It could be recollected that Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University on 24th of October, 2016 and he assumed charge on 13th of December, 2016. He took almost a month and half to report for joining the university. In addition, his academic credential and administrative competence is doubtful comparing with the local candidates who got a call letter for the post of Manipur University Vice Chancellorship. Despite all of it, all members and everyone in the fraternity of University community gave him a warm welcome believing in the vision of a new India by 2022 by providing new directions to the youths by building up the country’s educational infrastructure both in terms of human material as well as human resources. Since he was handpicked for the Manipur University by the ruling political regime, every in the university fraternity were expectantly looking up to him that university will afdvance and progress under his leadership as head of the institution. But as unfolded over a period of time, he started behaving like a dictatorial ‘Delhi implant’. Whatsoever he lacked in academics and administrative acumen he makes it up with his arrogance. It seemed, his attitude to the members in all the three wings of the university – teaching and non-teaching staff and also most importantly the students are not that of rendering service but doling out favours. He also allegedly made illegal appointments, awarded dubious contracts, misappropriate university fund and derelict his duty by habitually going in long outstation holidaying. It was from May 30 onwards of this year that the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) started an agitation demanding the removal of the Vice Chancellor AP Pande. The agitation gained momentum in the following days with the joining in of Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff Association joining in the chorus for removing a VC and commissioning an independent judicial enquiry to prove the allegation against him after he doesn’t give any response to the appeal for giving clarification to the allegation labelled against him by the MUSU. With the situation becoming aggravating, the Joint Secretary of the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry visited Manipur on 21 June to take stock of the situation. It turned out inconsequential and his attempt to drive a wedge terribly failed as he refused to meet MUTA and MUTA in turn forbid any of its members to meet him in private. Then there was attempt to fortify the university campus by deploying the large number of police personnels after there was arson and fire in university under suspicious circumstances. The Fact Finding Committee constituted by the HRD Ministry consisting of Joint Secretary of University Grants Commission and Deputy Secretary, ministry of HRD constituted on 12 July was also rejected by the MUSA, MUTU, and MUSA as toothless. After all these failed, there have even been sinister attempt to delegitimize all the fraternities of the university community as ‘anti-nationals’ stated by the VC and later echoed by the political functionaries in the ruling regime that the ongoing impasse is an outcome of non fulfilling of the Rs. Five Crore demand from a particular outfit. Though there seemed to have no reports from the intelligence agencies to substantiate it. The two officers so appointed for fact finding are protocol wise much below the status of VC. The Commission was reconstituted on 17 July by roping in one more member, Tayenjam Nandakumar, Retired Acting Chief Justice of Meghalaya High court as the Chairperson. When, on 15 February 2016, the President, who is the Visitor of all central universities, approved the dismissal of Prof. Sushanta Dattagupta from the post of Vice Chancellorship of Visva Bharati, it happened for the first time that the head of a central university has been sacked. In the said case, the committee comprises of Sakharam Singh Yadav (Justice of Allahabad High Court), BB Data (Chairman, Shri Aurbindo Institute of Culture, Shillong), and Dilip K Chakrabarti (Professor of South Asian Archaeology, university of Cambridge). In fact, the other two members from the non judicial background are all persons of eminence with unquestionable integrity independent of the conflicting interest of holding office of profit which could be influenced by the HRD Ministry. Considering the huge political clout enjoyed by the VC Adha Prasad Pande by virtue of his wife and his haughty flaunting of his association with the political stalwarts from the ruling regime in the Centre at various social networking sites (uploading selfies with them), the question arises how the far the fact finding committee can be ‘independent’ in probing and establishing the authenticity of the allegations labelled against the VC Adha Prasad Pande, which he himself found it hard to defend himself remains a big question. The issue is no longer of university alone. The University community and the people in the state would most likely take it only as a cosmetic change. The Union HRD Ministry is so far snail pacing in its attempt to address this ongoing impasse. More precisely put, the union HRD Ministry is doing a monkey business by responding to the impasse with a half baked token piecemeal perhaps with the intention to maintain a staus quo of the VC Adha Pande. Those in the Union HRD Ministry and VC, Adha Pande must know that unlike those in the Hindi-Hindu heartland, Manipuri as a community with advanced literary tradition cannot be fooled so easily so as to honey trap or trapped in whatever way. From time immemorial, we have a local adage, ‘Yong mamei Chappey’ which in the English proverb very much runs like, ‘Even monkey falls from the tree’. Beware¡ the Union HRD Ministry as well as the State Government so far remaining impotent in addressing this ongoing impasse. If your involvement and intervention doesn’t lead to the desired expectation of the people and the university community, you all also would experience the situation of monkeys falling from the tree.
Even Monkey falls from the tree