Scholar, activist and journalist, Madhu Kishwar has been named in Jawaharlal Nehru University‘s Academic Council (AC) to represent the School of Arts & Aesthetics (SAA) as an outside expert for two years. The university’s Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar nominated Kishwar for the job on Tuesday, May 9.

As part of the Academic Council, Kishwar will have right to decide on matters related to JNU’s academic policies. Kishwar was sent a letter to attend the university’s 143rd AC meeting that would focus on changes in the admissions policy like deep cuts in MPhil and PhD seats.

However, the move has disturbed the dean of SAA, Bishnupriya Dutt, among others in the faculty who are criticising Kishwar’s induction in the Academic Council. Some teachers even said that her name was not there in the list of experts provided by the School to the V-C.

“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, as reported by Indian Express.

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“We are very confused and bewildered as to why these names were rejected and somebody who has no connection with our discipline was selected. 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 V-C. We have asked the Registrar the reason why this happened; I am sure they have a logical explanation for this,” she added.

The VC is supposed to pick one name from a list of names provided by every school from outside the university. Every school needs to put four names in the list.

Kishwar had no idea about her nomination and has claimed that she did not even apply for the job.  However, she responded to Dutt’s comments and told IE, “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.”

Kishwar will be succeeding Ravi Vasudevan from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), a film studies scholar, in the AC. The founding editor of ‘Manushi’, Kishwar has graduated from Miranda House and JNU. In 2013, she wrote a series of articles titled ‘Modinama’ in her magazine ‘Manushi’, critically analyzing the role of media in accessing Modi’s role in Gujarat riots of 2002.

Picture credit- Patriots Forum