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Aspiring to Teach at JNU? You need to learn Gaushala Norms and Baby Ethics

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Professors aspiring to teach at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) better be prepared to answer questions like “Have you ever visited a gaushala?”; “Do you have knowledge of animal and baby ethic?” “Is there a gaushala near your work area?” as such were the bizarre series of questions that made up JNU’s criteria to hire professors.

The absurd interview questions came to light in an email sent by Baidik Bhattacharya, an assistant professor at the university’s English department.

In the email, the professor mentioned that he met with the selection committee, which included Vice – Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar to present the idea of an “aesthetic regime” as proposed by French philosopher Jacques Rancière.

The professor went on to tell his colleagues that Kumar kept asking him to end his presentation and said that the professor should have instead focused “baby ethics and animal ethics”. Even the other members in the selection committee reportedly told him to stray away from “foreign thinkers” and concentrate on “our own tradition” after Bhattacharya mentioned that his research on the idea had found place in the prestigious New Literary History.

Seemingly, Bhattacharya is not the only one who went through this absurdity, as a similar experience was shared by Devesh Birwal, an economics professor at Delhi University, who had applied for the position of an assistant professor in JNU’s School of Social Sciences.

Birwal said “…in my interview all the interest was on my visit to gaushalas. I was surprised that just because I have studied livestock and animal husbandry I was asked about gaushala. This was also shocking because the government is very seriously working on doubling farmers’ income, in which livestock plays an important part. There could have been questions on my work or the disposal of cattle,”

Upon contacting NK Taneja, the Vice Chancellor of Meerut’s Chaudhary Charan Singh University and a panel member who interviewed Birwal, he said that he was not the one who asked the gaushala question and that he did not remember who had asked it.

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Vandana, a defence kid, is a cat enthusiast and has an unhealthy obsession with fairy lights and idiyappam. She is currently pursuing English literature from Miranda House, University of Delhi.

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