A varsity must challenge ideas without fear, say Jammu University teachers
Here’s the complete text of the statement:
India’s civil society at large and certainly the University teaching community are now aware that one of our colleagues Prof M. Tajuddin has been accused of describing Shaheed Bhagat Singh as a terrorist. This accusation is based on a widely circulated video snippet where Prof. Tajuddin is seen/heard to be delivering a lecture in a 1st semester P.G. Class of the Department of Political Science of University of Jammu.
The Jammu University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) makes it very clear at the outset that it regards Shaheed Bhagat Singh as a patriot of the highest order and a great political thinker.
As for as the present controversy involving Prof Tajuddin is concerned, JUTA found that Prof Tajuddin was delivering a lecture in his course titled “Western Political Thought” offered in the M.A. Political Science programme in semester-I where he was discussing the Russian Revolution elaborating the struggle against Autocratic Tsar regime by Lenin and his associates. The students of M.A. Political Science (semester I) in their representation addressed to President of JUTA also reconfirmed that he was giving examples of how repressive regimes have often labelled some of its opponents as terrorists. These examples included Aleksandra Ulyanov, the elder brother of Vladimir Lenin labelled by Tsarist Russia as a terrorist and hanged.
In the broader context, he (Prof. Tajuddin) also referred to Shaheed Bhagat Singh labelled by the British Raj as a terrorist and hanged. The topic concerned is a sensitive one and yet one that needs to be discussed especially in a University where all stakeholders (teachers and students) have reached a particular level of maturity and have a level of knowledge and understanding of certain sensitive concepts. A discussion of this issue is vital one and must be conducted with great skill and patience (both teacher and students) up-keeping the essence and sanctity of the class room. Moreover, Prof. Tajuddin has issued a statement (video clipping) wherein he has explained his position and tendered an apology, if his example to the context has hurt the sentiments of a student(s).
Also given the fact that the University has constituted a committee to probe into the incident, we also appeal to all the stakeholders and civil society at large to wait for the results of this enquiry committee.
We fervently appeal to all to ensure that the University remains an institution where ideas are freely discussed and challenged without fear of reprisals. It is only through this spirit of inquiry that knowledge is created and existing knowledge refined. This in essence is what a University is, JUTA stands for the preservation of the essence and spirit of the institution of the highest learning.