After remaining largely non-partisan in the ongoing tussle at Bangalore University, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Monday finally made it clear that he was on the side of Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev.
Launching a book written by Dr. Prabhu Dev at a ceremony here, Mr. Bhardwaj, who is also Chancellor of the university, said of University's Registrar (Administration) B.C. Mylarappa, “These people were sent with the intention of harassing you [Dr. Prabhu Dev] from day one. But I am with you…we are all with you.”
He said: “I am aggrieved to read things against you. You and I will be friends even after we demit our respective offices.”
Lamenting that political interference at universities was degenerating the academic atmosphere, Mr. Bhardwaj said: “When I last spoke to the President, I stressed the need to impose uniform UGC guidelines at all universities in the country so that academics can work freely without political interference.”
He also sought to draw a parallel between his own life and that of Dr. Prabhu Dev's by saying, “You and I are misfits in our respective jobs. I should have continued as a lawyer and you should have continued as a doctor [cardio-thoracic surgeon].”
He also said: “In my first year as Governor, I too was harassed. I was harassed much more than you.”
Speaking about his own career, he said: “After so many years as a lawyer, I should not have accepted the post of Governor. As lawyers we are talkative and fearless by nature. But a Governor is supposed to be subdued. Many a time I was taught a lesson from [the leadership in] New Delhi. I have been told repeatedly to keep quiet, keep quiet. But I can't just watch when something wrong happens.”
Earlier, Dr. Prabhu Dev said: “I am an unlucky Vice-Chancellor. I have been at the receiving end both inside and outside the campus since I took over [as Vice-Chancellor]. But I am proud to be at the helm of Bangalore University. I have no ill will against anybody and I feel sorry for them.”
Reacting to the Governor's statements, Prof. Mylarappa said that it was he who was being humiliated. “I have no godfather. It has been over four months since I took over as Registrar but the VC has not formally called me for a meeting. I have nothing to say to the Governor's statements, as they are situational remarks. I will meet the Governor soon and present him the facts,” he said.