Professor Arthur Kleinman poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Arthur Kleinman, Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology and Victor and William Fung Director, Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard University, poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

arthur

From: Kleinman, Arthur
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 3:35 PM
To: ‘vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>’; ‘rector@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:rector@mail.jnu.ac.in>’; ‘registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in>’; ‘chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in>’

Subject: Intimidation of students and faculty

To Whom It May Concern:

I write with a deep sense of sadness and shock about the gross infringement of freedom of speech among your students. The charge of sedition lodged with a student leader and the police action at JNU are violations of basic academic rights, freedoms which I have always associated with JNU. You must stand up to governmental and public pressure and protect the sacred academic right of students to speak out critically in protest. Failure to do so will redound on JNU in the most

Arthur Kleinman, M.D.
Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
and Professor of Medical Anthropology and Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
and Victor and William Fung Director, Harvard University Asia Center

Professor Webb Keane poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Webb Keane, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

wkeane

From: Webb Keane
Sent: February 22, 2016 9:52:20 AM EST
To: vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>, registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in>, rector@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:rector@mail.jnu.ac.in>, chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in>

Subject: A threat to a great university

Dear Sirs,

We are following with deep concern and distress the developments at JNU, a crown jewel of the Indian university system. As admirers of your great nation, we who observe from overseas fear the current violence and suppression of critical voices will cause irreparable damage to this great institution, and urge you to exert your authority to defend freedom of speech and the rights of dissent.

Webb Keane
George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor
Department of Anthropology University of Michigan
101 West Hall Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107

Professor Diana L Eck poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Diana L Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

diana_eck

From: “Eck, Diana L.”
Date: Feb 22, 2016 11:40
Subject: What is Happening to JNU?
To: “vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>” <vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>>

Dear Sir:

It is astonishing and deeply troubling to see that the lively discussion of critical issues at JNU has resulted in the arrest and detention of the JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiyya Kumar on charge of sedition.

Sedition? Is this a term that can be used in the context of a modern and distinguished University? Is it consistent with the character of a democratic nation or of a great university like JNU to criminalize dissent and bring police to the campus? We at Harvard have had difficult times of dissent and harsh criticism of the government and of the University itself. This is part of the free exchange of ideas and the freedom of speech that is necessary for the free institutions of democracy to thrive. This is not always easy in a university, but isn’t this who we are as institutions of learning? The perception that the Indian state is increasingly resorting to intervention to suppress views it finds threatening is itself threatening. Please do not acquiesce in this move to undermine a great university like JNU.

Sincerely,

Diana L. Eck

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies
Frederick Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society
Harvard University

Professor Michael Fischer poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Michael Fischer, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

fischer

From: “Michael M. J. Fischer”
Date: Feb 22, 2016 10:12
Subject: JNU crisis of credibility

To: “vc@mail.jnu.ac.in” <vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>, “rector@mail.jnu.ac.in” <rector@mail.jnu.ac.in>, “registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in” <registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in>, “chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in” <chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in>

Why has JNU given up all claim to normal University processes and the establishment of an independent Committee of Enquiry regarding the use of police on campus and the arrest of the student President and other students? Has JNU given up its defense of freedoms of speech, protest and debate in the name of enforcement of an anti-democratic ideology?

Michael Fischer
Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies

Professor Michael Lambek poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Michael Lambek, FRSC Canada Research Chair & Chair, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto Scarborough, poses a few questions to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Lambek-2013-300x238

Subject: recent events at JNU
From: “Michael Lambek”
Date: Mon, February 22, 2016 7:51 am
To: vc@mail.jnu.ac.in
rector@mail.jnu.ac.in
registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in
chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in

Dear colleagues,

Canadian scholars are perplexed, saddened, and outraged at recent events at JNU. Why have you abrogated the fundamental principle of free speech on your campus? Why have you jumped to unwarranted conclusions and why have
you called so precipitously on the police?

Sincerely,

Michael Lambek


Michael Lambek, FRSC
Canada Research Chair &
Chair, Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto Scarborough
Toronto, Canada

Veena Das poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University, poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Veena_Das_sw_546

From: Veena Das
Date: February 21, 2016 9:34:02 PM EST
To: vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:vc@mail.jnu.ac.in> Cc: rector@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:rector@mail.jnu.ac.in>, registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in>, chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in>

Subject: from a concerned academic

To

The Vice-Chancellor
Jawaharlal University
New Delhi

Dear Vice-chancellor,

I am appalled that under your leadership, the freedom of thought stands completely abrogated at JNU. Could you please explain why you have allowed a brand of vigilantism exercised by the goons of the various front organizations of the BJP to intimidate students and faculty who interrogate the use of death penalty and outdated sedition laws to muzzle any protests? What gives you the authority to decide that shouting of slogans constitutes prima facie evidence of sedition? Why have you overlooked normal university procedures in setting up an Enquiry Committee without any clear terms of reference? As the chief academic officer of the university how do you explain your failure to prevent the atmosphere of intimidation and even physical violence against students on your campus?

Yours sincerely

Veena Das
Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology
Johns Hopkins University
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor Jan Kregel poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Jan Kregel, eminent economist and Director of Research, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Jan Kregel

From: Jan Kregel
Date: February 21, 2016 at 05:08:10 EST
To: vc@mail.jnu.ac.in, chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in, registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in, rector@jnu.ac.in
Subject: Conditions at JNU

Dear Vice Chancellor,

Could you please explain why without any clear evidence and after two days had passed without any trouble on the campus, you decided the matter was so serious and urgent to ignore normal University processes and to create an Enquiry Committee into the alleged “seditious” incident without adequate representation or clear terms of reference?

Jan Kregel,
Director of Research
Director, Master of Science in Economic Theory and Policy;
Levy Economics Institute of Bard College,
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, US

Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy and Director, South Asian Institute, Columbia University, poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy and Director, South Asian Institute, Columbia University, poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

From: Akeel Bilgrami

Date: February 21, 2016 at 3:52:43 PM EST

To: registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in>, RECTOR RECTOR <rector@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:rector@mail.jnu.ac.in>>, chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in <mailto:chancellor@mail.jnu.ac.in>

Dear Vice Chancellor, Since the evidence that is now available seems to strongly suggest that the video of Mr. Kumar’s speech was doctored and since the video is, in any case, legally inadmissable as evidence, would you please make clear to the many admirers of Jawaharlal Nehru University who do not wish it to fall into ill repute: On what grounds has the Registrar of the university made the claim that there is ‘irrefutable proof’ that establish the charge brought against Mr. Kumar?

With my best wishes,

Akeel Bilgrami

Akeel Bilgrami
Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy,
Professor, Committee on Global Thought,
Director, South Asian Institute,
Columbia University

Professor Noam Chomsky poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

Noam Chomsky poses a question to the JNU Vice Chancellor

chomsky

From: Noam Chomsky
Date: Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 11:45
Subject: Crisis at JNU
To: vc@mail.jnu.ac.in <vc@mail.jnu.ac.in>
Cc: rector@mail.jnu.ac.in <rector@mail.jnu.ac.in>, registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in <registrar@mail.jnu.ac.in>
Dear Vice Chancellor,
Many of us remain very concerned about the crisis in JNU, which was apparently created and precipitated by the government and University administration with no credible evidence of any seditious activities on campus.
Why did you allow the police on campus when it is clear that this was not legally required?
Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor (retired)
MIT
Cambridge MA 02139 USA