In solidarity with the Department of Hindi, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) organised a march against the caste discrimination within the department, joined by other student organistaions like All India Students’ Association (AISA), and Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS).
The post of the Head of Department (HoD) in the Department of Hindi at Delhi University (DU) has been lying vacant for the past three weeks after the end of the tenure of the last HOD on 12th September. Two veteran members of the department, Professors Sheoraj Singh Bechain and K N Tripathi, have both staked claim to the post. Essentially, there are two ways in which someone can become a Professor — either by direct recruitment to the post, or by promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).
In the case of the Department of Hindi, Mr. Singh was a direct recruit whereas Mr. Tripathi comes under the CAS bracket, which has led to a contest.
As stated in a Press Release by SFI, despite the completion of all official formalities, and submission of a memorandum and a letter to the Vice Chancellor, as a reminder for the urgency of a new head, there has been no progress for an appointment. The Vice Chancellor had already completed all formalities with the last HoD with respect to appointing the next Head, and yet there is an unexplained delay. There has been no communication initiated with the department, and no official announcement has been made with respect to the appointment.
Professor Sheoraj Singh Bechain, the senior-most faculty has been appointed to be the head. He is also one of the very few Dalit professors in DU. He has actively contributed to Dalit Literature, and is a renowned personality in the anti-caste writing sphere. It is to be noted that there has been no Dalit member to have been appointed as a HoD in DU.
SFI members along with College professors marched from the Faculty of Arts to the Vice Chancellor’s office demanding the appointment of Professor Bechain with respect to the seniority clause. Hansraj Suman from Academic Forum for Social Justice, told The Times of India, “We demand the department release the seniority list and based on that, professor Singh should be given the charge of HoD without delay.” The student wing SFI condemned the Vice Chancellor’s lethargy being due to the Professor’s low caste.
There has been no response with respect to the March from the Vice Chancellor’s office.
Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat