNU authorities have asked historian Romila Thapar to submit her CV, so that they can decide if she is good enough to continue as professor emerita.
Thapar needs no introduction. A celebrated historian, she has been a professor at JNU for several decades before she was given the prestigious position as an emeritus.
An emeritus position is an honour bestowed by the university on a retired professor – in appreciation of his/her track record. Once chosen, an academic continues in the post for life. That is the convention. In any case, emeritus professors are never asked to submit their CVs.
But JNU seems to be a different place, of late. Incidentally, Thapar, a Padma Bhushan awardee, had retired from the university in 1991 and was made professor emerita two years later.
Then, what went wrong? By an uncanny coincidence, the 87-year-old Thapar has been a vocal critic of the Modi government and its policies; that should put in perspective the university administration’s decision to ask her to submit her CV for further consideration.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Thapar was among the many eminent personalities who had appealed to the Indian voters to cast their votes in favour of a diverse and equal India and help "eliminate politics of hate".
In an open letter published on the Indian Cultural Forum in April 2019, several writers, including the late Girish Karnad, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Nayantara Sahgal and Romila Thapar, had said hate politics was being used to divide the country, create fear and increasingly exclude more number of people from living as "full-fledged citizens".