For the very first time in this decade, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is making the headlines for some good reason. The University was surrounded with negative news for their anti-establishment propaganda especially anti-national sloganeering. This time JNU is in news for a move advocating gender equality and nationalism.
JNU gets a new VC
For last six years, JNU was being run by Vice-Chancellor M Jagdesh Kumar whose tenure expired a year ago. For the last year, Kumar was working as the Acting VC of JNU. Last week he was appointed as the chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). He happily handed the university over to Dr Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit. Dr Pandit is appointed by the Ministry of Education as the Vice-Chancellor of JNU for five years.
— Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) (@JNU_official_50) February 7, 2022
All you need to know about Dr Pandit
Indian Nationalist born in USSR
Dr Pandit was born on 15 July 1962 to Dr Dhulipudi Anjaneyulu and Prof. Mulamoodi Adilakshmi in St. Petersburg, Russia (then USSR). Dr Pandit’s mother was a Professor of Tamil and Telugu at the Leningrad Oriental Faculty Department, and her father is an author, a journalist and holds the dignity of a retired civil servant. Dr Pandit is well versed in four languages other than English and Hindi as Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Sanskrit. Other than this she can understand Kanada, Malayalam and Konkani.
Academic Accolades of Dr Pandit
Dr Pandit was very studious since childhood. She topped the state of Tamil Nadu in 12th standard. She then pursued a bachelor’s degree in History and Social Psychology from Presidency College of Madras. She was a Gold Medallist there. She completed her master’s in political science from the same college.
Her world expanded after she entered the Jawaharlal Nehru University for her pre-doctoral degree. Dr Pandit completed her M.Phil. in International Relations with the first rank in the University in 1986. She went to pursue her Doctorate from the same University. She completed her PhD in International Relations at the young age of 28 with a thesis titled, ‘Parliament and Foreign Policy in India- The Nehru Years’. She further went on to do her post-doctoral Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden.
Dr Pandit’s Career in teaching
Dr Pandit began her teaching career in 1988 at Goa University. She switched to Pune University in 1993. She has held several positions at different academic committees. She even served as a member of UGC and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). She has also contributed to several national and international images.
She has been a part of an advisory committee for the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Ministry of Sports. She has been a resource at the Military Intelligence Training School situated in Pune on the Asia Pacific Region and India’s security perceptions since 1995.
Dr Pandit also holds the credit of getting published four books of hers i.e., Parliament and Foreign Policy in India (1990), Restructuring Environmental Governance in Asia- Ethics and Policy (2003) and two co-authored with Dr Rimli Basu- Cultural Diplomacy: Buddhism and India’s Look East Policy and Retreat of the State: Implications of Drug Trafficking in Asia in 2012. She has also contributed more than 170 research papers in different journals on political science and foreign policy. In her career, she has guided over more than 29 PhDs. Dr Pandit was currently associated with the Savitribai Phule University of Pune.
Dr Pandit’s Awards
Dr Pandit has many awards and scholarships in her name. She has won over 200 prizes at state, national and international levels for debates etc. During her Graduation, she won three gold medals.
She has been awarded the Woman Educator Award from Youth Forum for Gandhian Studies in 2003, Veer Savarkar Award in Pune, 2010 and Wisetex award for Women leaders in the next decade for Education in 2004
Dr Pandit: An apologetic Nationalist
After the announcement of her appointment was made public, tweets from an unverified account with her name started floating on the internet. The Netizens began trolling her for the same. The Twitter handle was deleted after this incident.
The backlash Dr Pandit is facing can be linked to her nationalistic values for which she stands unapologetically. She had been a vocal critic of how India’s history has been painted. In a webinar organized by the Political Science Department of Shri Venkateshwara college Pandit criticized the incorrect narrative of Indian History that has been taught to the Indians for decades. She claimed that the NCERT textbooks have been teaching a painted image of not only the ‘Mughals’ but also the ‘Nehru Gandhi Dynasty’. She also went on to openly criticize the whitewashing of the history of ‘Islamic Invasions’ on India.
She did not dodge from speaking about how the sacrifices made by the Indian revolutionaries have been obliterated to build a narrative that the Indian National Movement was a peaceful non-violent movement.
Another reason why the left-liberals are targeting her ruthlessly is her acknowledgement of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. She openly said that one should try to read about Savarkar and his contributions to the freedom struggle before condemning him.