Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University is often at the vanguard of issues deemed liberal, progressive and politically correct. So when an institution like it takes the unprecedented step of opposing the constitutional provision providing for reservation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the physically handicapped on its academic faculty, it is bound to raise both questions and eyebrows.
In what might shock many liberals, 30 professors on the academic council wrote to vice-chancellor B.B. Bhattacharya on November 25 last year, expressing strong opposition to the said quota. In language that smacks of elitism, the professors raise concerns about how JNU would lose its academic sheen if reservation was allowed at the level of professors. Their concern was aroused by an advertisement put out by the varsity for 149 faculty positions, over half of which are reserved at the level of professor and associate professor for SC/ST candidates.