Sunday, February 25, 2018
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allahabad university 1

Our  reader Shamsher Singh rang up the other day to tell me to remind the University authorities and also the district administration that AU is a Central University and the local authorities cannot enter a Central institution like invaders.

Shamsher  could indeed be absolutely  correct. And another idea that he has floated is: ‘Shouldn’t the University appeal to the President, its Rector , to recommend to the Union  Ministry concerned that central forces be posted in AU temporarily till the local administration is convinced that it was highly objectionable and irresponsible on the part of the  State police to  enter the campus in the first instance and secondly to barge into the class rooms to  indulge in a highhandedness  that has no parallel and  was not required let alone justified’. Shamsher says, ‘What amuses me is the plea of the administration that unless they receive a written complaint about police entry into classrooms they will not act. They will not even believe the pictorial evidence before them!’. Shamsher adds: ‘They want a written complaint against unauthorised police entry. But they should answer: Did they receive a written request from the University for police help? If not, why did the cops go there?’
Shamsher has raised interesting questions. He warns: ‘The District administration has agreed to meet the VC on  Jan 9. What if in the meanwhile the court takes suo moto notice of the whole incident and orders the officials to report immediately? Won’t the officials then find time to put aside everything and rush to fulfil court’s directives’. He says: ‘How the President of India reacts to these developments remains to be seen.’
We would like to emphasise that the immediate need is to provide the healing touch and apply the balm of dialogue to end the crisis. The district administration might be hesitant to act on its own, not sure how the political masters will react to their move. In that case they must ring up the authorities in Lucknow and seek their advice. But what they cannot ignore is the unauthorised march of the cops inside the campus of a Central University and also invade  the class rooms—something that has never, never happened in the past, not even when the British rule was  at the peak of its ruthlessness. Gen Dyer might have massacred  innocent people inside Jallian wala Bagh but no Dyer dared to enter the portals of the University of Allahabad. The local police has tarred history.


How A.N.Jha dealt with a bullying British officer

Prof Yogeshwar Tewari, former Vice President of FUPRUTA, feels that the District officials should have promptly responded to the call of acting Vice Chancellor, Mr Farooqui,  and  realized the urgency of the matter which was far more important than Mela preparations -- that, at any rate, are never complete on time-- because not doing so meant showing disrespect to the President of India who is the Rector of the University  whom the Vice Chancellor represents.
Prof Tewari then recalled how the then VC, Dr Amaranatha Jha had called the bluff of the British Kaptan Butler of Allahabad who had gone to him in 1942 to seek permission to enable cops to enter the University and stop Lal Padmadhar’s march. Dr Jha  refused to entertain his request. For the white man it was probably too humiliating to stand this insult. When Butler threatened to defy his orders and march with his force into the campus, Dr Jha became silent for a while—which was a sign of his mounting anger—and then finally told Butler, ‘Officer, will you go away or should I speak to the Governor General of India’. Butler withdrew in a huff but did not dare to send the police force on the campus. That is the story of Allahabad University—the oldest University of northern India and second in the whole of India after Bombay, Madras and Calcutta Universities which were established in the same year. It has traditions, conventions which cannot be insulted and bypassed at the whims and fancies of the  bureaucrats who, in the words of Firaq, ‘Aaate jaate rehte hain’.

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