The underlying circumstances that led to [it] will not change for the foreseeable future, says the professor
Political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta has instructed Ashoka University students that he’ll not withdraw his resignation as “the underlying circumstances that led to [it] will not change for the foreseeable future.”
In a letter to his students within the early hours of Sunday, Prof Mehta insisted that his time with Ashoka University was a closed chapter. “[It] is not an easy decision. But it is, for me, the only honourable thing to do, consistent with my values; values I think you share. I also believe it is in the best interests of the university,” he wrote. “The underlying circumstances that led to the resignation will not change for the foreseeable future, in my case, at any rate,” he added.
He resigned earlier this week after a gathering with the University’s founders made it clear his affiliation with the establishment might be thought of a “political liability”. Fellow professor and former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian resigned in solidarity two days later, saying the University might “no longer provide a space for academic expression and freedom.”
On Saturday, the coed union introduced a two day boycott of lessons from Monday to demand that the college supply Prof Mehta his job again with a public acknowledgement of the pressures behind his resignation. In his letter, Prof. Mehta urged them not to press him on the matter as “your mission is larger than the fate of two Professors”. Recalling his earlier resignation as Ashoka’s vice chancellor two years in the past, he added that he did not need to “tempt fate again”.
He appreciated the students’ protest, noting that “It was about Ashoka’s institutional integrity. But it was also about the dark and ominous shadows that loom over India democracy.” He additionally urged the students to work with the trustees and college “to secure the institutional autonomy and freedom Ashoka needs”.
Asserting that “the dark shadows of authoritarianism are also hovering over us, putting us all in often uncomfortable and sometimes dishonourable positions”, he famous that it might not be sufficient to lament the looming darkness, and expressed confidence that his students would shine a light-weight as an alternative.
Recalling the texts of philosophy and political science he had taught them by way of the yr, Prof. Mehta added, “But what you taught us is something more valuable: that liberal values are more about having a character than they are about professing a creed.”