Save the University

Save the University
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Academics should and must be above politics and politicking. So must the administrators who are responsible for running academic institutions. Of these citadels of learning, the university constitutes the apex. But, alas, in Kashmir, the University systems, generally speaking, have morphed into moribund and decaying institutions. The University of Kashmir might constitute a case in point here. The condition of the University is perhaps best illustrated by the morass of politics that has descended over it. When, to make a general point, academics indulge in politics and politicking, the ones who suffer the most are the students and their respective trajectories-both academic and career. While the nature of the University’s problems are deep and structural, but the immediate fiasco arises from the Vice Chancellor seeking to extend his term limit, in accordance with the apparently new term limit(s), which have been extended to five years. Without going into the legal minutiae and technicalities of this process, or even the merits or demerits of the case, the fact is that the morass that has ensued on account of the deadlock and the politics it has begotten is that the student fraternity of the University will suffer. This is the immediate consequence of the morass but there can or there might even be long term consequences. If the leadership of a given institution is locked in political battles or turf wars, then it is axiomatic that the institutional matrix of that organization and its institutional interest will suffer. The same holds true for the University of Kashmir. Being no exception to this general observation or assessment, it behooves upon powers that be to actually think of institutional interest, efficacy and efficiency first and, of course, the welfare of its core constituents, the students first. Institutions, to repeat the cliché, matter and by virtue of institutional efficacy, these determine the welfare of its constituents. In lieu of this, what should be exercising and concentrating the minds of powers that be is to save or perhaps more accurately, salvage the university. It cannot and must not be made a victim of egos, politicking and politics thereof. A lot more is at stake than mere egos and tenures. The mantra that should inform any approach to the university should put students first. Broken down, this means instituting processes and systems that elevate and prioritize student welfare and institutional interest over other small matters. Let this be borne in mind and let us save our premier institute of learning.

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