Feb 25, 2010

A Twisted Tale: Prof Siras Controversy

The Aligarh Muslim University is one of the nation’s premier educational institutions. In keeping with its repute as an institution par excellence, I’m sure lecturers and professors employed by the university are recruited only after a rigorous selection process. My meager knowledge and some amount of personal experience in college-level teaching revealed that even after the selection, one is usually required to spend several arduous years presenting papers at international symposiums, organizing mind-numbing departmental seminars, advising n number of research scholars, only after which they are eligible for tenure or professorship.

There is little doubt then that scholars who finally make it to the teaching ranks of such institutions, are some of the brightest and most gifted minds in their particular disciplines. Whether they choose to eat meat or not bath on Sundays or nurture a foot fetish or believe in abortion or choose to live with people of the same sex should in no way be our concern, no? No. That’s not what the VC of this prestigious university would have us believe.

The university has suspended a professor SR Siras after the university received a video of the professor indulging in same sexual activity with another man. While it is still unclear who taped the entire saga (a bunch of righteous students or some news channel desperate for breaking news), what is astonishing is the university’s stance where it blatantly flouts ones right to privacy by condemning Siras instead of the mischief makers. According to the VC, “Homosexuality is not good for them and so such act(s) could not be allowed on campus.” There are a couple of questions one wants to ask:

Is homosexuality akin to sugar for a diabetic that he offers his easy diagnosis of ‘not good’? In what ways is it bad? Has it been established beyond irrefutable doubt that it leads to criminal tendencies or religious intolerance or lower life expectancy?

Second, are people, even university students who are open or closet homosexuals, looking for permission to the VC? Isn’t his authority relegated to matters of administration and curriculum?

A peculiar paradox embedded in this entire sordid saga is the role of Islam and the way it views homosexuality. While the AMU continues to accept funds from NRI muslim donors, it has no choice but to sack people like Sarai even if many of the same donors are guilty of polygamy. The AMU would certainly not sack a professor if he was married to 2 or more women simultaneously, citing the muslim personal law as a defense. One wonders – it is ok to practice polygamy but not homosexuality, it is ok to bomb innocent civilians but not touch alcohol. Strange world indeed.


Shoumitro said...

instead of punishing those who have barged on somebody's private life by carrying out the sting operation, the innocent has been punished! and the media, the chatter rooms, almost silent!!
despair, despair!

indiana said...

a peculiar case of personal choice and decorum of the post of a prof.

the VC had no choice but to suspend! maybe pending enquiry to find out how the prof. got himself on tape doing it with another guy.

i guess even if he was doing it with a woman on tape, he still would have been suspended.

drift wood said...

yes despair is what i feel. more than the ruling, the hypocrisy, the vested interests, the set-ups - all those are more upsetting.

why didn't the VC have a choice? the tape was not made by Siras, nor did he distribute free copies of it. it was made by a bunch of journalists which later probe has revealed may have been recruited by some members of the administrative staff who held a grudge against Siras for being a practising homoexual.
a man chooses to make love in the confines of his home
and is therefore suspended? are u actually saying that all univ personnel practice celibacy? i am really lost.