Guha’s decision: AU says it has no role, ABVP claims victory

November 3, 2018

A day after eminent historian Ramchandra Guha announced that he won’t take up a teaching offer at the Ahmedabad University, the ABVP, which was opposing his appointment, claimed victory, even as the varsity asserted that it had no role in Guha’s decision and dismissed suggestions that it had acted under pressure from the RSS’ student wing.
Speaking on the issue on Friday, AU Registrar Bhupendra Shah said the varsity does not act under any pressure and has not done so in this case either. Shah said, “Students of ABVP had come and given a memorandum to us against his (Guha) appointment as a faculty. AU has not and will not act under any such pressure and neither it has acted in this case, when a few students gave a memorandum.”

He added, “The decision was announced by a tweet from Guha. From the AU side, we have not told him anything (to quit). He can only say why he declined after accepting the offer. He has made no communication to us regarding the matter.”

The Ahmedabad university (AU) had announced Guha’s appointment on October 16 and soon after, on October 19, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had submitted a memorandum to varsity authorities asking them to reconsider Guha’s appointment as his writings were “against Indian culture and traditions”.

Guha, who was to join AU as Shrenik Lalbhai Chair Professor of Humanities and director of the Gandhi Winter School, had Thursday tweeted that he shall not be doing so due to “circumstance beyond his control”.

While Guha had not given any reason for his decision Thursday, he hinted at something amiss Friday when a person named Sushil Aaron took to Twitter to rue that “it’s come to a stage that an accomplished historian of modern India can no longer teach where he wants to in the country”.

Replying to Aaron’s tweet, Guha said on Twitter, “Or, more precisely, a biographer of Gandhi cannot teach a course on Gandhi in Gandhis own city.”

On Friday evening, he tweeted, “As a biographer of Gandhi, I argue with words, not weapons. I am willing to debate and dialogue with anybody, and fear nobody. It is for the good people of Ahmedabad (the Board of AU among them) to make this possible, and feasible.”

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