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Romila Thapar
National Politics

JNU asks historian Romila Thapar for CV, criticism follows

New Delhi | Jawaharlal Nehru University has asked historian Romila Thapar to submit her CV so that the administration can check and decide if she could continue as professor emerita in the institution.

According to a report, JNU registrar Pramod Kumar last month wrote to 87-years-old Thapar and asked her to submit her bio-data so that a “committee appointed by the university could evaluate” her work and decide whether she should continue as professor emerita.

Thapar had retired from the university in 1991 and was made professor emerita two years later. The post usually continues throughout life.

The university’s executive council had in August 2018 revised the guidelines for appointing emeritus professors, PTI reported. The new guidelines said that once such professors reach the age of 75, their continuation in the post would be reviewed based on their “health status, willingness, availability, university needs, etc so that more positions will be available to other potential candidates”. Thapar is currently 87 years old.

According to the guidelines, the executive council will appoint a sub-committee to review each professor’s case through measures such as meeting them and asking them for an updated CV.

JNU’s move has been widely opposed by critics.


Not just Romila Thapar

At least five such professors, including renowned historian Romila Thapar and sociologist T.K. Oommen, have received letters from JNU’s registrar asking them to submit their curriculum vitae to a university-appointed committee which will review their position, despite the fact that these were originally lifetime appointments.

“It is embarrassing for professors emeritus to be asked such a thing, ”Dr. Oommen told The Hindu. “Our CVs, the record of our work and achievements are easily available. What is the need to write and ask for such a thing?” he asked.


Critics Uproar over JNU move

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has called out JNU for its actions and asked if the university can “sink any lower”.

JNU teacher’s association has demanded an apology from the administration.

The association said the decision was “politically motivated” and a “deliberate attempt to try and dishonour those who have been critical of the current administration”.

“The insult to Prof Romila Thapar is just another politically motivated step in this regard, motivated no doubt by the active and steadfast support and inspiration she has provided to the teachers and students of JNU in their fight to keep the university in line with the vision and ideals embedded into its foundations,” the association said.

An expert in the history of early India, Thapar was a professor at JNU between 1970 and 1991. In 1993, she was named professor emerita. A recipient of the prestigious Kluge Prize of the US Library of Congress, Thapar has also authored numerous books.

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