Hyderabad: As an instance of upper caste hegemony in the University of Hyderabad, dissenting voices point to an exclusive well dug for a Brahmin professor in the staff quarters campus.
A prominent professor of the Mathematics Department, who left UoH three years ago after his retirement, had constructed the well for his spiritual purposes. His students and watchman of the quarters say he wanted the well for the ritual bath and other spiritual routine. The professor, the brother of a priest in a famous South Indian temple, did not allow anybody to come inside his compound.
The UoH staff, who have joined the agitation, say that they had no complaint against the professor for performing his rituals since it was a personal matter. They say that they respected his right to practice his religion. But, they wonder how he could he alter the infrastructure of the varsity for his spiritual purposes.
“We do not know if the well was constructed with permission from the university or without any nod. In both cases, it is not acceptable. How could the then administration give permission to dig a well for personal use. If he did not have permission, how could he construct it,” asked Professor S. Ramudu.
After the professor vacated his house, (7A-teachers quarters), the well is in disuse. The new occupants have closed it and are using water from the common water line. “When the maths professor used to live here, he only used water from the well and they did not use the common water line. He did not allow others to take water from it,” said P. Yadgiri, watchman.
However, students say that the professor was not so regressive in his public life. “We have heard that he did not allow people inside his house and we saw him with sandalwood paste across his forehead and always sporting a kudumi. But, he did not keep images of Gods in his office room as he considered it a public space. We know that he never drank water from outside. But he never appeared prejudiced while teaching us,” said a ex-student, who did not want to be named....