The recent resignation conundrum in Ashoka University has caused a lot of chatter amongst the liberal intelligentsia of the country. The centre of the controversy is one, partisan and a Congress stooge/professor named Pratap Bhanu Mehta. The Liberal arts professor in his resignation letter told Ashoka University Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar that he is quitting because his association with the university may be “considered a political liability”.
“After a meeting with founders, it has become abundantly clear to me that my association with the university may be considered a political liability. My public writing in support of a politics that tries to honour constitutional values of freedom and equal respect for all citizens, is perceived to carry risks for the university,” stated Mehta in the letter.
“It is clear it is time for me to leave Ashoka. A liberal university will need a liberal political and social context to flourish. I hope the university will play a role in securing that environment. Nietzsche once said that “no living for truth is possible in a university.” I hope that prophecy does not come true,” Mehta added.
As soon as Mehta vaguely pointed at the political games at play behind his resignation, the entire liberal brigade stood up like a flock of zombies from the movie ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and started disparaging, none other than, the Modi government for the unceremonious ouster of the professor.
Just to make it clear for the reader, a private university, funded by private players, seemingly wilted under the command of a ruling party that wanted a professor to be sidelined. As preposterous and corny this insinuation sounds, the Lutyens as well as the Khan market gang is incessantly peddling this narrative to somehow corner the Modi government.
However, it is clear that the founders of Ashoka University grew tired of Mehta’s charade of partisanship where he openly foul-mouthed the current government. As a professor, it is one thing to critique the government on its policies and decisions but making politically motivated remarks that only an opposition leader can make without any substance, surely doesn’t augur well for a professor who claims to be neutral and dispassionate in his approach.
In an interview to the anti-government portal The Wire, Pratap had said, “Even though the government is committed to winning elections to secure power, in every other way it ticks the checklist of fascist qualities”. Mehta claimed that “colloquially speaking, this is a fascist government and it is, therefore, not incorrect to use that term”. He also alleged that the current situation is worse than Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
Speaking at the India Today conclave ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mehta rued that the Indian democracy was in “crisis” and there was a “deep diminishing of hope”. He said there is “something happening” to the democracy which is “mutilating the democratic soul” of India.
For Mehta, a political party trying to win elections equates to a fascist quality. This explains why Congress is one of the fan favourites of the liberal brigade of the country as the grand old party under Rahul Gandhi has practically given up on winning elections because it is not a fascist party.
Using heavy dystopian words like ‘Mutilation of the democracy’ and ‘fascism are the usual tropes of a morally bankrupt, partisan ‘intellectual’ personality of the left.
Surely, founders of the Ashoka University understood that the students need not be taught these ‘pathbreaking observations’, and therefore were planning to bring the sledgehammer on the professor. However, sensing the situation turning against him, a panicked Pratap tried to take the narrative in his hand and thus manufactured the ‘Modi government’ angle.
But the public has seen right through Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s malfeasance and however much he cries hoarse that it was the central government behind his departure, no one other than his coterie of ‘superintellectuals’ is going to believe his version.