HPU Campus: An unfair deal being imposed on students, their protests ignored, rights curtailed
SHIMLA-HPU campus is echoing with protesting voices against anti-student policies formed by HPU authorities under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Prof. ADN Bajpai. These voices are growing louder as the VC is trying to impose his faulty strategies on students like poor implementations of RUSA, huge fee hike, and his trick to do away with the SCA protests by deferring the elections.
Other than protest from all individual student organizations, now, the research scholars pursuing their Ph.D at HPU approached the VC with their plea to reduce the hiked fees, but they received a denial through a very absurd statement from him. The VC said, “If you can’t pay the fee, then quite HPU.”
Yesterday, along with SFI, ABVP was also seen protesting separately with students sitting on a chain strike. While SFI’s chain hunger strike had entered 12th day today, it was the second day for ABVP. NSUI is also protesting against the same issues, but they are still hesitant to go against their patron political party, which form the present Govt.
That’s a matter of great concern for those who believe in democracy. Sadly, very few could comprehend it and dare to rise against such dictatorial behavior. In no way, the VC could say that to students, because the university is meant for students. The aim of a Govt. university in a democratic state should be to provide fee education if resources allow, or it should try to keep the fees minimum in every case.
Most of us are quite acquainted with the fact that HPU students are protesting continuously from past few months, rather, right after A.D.N. Bajpai joined the university as new Vice Chancellor three years ago.
The biggest shock for students came when the fees were hiked like there is scarcity of education supply from somewhere. Some of the fees are hiked upto five times of the present fees like thesis submission fee for research scholars was Rs. 2000 earlier, which is now Rs. 10000.
Vice Chancellor claims that the fees were hiked after studying the fee structure of universities in the neighboring states. Well, Delhi University, which ranks number 1 in India, charges no fee for thesis submission, while HPU, which doesn’t even stand in top 50 universities, is charging Rs. 10000 from research scholars. DU charges no registration fee from Ph.D scholars, while HPU used to charge 1000, which is now raised to Rs. 3000-5000. The annual fee for scholars is Rs. 1000 in DU and 6000 in Banaras Hindu University. Not only DU, but fees are almost half in other A grade universities like Banaras Hindu University. Rather, the top universities don’t charge anything for many formalities, and HPU has hiked them like rocket launch in single go.
The reason, according to the VC, is to improve quality and grade of the University. Also, deferring SCA elections and his decision to go for indirect election for the student body will put a check on violent clashes between student organizations, thus, improving the academic environment at HPU. He also promised more facilities and better grade for the institution.
As a matter of fact, SCA elections were once banned at HPU, but that did not help to curb the existence of student organizations. The students had still formed groups, their clashes had continued, and most of all, they still have the right to protest. The administration thinks, averting SCA elections will help them get rid of student protests, but that’s not going to happen for sure.
The students we are talking about here aren’t school going adolescence who need to be forced to make choices. The environment at a higher education institute doesn’t require force. The students are mature enough to make their choices.
Now, if we take a look at the history of HPU, then we will find that it’s due to student protests that HPU hadn’t turned into a costly wholesale shop of degrees and diplomas. The corrupt practices were often exposed by these student organizations, the check on ragging, student help-desks, free coaching classed for entrance exams, cultural activities like biannual SCA function, recreational picnics, and many other events are made possible by SCA year after year.
The Govt. and the VC couldn’t even provide hostels to girl students as all the available hostels were already overcrowded. These girls were forced to rent personal spaces, which cost them a lot. HPU still don’t have proper internet facility for its students. Lacs of rupees were sanctioned to install Wi-Fi facility, but there is no news of what happened to that money. Then, the HPU had received various kind of funds for campus beautification and other facilities, but the present scene depicts that the hostels are rotting, the campus is filled with garbage, the toilets don’t have doors and even taps, the labs are running on expired chemicals and outdated tools, no provision of projectors or any kind of modern tools meant to aid in academics, and most of the HPU affiliated colleges are short of teachers. Hundreds of faculty seats are vacant in almost every college in Himachal. After the implementation of RUSA, the results are late by months.
There isn’t sufficient space for research scholars to sit. The library doesn’t have any generator in case there are power cuts. The students who use 24 hours section at night are helpless in case there is no light. The university administration isn’t computerized, and still running on paper files. The placements cells aren’t operational. The faculty members as well as the administrative staff is politically biased or under influence of the external forces.
The only thing that sounds positive about HPU is the student activism, their spirit to protest against uselessness of the administration, and raise their voice against the corrupt practices.
Take a moment to contemplate on what lures these students to stage protests, sit long hunger strikes, some of which have lasted for over a month, then the fast until death, to tolerate the police cane charges. The elected SCA members don’t get red beacon cars, residence, security or any kind of privileges from HPU, but still, everytime there are unfair decisions and corrupt activities on the part of both the administration and any of student organizations, these student appears to stage protests, knowing that the misuse of police is ensured to suppress their voices, to terrorize them. We have seen ample example of how the additional post of DSP was created especially to appoint Shiv Chaudary for HPU security.
The newspapers and media do bring the information to the public, but many critical facts never find any place owing to their mutual understanding with Govt. and the administration.
On Tuesday, a panel of HPU girl students approached the VC in order to express their distress over increased fees. Instead of listing to them, the VC threatened to get them out of hostels if they tried to protest in anyway. Also, when the protests grow massive and aggressive, the VC doesn’t mind missing the university. His solution is not to attend and consider student grievance.
The point is that a very unfair deal is being imposed on HPU students, they are being burdened under huge course fees, they are studying in the absence of even basic facilities, and they are protesting against it. They need our support. We might be proud and all praise for the freedom fighters and enjoy nice holidays on their names, but when it comes to actually follow and execute their principals, most of us go clueless.