By: MC Meetei
Gambling the gamble is two directional; winning or losing the gamble. Nobody plays gamble just to lose it. But, for politically appointed Adya Prasad Pandey, the Manipur University is a big gambling ground inciting even Mr. Chief Minister to throw a casino for brandishing the legitimate movement for his ouster an anti-India (sic national) activity as he whispered our Chief Minister a 5 Crore tax tagged on his head by some armed opposition groups. Appointed by His Excellency, the President of India October 2016 as the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University for a term of 5 years, Prof. APP (writing his full name is a wastage of time) has been the Head of the Department of Economics in Banaras Hindu University, and has gained experiences in different related fields including how to derail a University on becoming an administrative dictator under the saffron culture. A graduate of Banaras Hindu University, earning BSc, MBA, MA, PhD degrees from the same institution, APP started his teaching career at the same university in 1979 and later became a member of the Executive Council Member of BHU.
Barely one and a half year after his appointment as the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University, the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) launched the agitation 30 May 2018 for the total shutdown of the Manipur University after failing to address the academic and administrative failures and crises the University has long been confronting since APP’s assumption of the charge of the Vice Chancellor of the University. The movement took a sharp turn inferno hinting no retreat till the irresponsible and incompetent Vice Chancellor of Manipur University is disposed of with the joining of the Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA), Manipur University Staff Association (MUSA), the en masse resignation of the deans and the heads of all departments, proctor and assistant proctor and the shutting down of the affiliated colleges. The Manipur University community has been demanding VC APP’s resignation over manifold allegations of administrative negligence and recklessness in running the university. The allegations made include his staying away from the university for wholesome time on unofficial duty, failure to conduct the Court Meeting for possible manipulation of university functions and programmes, and huge sanctioned amounts, utter rejection of holding Convocation (last held on 29 April 2014), conscious overlooking of the conduct of mandatory Executive Council Meeting and Financial Committee Meeting to evade scrutiny of the office of the Vice Chancellor; siphoning a huge amount of Rs. 5 Crore to a closely related Lucknow based firm by misappropriating the VC Office; striking a deal with another Lucknow based firm for supply of examination sheets at the rate of Rs. 24 per sheet in contrary to the previous rate of Rs. 5 per sheet; donating an unaccounted amount of money to a highly politically enthused organisation in breach of the rules and regulations of Manipur University; failure to summon the 2017 academic session of the much awaited LLM, MA Fine Arts and MEd courses; accumulation of huge sum of money in the contractual recruitment of several posts without making proper notification; transgressing the sanctity of the university with the building up of a night club dance bar atmosphere in the Office Chamber of the Vice Chancellor in the company of quite a lot of unknown women, contractors, businessmen and his cohorts with reported indulgence of immoral activities; deliberate filling up of statutory posts of the Registrar, the Controller of Examination, the Librarian and the Curator under the in charge model for total authoritarian rule of the University, issuance of original certificates in 30 to 45 days in stark contrast to before his tenure-ship wherein the same was issued within 2 to 3 days; failure to conduct semester examinations and declaration of examination results in time, collapsing the one year courses of the Centres for Myanmar Studies and Human Rights to two years’ , and the frisking of students with gross disrespect by his security guards in his chamber which tantamounts to psychological harassment and threatenings.
Now, 49 days have passed and nothing tangible comes out from the authority concerned except for the movement to dethrone APP taking a violent turn when volunteers of DESAM thronged to the Manipur Governor’s Bungalow and the BJP Office on 16 July 2018 and clashed with brute state police forces which led to the critical injury of the Secretary General of DESAM and six others. The calling of 48 hours general strike by MUSU from the midnight of 17 July 2018 added salt to injury. The One Day Public Dialogue 15 July 2018 organised by LSPOMUC, SYC and SYDA at Kakwa Community Hall and participated by CSO’s including AMUCO, IPSA, UCM, ATSUM, COHR, etc., senior citizens, veteran politicians, former VC of Manipur University and representatives of various political parties – INC, BJP, CPI (M), MPP, PRAJA, etc., – has strengthened the movement and resolved a solid stand for sacking the VC APP as the only option for saving Manipur University. The Dialogue outrightly rejecting the low profile inquiry committee instituted by the MHRD outlined a high power judicial inquiry, forced leave for APP during the conduct of the inquiry and the appointment of a pro VC for resuming the academic functions of the University. The last effort at New Delhi 16 July 2018 by the Manipur Chief Minister and his colleagues urging the Union Human Resource Development Minister in the line of the resolutions adopted during the Dialogue is commendable. The HRD move has come after the President’s Office sought information on the issue and Manipur Chief Minister’s repeated requests for central government intervention to break the impasse as the Manipur University Community launched a relay hunger strike from 8 July 2018 at the gate of the University Campus demanding the removal of the VC APP.
In his diabolic gambling design, a self made Y-Category status and cajoling in a Rs. 80 lakh bulletproof motorcade, VC APP denied all the charges levelled against him and refused to resign, exhorting the agitators to refrain from unlawful acts in a fictitious hand out not signed by any individual under the name of the office of the PRO, MU when the University itself has no PRO. This clearly indicates APP’s high-handedness and his continuation of indulging in false fabrication to deceive everyone and all. Adding rhetoric to his clarification, Pandey decried the en masse resignation of the deans and heads of the departments of the University was due to the pressure put on them by the students who were in turn instigated by some anti-national elements. The attitude of the VC APP clearly reveals his character of being a secretive member of BJP and RSS, spreading only RSS’s ideology as an RSS pracharak instead of acting as the head of the University. The Protection and Preservation Committee, Manipur (PPCM) upon joining the movement questioned the behaviour of VC Pandey for acting like an army Brigadier and changing the university into a fortress keeping the Assam Rifles against the aspirations of the University Community and the public. Different sections of the society have now begun to oppugn the inaction of the Centre as well as the State to take up any appropriate action against APP. The Manipur Peoples’ Party (MPP) opined the state government to approach the central government to immediately remove APP in case he refused to resign from his post on moral ground. The Indian National Congress asserted the VC to step down after meeting all the stakeholders of the ongoing agitation. The Communist Party of India-Marxists (CPI-M), Manipur State Committee alleged that APP in connivance with some of his confidantes has been trying to saffronise university education undermining the need to uphold the sanctity of the University saying that the on-going agitation for removal of APP is justifiable. Saffronisation of all academic institution is not a new thing after the Modi Government came to power at the centre. “The RSS is conspiring to gain a hold of all academic institutions”, remarked the ousted Magsaysay Award Winner BHU Professor Sandeep Pandey in January 2016 while discussing the circumstances of his removal as a visiting professor at the instance of RSS influence. He sparked a storm in the academic community with his allegation that his political ideology had him a target of the Narendra Modi government. The People’s Action for National Democratic Movement (PANDM) has warned 15 July 2018 the State and the Central Governments against turning Manipur University into a political battlefield insisting the Manipur Chief Minster to consider the sentiments of the people and act according to the wishes of the people and get Professor APP removed from the post of VC.
But, the gamble continues. VC APP remains unmoved enjoying the patronage of his well wishers. He remains adamant totally disregarding the sentiments of the agitation against him. He served his job of coming to Manipur by looting the Manipur University Exchequer. The question remains why this Pandey keeps on clinging to the post of the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University despite his wife, Veena Pandey – a film star of BJP – refuted by saying why they had sent her husband to the jungles on his appointment as the VC of MU by the President of India. Veena Pandey, who can even influence Mr. Modi of Hindu India was a former member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council. She is at present the National Vice President of BJP Mahila Morcha and has been a member of the National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party from 2012 until 2015. The posting of APP as the VC of MU may be viewed as the acid test for the Saffronisation of Manipur University. Veena Pandey and her higher ups must be aware of the history and culture of Manipur. The people of Manipur have not totally forgotten the pains and agonies on how the Sovereign Nation of Manipur (erstwhile Kangleipak)-an ancient Asiatic Power with 5500 year old civilisation was once turned into a petty Chief Commissioner’s Province on 15 October 1949. Leave this jungle for good, these junglee people have their own expertise to rule their Jungle Kingdom.
All over the world through war and peace, the education institutions have always been spared from becoming army dungeon. University is the highest place where a nation trains her children for the love of their country and the highest level of education. The complete shutdown of the Manipur University for 49 long days shall not go unpaid. The bid for Saffronisation of the University will not succeed as the Manipur People have learnt much how to defend any untoward misadventures from the days of Puya Meithaba, Seven Years’ Devastation and the War of 1891. With VC APP as the dice thrower, the Manipur University has been turned into a gambling ground for all political parties of different hues but the real sentiments and the realities of the cause of the ongoing agitation cannot be wiped out in the annals of the history of Manipur as the Manipur People as one person knows only the players change in the game of football. You must have seen now the Manipur University Community and the Manipur People stand out their only resolution of chasing you away from the University. Prolongation of the Manipur University Impasse shall only destroy the game you and your masters gamble. Political maturity says every household in Manipur has some students and every locality in Manipur has at least one teacher. Students are the pillars of the nation and the teachers are the mentors. Imagine how hurt would be them when they cannot attend classes and they cannot teach them for such a long time of 49 days. By the time Manipur University resumes normal academic activities, the gambling ground would be shifted from the MU Campus to each and every heart of the students and teachers’ community. Who, even the mightiest man of India would be able to prevent them when the students and the teachers’ community stoop to play the Big Gamble of not participating in the electoral process of qausi-federal and autocratic Indian polity? The answer is a BIG NO.
(The writer is the Coordinator of Manipur International Youth Centre and can be reached at [email protected].)