While the five-year tenure of Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Rajan Welukar was mired in controversy with voices of dissent within and outside the university, Monday’s farewell ceremony saw many people who worked with him such as professors in the university saying that the regulations should be amended to ensure that academicians like him could head the university for not just five, but 10 years.
Welukar was appointed V-C in 2010. Welukar, however, told his colleagues at the University’s Convocation Hall on Monday that he was focussed on achieving his objectives and that is what kept him going.
Welukar also said that he did not allow any kind of criticism to bog him down.
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While describing his controversial tenure and how he dealt with several issues, Welukar, said: “Throughout all these years I have just believed one thing- which is when a storm approaches, instead of backing off, you must stand still and gradually move ahead and the storm will not affect you. Hence, nothing affected me during my tenure as I had goals before me, and the aim of fulfilling them was what kept me going.”
“During my tenure, the university was able to scale new heights as can be seen QS Asia University ranking 2015 (125th) and embark on a variety of novel, innovative and technologically enhanced initiatives; all designed towards the making of an excellent university. You will find achievements in every aspect such as academic development, research and innovation-oriented initiative, examination reforms, infrastructural development and land acquisition, resource generation and fiscal management, socially relevance innovative venture and international collaboration,” he said.
Welukar’s last day as the V-C of MU began with a meeting with education minister Vinod Tawde at Sahyadri, the state guest house. Later at 2.30 pm, Welukar met officials of Hinduja foundation in his office. After that he attended a function to mark the installation of air conditioners at the Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Convocation Hall.
From 6 pm to 8.30 pm, Welukar attended his farewell, where he met most of the university employees and shared a word or two with them.
The farewell function was also meant to welcome the new V-C of MU, Professor, Sanjay Deshmukh who however did not attend.
Representatives of the All Non-Government Colleges Association (ANGC), Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS), Prahar Vidyarthi Sanghatana, Yuva Sena (youth wing of Shiv Sena), National Students Union of India, Students wing of Nationalist congress party, teaching and non teaching staff unions and other organisations spoke at length about Welukar’s tenure.
Some of them who felicitated Welukar on Monday evening were also the ones who at some point or the other had criticised him and even demanded his ouster.
Not only Welukar but even current and former officials, who worked during his tenure, were felicitated. What is ironic is that former university Controller of Examinations (CoE), Vilas Shinde, who was assaulted by MNS activists during his tenure, was also felicitated and that too by MNVS vice president (Mumbai University wing), Santosh Gangurde. Shinde also shared the dais with Welukar and other senior academicians on Monday evening.
“This is the first time in my life I agreed to attend such a big event, and that too where I am being felicitated. Dr Tukaram Shivare, who headed the organising committee did not leave me with any option and so I had to come here. However more than the felicitation I am happy that even though for this purpose, different organisations working for the university came together. Team work is what is the need of the hour,” said Welukar.
Welukar termed the affiliated colleges as the ‘prestige’ of Mumbai University.
“The university today has the large number of colleges that have been graded ‘A’ by the NAAC.”