Skeletons are tumbling out of the Banaras Hindu University’s closet. A leaked letter from a top IIT professor has revealed how he resigned over random appointments of department heads at BHU, a year-and-half ago, but his dissent was kept hidden from the HRD ministry.
On November 3, 2015, French scholar and IIT Gandhinagar faculty Michel Danino, wrote to BHU vice-chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi that raising objections at the executive council “is not an easy exercise”.
His letter reveals how the method of top appointments never figured in the EC meetings. “While I appreciate your point, you will kindly understand that raising objections to minutes of EC meetings is not an easy exercise.
When a simple matter — for instance, the appointment of the head of a centre or an institute or university — is recorded in the minutes with pages of quasi-language, which never figured in the discussions, and when the actual discussions go unreported, it is difficult to raise a query,” the letter said.
The letter further read: “Consider also the matter of appointment of a director of institute of medical sciences. It was recorded that the consideration of the item be deferred, and the agenda be brought back again with more details. But I remember no such decision being agreed upon… the applications would be invited and precise academic criteria of competence spelt out or at least assessed.”
Recommended By “The above is only by way of illustration. However, I do not feel I can contribute positively to BHU’s administration. I request you to kindly accept my resignation. I assure you that I will not cease to be a friend and well-wisher of this very special university.”
It was not Danino alone who raised objections to the way Tripathi was running EC meetings. Another EC member Prof Jagmohan Singh Rajput, former NCERT chief, only last November wrote two damning missives to VC, expressing regret over the way Tripathi would call meetings on key agendas at short notice and ask them to clear promptly.
“Esteemed sir, I have already indicated my position in my mail referred to in your letter. Incidentally, the hard copy of the agenda was received at my place only on Nov 5, 2016. I do not possess needed skills to take a view on crucial issues by merely going through the soft copy. EC in my opinion is most important body of university.
To meet the quorum cannot be consideration in organising its meeting at 7 pm.” Days before this mail, he had written another mail to Tripathi on November 4, saying “I spoke to registrar Dr K P Upadhyay, suggesting that EC meetings require more time, hence must begin in the forenoon. I’m surprised it commences at 7pm.”