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Row over HRD Ministry’s diktat on PhD topics, 'shocked' Kerala professor quits in protest

Meena T Pillai, A Professor At The Central University Of Kerala Resigned From Her Post In Protest Against The HRD Ministry's Move To Restrict PhD Topics.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Shashikant Sharma | Updated on: 25 Mar 2019, 11:57:07 AM
Meena T Pillai (Photo: Facebook)

New Delhi:

Meena T Pillai, a member of the Board of Studies of English and Comparative Literature at the Central University of Kerala, has resigned from her post in protest against the HRD Ministry’s order asking researchers to pursue PhD only on topics of “national interests”. After receiving the order from the HRD Ministry, the Kerala University had issued a circular on March 13.

The circular reads, "All the Heads of the Department are hereby directed to convene the meeting of faculties and to prepare a shelf of projects to be taken for research study pertaining to their subject considering national priorities. The student can opt from the shelf of projects."

Reacting to the order, professor Pillai said that the circular was shocking to her. She also asked who will decide what are the national priorities and that why should research be restricted.

"I was absolutely shocked when I read this circular. How can a circular like this be passed to all departments, and remain unnoticed? The only thing I could do is resign from the board. I thought it was a very insignificant act on my behalf, but the only thing I could do. Who decides what national priorities are? And why should research be restricted to just that?" NDTV quoted the professor as saying.

The HRD Ministry’s move to restrict the PhD topics was also criticised by Congress president Rahul Gandhi who took a jibe at Education Minister Prakash Javadekar over the circular.

"Now, self-attested wise minister (Javadekar) of a very wise Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) will tell the intellectuals of the country how they should do their work. It has been rightly said that 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Another Congress leader and parliamentarian from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor termed the HRD ministry’s instruction “disgraceful” and asked people to join professor Pillai’s protest by voting against the “troglodytes”.

"Disgraceful HRD instruction that researchers can pursue PhDs only on topics of 'national interest' prompts Kerala professor to quit. The rest of us can join her protest by voting the troglodytes out!" Tharoor wrote on Twitter.

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First Published : 25 Mar 2019, 11:49:18 AM