Benaras Hindu University Vice-Chancellor Professor Rakesh Bhatnagar, who took charge on Wednesday, said that he believed in resolving issues concerning his students through dialogue. “I believe in dialogue. But that doesn’t mean one should create a ruckus. They should think. Samvad should be constructive, not destructive,” he said, speaking to the media. “The issue of unlawful elements behind protests is because we do not consider these problems as our own. There are problems, but we must acknowledge these and together resolve it.”
He also believed in the importance of nationalism. “If we do not believe in rashtravad (nationalism), how will things work? If we have taken birth on this land and studied and worked here, then how can we not believe in rashtravaad. There’s nothing greater than one’s place of birth and one’s land. So rashtravaad should be ingrained in us deeply,” he said.
Over law and order and women’s safety, which had rocked the University last year, he said, “Every problem can be sorted out through dialogue. We will have to understand these problems and then decide what can the solution be.”
Over issues that he will look into, Bhatnagar pointed to the students’ access to the cyber library, which would earlier be open round-the-clock, alleged corruption in the appointment of faculty and staff, and campus politics. Bhatnagar said he will endeavour to improve academia in BHU. He also said he will always be a scientist and will encourage scientific studies in BHU.
Bhatnagar’s area of interest include molecular biology of infectious diseases, recombinant vaccine development and programmed cell death in prokaryotes.
Bhatnagar was appointed to vice-chancellorship last week. Till then he taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University for two decades. He served as V-C of Kumaon University from 2012 to 2013.