Only Bigoted Crackpots Call JNU AC Post a ‘Reward’: Madhu Kishwar

The faculty alleges that her name was not nominated by them to the Vice Chancellor. 

3 min read
Hindi Female

Scholar-activist Madhu Kishwar has been nominated to the JNU Academic Council (AC) to represent the school of Art & Aesthetics (SAA) by the Vice Chancellor M Jagdesh Kumar. She will serve as an outside expert for two years, as Indian Express reported.

Being an AC member, Kishwar will have the power to decide on matters related to the varsity’s academic policies. The 143rd AC meeting of JNU will be held on Tuesday.

Kishwar responded on Twitter to the claim, saying it was no “reward”.


According to sources, on 3 May a letter was sent to Kishwar for attending a meeting that is expected to debate changes in the university’s admissions policy, which also includes slashing MPhil and PhD seats.

The founding editor of feminist journal Manushi, Kishwar is a graduate of Miranda House and JNU. She has widely researched and written on gender and politics.

However, the move has not gone down well with a section of the faculty, including SAA’s Dean. They have criticised her nomination alleging that her name wasn’t among at least the four that each department suggests to the VC from which one is usually picked.

SAA’s Dean Bishnupriya Dutt said:

We were given a letter asking us to suggest names of experts pertaining to the discipline. We sent six names of people who are prominent in the field of arts. Her (Kishwar’s) name wasn’t part of the list because she has nothing to do with the study of the arts.

Dutt said that the faculty was confused as to why the names they suggested were rejected and someone unrelated to the discipline was elected.

It has never happened before in the 17 years of this school’s existence. Until date, one of the names – and usually the first name on the list – is the one that has been selected by the VC. We have asked the Registrar the reason why this happened; I am sure they have a logical explanation for this.

Kishwar was unaware of her nomination and claimed that she did not apply for it either.

Replying to the Dean’s critique of her not being related to the discipline of cinema studies, theatre and visual studies, Kishwar said:

I have made several documentaries, at least 13 of them, which have been screened on Doordarshan. I am also working on a book on Bollywood, as well as a book and film on India’s traditional art performers. I have also written countless film reviews. Not that I care about the uproar, but they should at least look at my CV before they speak nonsense.

Ayesha Kidwai, the JNUTA President said that the V-C cited a “mysterious rule” from 2005, “illegally” gave himself powers to nominate members from outside the list given by the schools.


JNU Rector Chintamani Mahapatra denied any wrongdoing or irregularity and said:

There are many provisions in the JNU statutes which give the VC the power to nominate people to different committees, including the AC. Whether a VC is going to nominate on his own or take the advice of the Dean or the school is up to him. This is hundred per cent legal.

He added that expecting the VC to pick from the list given by schools would be a “restriction” of his powers.

On the Dean’s objection he said:

I don’t know why they (teachers) are saying this. If we start evaluating all the past names, then anyone can be similarly blamed. Who’s going to decide who is the best person in a particular field? Every teacher knows that specialisations are very broad; nobody is chosen only on the basis of a narrow specialisation.

Kishwar has been controversial for her changing stance as she shifted from what was seemingly a reformist Left-leaning ideology to a reactionary Rightist position.

Be it her stand on Pakistan or feminist issues, she has done a complete 180-degree flip on such sensitive matters.

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Topics:  Vice Chancellor   JNU   Madhu Kishwar 

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