Ramachandra Guha Didn’t Inform Us About Reasons For Quitting: AU

Aligarh University says Guha took the decision to quit on his own with no pressure exerted from the varsity.

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In a single tweet on Thursday, 1 November, renowned historian and biographer Ramchandra Guha announced that he is walking away from teaching at the Ahmedabad University.

On 16 October, the author of GANDHI: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948, had declared that he will be joining as the Shrenik Lalbhai Chair Professor of Humanities and Director of the Gandhi Winter School at the University's School of Arts and Sciences.

In his tweet on 1 November, Guha said, “Due to circumstances beyond my control, I shall not be joining Ahmedabad University. I wish AU well; it has fine faculty and an outstanding Vice Chancellor. And may the spirit of Gandhi one day come alive once more in his native Gujarat.”

Ahmedabad University claims that the decision to quit was taken by Guha, and the varsity knew about it through his tweet. In his latest tweet, Guha has said that he is willing to debate anybody and its upto to the board of Ahmedabad University to make such a dialogue feasible.

Aligarh University says Guha took the decision to quit on his own with no pressure exerted from the varsity.
Ahmedabad University
Photo courtesy:

From Elation to Controversy Within a Fortnight

On 16 October, an elated Guha in a statement expressed his happiness to teach at Ahmedabad University.

“Ahmedabad has a great tradition of public-spirited philanthropy in the sphere of higher education; and Ahmedabad University is a notable renewal and extension of that tradition. I am absolutely delighted to be joining the faculty of Ahmedabad University. I am impressed by the University’s inter-disciplinary approach, its mix of sagacious older and superb younger faculty, and its visionary leadership.”  
Ramchandra Guha’s statement on 16 October, after he accepted the faculty position in Ahmedabad University

When The Quint spoke to Guha, he categorically refused to comment further on the reasons behind quitting the teaching position and said, “I have made my position very clear in the tweet, there is nothing more I wish to add.”

According to the Indian Express, the AU administration reached out to Guha on Monday to discuss the possibility of deferring the date of his joining. He was supposed to join AU on 1 February 2019.

However, the varsity claims that they had no idea about Guha’s reasons to reject the teaching position although they did receive a memorandum from Akhil Bhartiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP) protesting Guha’s appointment.

“You see, even we got the news after Mr Guha’s tweet. This becomes news for us if we had asked Mr Guha to step down. In this particular scenario, Mr Guha was the one who took the call. We do not know what his reasons are to back out from the teaching opportunity. All we can say is we aren’t under anyone’s pressure to not admit Mr Guha as our faculty.”
BM Shah, Registrar of Ahmedabad University

Sociologist Gurang Jani, who teaches at the Department of Sociology in Gujarat University, said, “This is the first instance in Gujarat when someone of Mr Guha’s reputation had to pull out of the teaching faculty. Something similar was seen when MF Hussain had set up his exhibition years ago in the city. At that time too, right-wing activists protested his show and Hussain never returned to the city.

“It is unfortunate that someone of Mr Guha’s stature who has wrote extensively about Gandhi and Gandhian philosophy does not feel welcome at Gandhi’s home. This certainly has a negative impact on the foundation of the state’s education.”
Dr Gaurang Jani, Department of Sociology, Gujarat University

Fear of Backlash From ABVP

“We are delighted that Ram Guha will be part of the evolving story of Ahmedabad University as we establish new standards in Indian higher education. With the interest in liberal education gaining impetus in India, Guha will bring his interpretation of history including environmental, political, contemporary and even cricket history to develop interesting and powerful programmes and research that stand at the confluence of various disciplines. Equally important, his presence will help the University build our own dialogue around Gandhi.”
Pankaj Chandra, Vice Chancellor of Ahmedabad University, on Ramchandra Guha’s appointment as faculty on 16 October
Aligarh University says Guha took the decision to quit on his own with no pressure exerted from the varsity.
Copy of the memorandum submitted by the ABVP to Ahmedabad University against Ramchandra Guha’s appointment t
Photo Courtsey: Rahul Nair
The ABVP’s memorandum sent to AU on 19 October carried excerpts from Guha’s book Makers of Modern India where Guha has lampooned the RSS ideology and critiqued Hindutva ideology.

Kush Pandya, Secretary of ABVP Ahmedabad, told The Quint that the ABVP did not protest Guha’s appointment, but had sent a memorandum to the chancellor requesting him to cancel Guha’s appointment.

“Our protest would have been held on the streets and we would have called the media to turn it into a spectacle. Mr Guha supports the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang and its ilk in JNU. As for people living in Gujarat, we are well-versed in the teachings of Gandhi and Patel. We will always welcome intellectuals to our state, but we don’t need people who are here to plant seeds of division with anti-national message.
Kush Pandya, Secretary of ABVP, Ahmedabad

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Topics:  ABVP   ahmedabad   Ramchandra Guha 

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