Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) may soon have a ‘life-sized statue’ of Swami Vivekananda on campus, after the Executive Council (EC) gave its approval for the same on June 30. The administration has decided to install the statue to give the university a “more pleasing look”.
“For a more pleasing look, it has been decided by the competent authority that a statue of suitable height and size of a historically important person like Swami Vivekananda — whose contribution to the nation building is universally acknowledged — may be erected with proper elevated platform, stone pathways, benches, lights and interconnected works, including public utilities, etc,” the EC said.
Rana Pratap Singh, Rector III, said, “The suggestion for the statue was given by the Engineering Department, and the EC has given its nod in principle. The final details of the same — where and when it will be installed — are yet to be decided…”
The EC also took several other decisions, some of which have not gone down well with teachers. One of the decisions was to hand over the supervision and management of the PC Joshi Archives to the university librarian. So far, it was managed by the Centre for Historical Studies.
A faculty member from the centre said, “The Dean of our School had written to the administration, after we received an order out of the blue that the university librarian would be taking over the archives… It was completely arbitrary. The archives have been in existence since the early ’70s and has material on peasants and workers, among other things. Now it may just merge into the library.”
The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) also termed the move “extremely regressive, as the construction and categorisation of these archives is the intellectual property of faculty and Centres who have built them…”
The EC has also decided to stop the promotion of three faculty members from the Centre for English Studies, including that of Associate Professor Saitya Brata Das. Professor Das alleged that his caste or his differing political views could be reasons for the decision. The JNU Rector and Registrar did not respond to calls and texts seeking a comment.