Four months before the University Grants Commission and Delhi University locked horns over the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), UGC chairman Ved Prakash had sung praises of DU Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, and lauded the “reforms” started by him to “bring the university on the global map”.
“I am extremely grateful to my dear brother whom I love the most. I cannot replace Nilanjana ji (Dinesh Singh’s wife) but I am certainly in love with this brother of mine. I love him more than my life,” Prakash said.
The UGC chairman was speaking at the inauguration of the annual DU cultural festival, Antardhwani, on February 14 this year. He was the chief guest at the event.
“The kind of commitment, the kind of work, the kind of services that Dinesh is rendering to this university and trying to bring the university on the global map — already you would have seen and I would like to congratulate the teachers, the way they have increased the research output of the university — it’s commendable. You all deserve kudos for that,” Prakash said.
Prakash’s tone on Valentine’s Day was strikingly different from the one that UGC has employed in its dealings with DU over the past week, when it has spoken essentially through diktats, threats and ultimatums to the university and its colleges.
On June 17, UGC sent a letter to the DU Registrar, demanding that FYUP be reconsidered and reviewed immediately. On June 20, it directed DU to conduct “admissions for the academic year in the three-year structure”.
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On June 22, UGC ordered the university to conduct undergraduate admissions “only under the three-year undergraduate programme which was offered prior to the introduction of FYUP”.
On the same day, the commission issued separate orders to colleges, warning them that any deviation from its directives would have “consequences”. A public notice was issued in newspapers for students and parents.
On Tuesday, the VC was said to have been outraged enough to have contemplated resigning. A far cry from the situation in February, when Prakash had declared “Ki meri umar bhi Dinesh ko lag jaaye (May Dinesh live both our lives).”
Alluding to the inter-disciplinary nature of the FYUP’s, Prakash had said, “Today, the time has come when we need to dissolve the boundaries between disciplines because we know for sure that the new knowledge lies in the intersection of disciplines. Therefore, it is obligatory on our part to promote the culture of inter-disciplinarity in the campuses of our institutions of higher learning.
“This university is extremely fortunate to have Professor Dinesh Singh as its Vice-Chancellor in today’s time. Dinesh has transformed this university into a place of happenings and that is what is expected of a good leadership. Dinesh is a person who has a heart of gold, who wants to do everything possible under the sun for the greater good of our children, for the greater good of the nation, and let me share with you that there are very few people amongst us who put all the stakes for the greater good of the institutions.”
Congratulating Singh for his Padma Shri, Prakash said, “We need more and more leaders (like Singh) from our educational institutions because, as I had said earlier, universities are the highest hopes of the society. Universities are built and made on the strength of the leadership and you have found profound leadership in Professor Dinesh Singh. I, on my part, would like to say that Dinesh would receive whatever support rests in whatever quarters of the country.”
Before Prakash spoke, Singh had appreciated UGC’s support to “reforms” in DU. “We are grateful to Professor Ved Prakash… who has helped this university in every possible way,” Singh said.
“The changes and the reforms in the university have been brought about with his support, inspiration and help. For this, we are indebted to him,” Singh said.