Gandhi's biographer can't teach in Gandhi's city: Guha won't join AU

Ramachandra Guha | Photo: Twitter
Historian Ramchandra Guha said on Thursday that he will not join Ahmedabad University (AU), as a newspaper reported that the private institute was under pressure from a right wing student group which is against his appointment as a visiting teacher. 

"Due to circumstances beyond my control, I shall not be joining Ahmedabad University. I wish AU well; it has fine faculty and an outstanding Vice Chancellor. And may the spirit of Gandhi one day come alive once more in his native Gujarat," said Guha on Twitter.

"Or, more precisely, a biographer of Gandhi cannot teach a course on Gandhi in Gandhi’s own city," he said in reponse to a tweet.

A report in The Indian Express claimed on Friday that Guha made the announcement after the AU administration reached out to him on Monday to discuss the possibility of deferring the date of his joining.

The university, according to the report, came under pressure to postpone Guha's appointment after RSS student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) registered protest against the decision.

“We made a representation before AU Registrar B M Shah. We said that we want intellectuals in our educational institutes and not anti-nationals, who can also be termed as ‘urban Naxals’. We had quoted anti-national content from his (Guha’s) books to the Registrar. We told him, the person you are calling is a ‘Communist’. If he is invited to Gujarat, there would be a JNU-kind anti-national sentiment,” the daily quoted ABVP's Ahmedabad city secretary Pravin Desai.

On October 16, AU announced that Guha will join the university as the Shrenik Lalbhai Chair Professor of Humanities and director of the Gandhi Winter School.

AU stated that it was looking forward to develop "interesting and powerful" programmes and research with the help of Guha, who holds an honorary doctorate in Humanities from the Yale University.

"At Ahmedabad University, Guha will help imagine a curriculum that lies at the intersection of history and other streams in the Humanities, as well as explore how history can enrich diverse disciplines, spanning technology, business and even specialisations such as life-sciences, heritage management or environment and energy," the university said in a release.

AU Vice-Chancellor Pankaj Chandra had said, "With the interest in liberal education gaining impetus in India, Dr. Guha will bring his interpretation of history, including environmental, political, contemporary and even cricket history, to develop interesting and powerful programmes and research that stand at the confluence of various disciplines".

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