New Delhi: Amid a raging political battle over a Dalit scholar's suicide, a group of scholars on Sunday said institutions of learning had become war zones in the last 10 to 15 years and poor students entering the campuses are seen as fodder in the ideological war of their mentors.
The 40 scholars, perceived to be sympathetic to the Modi government, said the death of Rohith Vemula had brought forth the rot, which had set in these years and called for action to save the academia from the clutches of this new brand of academics in the university faculties.
"Act swiftly to save the Indian academia from the clutches of this new brand of academics in the university faculties and their peers in the higher academic governance of India. The people at the helm of affairs in the higher governing bodies of Indian academia have remained largely unchanged.
"These persons in position of authority have continued to further vitiate the atmosphere in our institutions of higher learning," they said in an open statement.
ICHR member M D Srinivas, Madhu Purnima Kishwar of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, IIT Chennai faculty Shreepad Karmalkar, Vipin Chaturvedi of the University of California, Atal Bihari Vajpayi Hindi Vishwavidhyalaya Vice Chancellor Mohan Lal Chhipa, Makrand R Paranjpe, Aswhini Mohapatra of the JNU, R Vaidyanathan of the IIM, Bangalore and J K Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennia and Delhi are among the signatories to the statement.
"Over the last 10 or 15 years, a new brand of scholarship has transformed the meaning of high academics in such a manner as to convert our high institutions of learning into some kind of war zones. Under the influence of such scholars and their peers in the higher echelons of academic governance, the young scholars joining these institutions are being led astray.
"More than the alleged caste discrimination, the tragic death is the consequence of this deep distortion of the academic atmosphere of the campuses. The young, innocent and often poor students entering the campuses are seen as fodder in the ideological war of their mentors," they said.