A Delhi University college has sacked five ad hoc faculty members with whom it had started its sociology department and replaced them with regular teachers, some of whom are known followers of the RSS ideology.
The development at the Indraprastha College for Women comes a fortnight after DU-affiliated Satyawati (Evening) College controversially sacked six ad hoc Hindi teachers, five of whom had worked there for over a decade.
Several teachers’ organisations have written to DU vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh opposing the Satyawati sackings and claiming many of the replacements have poorer qualifications.
Apoorvanand, a Hindi professor at DU, said Indraprastha had started its sociology department with six ad hoc faculty members. One of them left the college last month; the five others were rejected by a selection committee set up for the appointment of regular assistant professors.
Those appointed include an academic who did her PhD on the topic “Sociological analysis of social philosophy of Sri Madhav Sadashivrao Golwalkar”. Golwalkar, RSS chief from 1940 to 1973, was a leading proponent of a Hindu Rashtra.
Another appointee is a former activist of RSS campus wing ABVP.
Apoorvanand said that ad hoc teachers were being sacked “mainly to appoint RSS people”.
“It’s being done on the recommendations of the RSS office, RSS functionaries and RSS channels like the National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF),” Apoorvanand said.
“The academic credentials of the people being appointed are suspect. The contributions made by the existing (sacked) faculty members are being ignored.”
He added: “The university and the colleges must explain how people who had served for five or ten years were suddenly found unsuitable. A generation of students will suffer because of such (questionable) appointments. In Jawaharlal Nehru University, they have appointed such people. Now they are doing it in DU colleges.”
Hansraj Suman, a faculty member at Sri Aurobindo College and a member of the BJP-backed NDTF, said that teachers’ groups like the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) and Academics for Action and Development (AAD) never allowed the university administration to appoint regular faculty members despite repeated letters from regulator UGC between 2008 and 2013.
“The DTF and AAD always protested against the appointment process and demanded that ad hoc faculty members be absorbed,” Suman said, suggesting that such tactics ended up sabotaging both fresh appointments and regularisation of ad hoc teachers.
“This prevented any appointment for five-six years. Dinesh Singh as VC appointed some faculty members in 2014-15 but the reservation policy was not properly followed.”
Suman added: “These (teacher) organisations wanted to keep the ad hoc faculty members hanging for political gain.”
He said that ad hoc faculty members were eligible to vote in the DU Teachers Association elections. During the last DUTA elections, ad hoc faculty members realised that the DTF and AAD would stall the process of appointments if elected, and their joint candidate for president was therefore defeated last week, Suman claimed.
A member of AAD and a member of the DTF denied Suman’s allegations.
Abha Dev Habib from the DTF said the Left group was always opposed to contractual appointments. She said the demand for the absorption of ad hoc teachers was justified since they had spent years serving the university.
Habib said appointments to the university had been put on hold after 2010 when teachers opposed the introduction of the semester system that changed their workloads.
Then VC Dinesh Singh appointed about 800 regular faculty members in 2014-15. In 2017, the UGC controversially said that reservations should be implemented department-wise, not by taking the university as one unit. This was annulled through a law in 2019. All this delayed the appointment process, Habib said.
Apoorvanand blamed university authorities for keeping ad hoc teachers’ regularisation hanging for over a decade.
Separate emails have been sent to VC Yogesh Singh and Indraprastha principal Poonam Kumria seeking their comments on the removal of ad hoc teachers and the allegation of questionable appointments. Their responses are awaited.