My appointment unsettled ‘progressives’ who thought JNU was their bastion, says V-C Pandit

New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor (VC) Shantisree D. Pandit, who took charge in February, believes her appointment was troubling to the “progressives” who have considered the institute their stronghold over the years.

“The Narendra Modi government has broken many glass boundaries with my appointment, by appointing a non-Hindi speaking backward caste woman as the vice-chancellor,” Pandit told ThePrint in an interview.

Pro. Pandit also said that the university is battling with poor quality infrastructure along with lack of funding of Rs 130 crore, for which he blamed its predecessors.

“The hostels have not been renovated for the last 15 years and the students are living in extremely bad conditions. When I spoke to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, she offered her full support for her alma mater,” Pandit said, adding that the Union Education Ministry has already released around Rs 57 crore for the renovation of kitchens and hostels. .

“The university has a fund deficit of Rs 130 crore. Now it is my responsibility to ensure that the university is able to generate some finance for itself,” she said, explaining that she is working on an alumni endowment fund, providing language courses to employees of multinational corporations , and is setting up academic chairs. university.

Read also: JNU’s new V-C’s statement alleges bad language, BJP MP Varun Gandhi calls it ‘illiteracy’

‘Tukde-tukde gang is not our university’

Pandit came into limelight soon after taking over old tweets Criticizing JNU students and supporting the BJP government, which was purportedly posted by a Twitter account bearing his name, was shared widely on social media. he later Told Indian Express That he never had a Twitter account, and that “someone from JNU” could have sparked controversy.

Speaking about the controversy, Pandit said that he has always supported Muslim and Christian students Savitribai Phule Pune University, where she worked before coming to JNU, And that he is not anti-minority as is being speculated.

“Anyone who knows me will know that those tweets were not a true representation of my views. The information shared about me was false, I am periyari from Tamil Nadu and frankly, the men who attacked me were upper caste, male, outcast Manuvadi,” He said.

The VC strongly objected to the use of ‘.Fragments The gang called it “rhetoric, not reality” to describe JNU.

“Every university has its own ‘crazy’ elements that sit at the extreme end of any ideology, but that boundary is not representative of the entire university,” he said.

Describing JNU as essential to the process of nation building, he said, “Sixty percent of our students and alumni are in civil services, three ministers in the Union Cabinet of this country are from this university. How can this happen? Fragments university?”

in April, after JNU students were allegedly attacked by a group of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists for preparing chicken in a hostel on the occasion of Ram Navami. was in a statement said That JNU is “not anti-national”.

‘Expected to hold student union elections this year’

Talking about the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) elections, which have not been held for the last two years due to the COVID pandemicPandit said that he is in favor of elections as they provide an opportunity for debate and discussion. But for those wishing to gain political mileage from it, he said that “JNU is now a graveyard for political career”.

Elaborating on the statement, he said, “We are hoping that we are able to hold student elections this year, but this time, the students will have to follow the recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee, which they had earlier refused to accept.” The notoriety of some elements representing the university at the national level is not what I want. Students should not fight their political battles here on this campus.”

Recommendations of Lyngdoh Committee A set of guidelines outlined during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime to ensure free and fair student elections in colleges was – Rejected by the JNU Students’ Union in 2016.

The Executive Council of JNU had earlier this month approved the setting up of an International Affairs Office in the university. According to the VC, this will help JNU to improve ties and enhance cooperation with universities from other countries.

Further, Pandit said, “The PMO has formed a committee to set up an offshore campus, and apart from technical institutions, JNU is the only university that has a high demand. Fifteen countries of the African Union have requested for JNU campuses on their land.”

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Read also: ‘Hindus in Iftar, Muslims in Holi’: Religious festivals part of JNU culture, say alumni, students

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