The race for new Kashmir University Vice Chancellor has started. Already a particular lobby is vying for the interim VC to be appointed for a full term. Irrespective of whether a local or non-local VC is appointed, the question that remains is where is this institution heading? Apart from usual press notes and occasional programmes on Kashir Channel, the KU’s functioning is not recognized elsewhere. Its so-called research work lacks the standard.
During the tenure of Prof Jalees Khan Tareen, KU promised a bit of progress. But after his tenure, this highest seat of learning has become a waging tail. A varsity is meant for students but the latter seem to be a suppressed lot. Their arguing on any topic is considered blasphemous and their actions sometimes as seditious. If someone shows streak of confronting a teacher on a particular subject s/he has to pay it on marks sheet. In fact students have been made powerless and helpless. Independent thinking is structurally censured. Research topics of their choices are dubbed without even considering. Teachers are concerned about their promotions and how to pull rug out of their colleagues. Being a research scholar working under a supervisor in KU is ultimate humiliation. One has seen scholars providing maid services to their research guides. In fact on any given day it amazes one that VC attends banal seminars, workshops or conferences, a time that could have been utilised to hear student grievance or move out and see where teachers are. But students do not figure in any policy. No VC of KU for the past 24 years has outlined any role for students.
Allegations about rampant corruption galore, and nepotism too seems to plague this sacred institution. It is no surprise then that illegal appointments have become an order of the day. Riyaz Punjabi, a local man, who was a faculty member in one of India’s premier university, after being appointed KU’s VC, made huge number of illegal appointments. His tenure saw further eroding of research work and teaching standards too plummeted further. Punjabi’s successor Prof Talat Ahmad was no better than his predecessor. His tenure saw the KU turning into a hub of pro-India parties with establishment of units of Congress-backed National Students Union and another by the regional National Conference. No matter how much Kashmiris clamour about the poor standard of education and research, the fact is that the appointment of KU VC is always a politically motivated decision. The State here wants educated coolies and politically appointed VCs to further its agenda. And sadly, once a respectable institution, the KU has turned into a university of coop.