Kerala

Row over Calicut varsity notice to academic K.S. Madhavan yet to end

The row over the notice served by the University of Calicut on K.S. Madhavan, Associate Professor, Department of History, has not ended as yet. The authorities have not officially responded to his explanation sent by mail.

The university, however, claimed through a recent press release that the notice should not be misconstrued as an act of vengeance. It was just an attempt to protect its reputation, the authorities said.

Mr. Madhavan, a well-known public intellectual having in-depth understanding on Dalit issues, had co-authored an article in the Malayalam newspaper Madhyamam with another academic P.K. Pokker on April 21, criticising the alleged violation of reservation policies in Kerala’s universities. The article had claimed that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes had sought a detailed report from the university on the “sabotage of reservation rules”.

Following this, the university served him the notice on April 29 alleging that the article had violated Rules 58A, 60, and 62 of the Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1960, and discredited the image of the institution. Mr. Madhavan, however, claimed that the article was an attempt to highlight the social exclusion practised in higher educational institutions. It also sought to implement the constitutional policies of reservation in such institutions, he had claimed. Mr. Pokker, also a visiting professor attached to the Basheer Chair of the university, said in a statement that the write-up was a follow-up to their years of research on the anti-sabaltern attitude prevalent in Kerala’s universities.

Though Mr. Madhavan sent his explanation on May 5, he is yet to get any official response to it.

The Kerala History Congress and a host of academics, meanwhile, had voiced their support for him. The Kerala History Congress said it was inappropriate to serve notice on an academic who sought to protect constitutional values. People such as Sukhadeo Thorat, economist and former chairperson, University Grants Commission, Uma Chakravarthi, feminist historian, Delhi, K. Satyanarayana, Professor, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, Nissar Ahammed, academic and writer and M. Kunhaman, economist, said that a university that was supposed to stand for social inclusion and freedom of speech was attempting to subvert the very efforts towards achieving those principles. “This is unbecoming of a university that should have been a place for humanism, tolerance, and reason,” their public statement said.

However, the university press release pointed out that it did not try to curtail the academic’s freedom of expression. The article had tried to create confusion among students and prospective candidates for various posts in the institution. Immoral allegations would destroy the credibility of the university, the release said.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 4:57:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/row-over-calicut-varsity-notice-to-academic-ks-madhavan-yet-to-end/article34520016.ece

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