A senior Hindi professor at Patna University has been suspended in connection with a “dance fest” held in his classroom last year.
Incidentally, this was not the first time Hindi department head Matuknath Choudhary faced penal action at the hands of the varsity administration. He was earlier suspended in 2006 for entering into a live-in relationship with a student, an incident that earned him the sobriquet “love guru” on the university campus and prompted his estranged wife to drag him to court.
The professor was reinstated by Raj Bhawan in 2011, over five-and-a-half years after his suspension and subsequent dismissal.
However, the chancellor of universities was again instrumental in suspending him the second time, after students handed over a CD of the dance event – organised during class hours on October 6 last year – to the university authorities.
Sources said the chancellor’s office communicated the suspension order to university vice-chancellor YC Simhadri, who wasted no time in complying.
Choudhary remained defiant, claiming that he had been framed by the university management. “I have done nothing wrong… dance is the message of my life. Yes, dance did happen, but that is not the only reason for my suspension. There is more to it than what meets the eye. I have been framed for not kowtowing to the vice-chancellor,” he said.
“We do organise dance events, and this happened a long time ago. If some people have circulated the CD, they have only done my job of spreading the message of love,” the professor added.
However, university proctor & registrar BK Polai termed holding a dance programme inside the classroom – with teachers gyrating to music while holding girl students by the hand – as unacceptable. “Raj Bhawan had written to us in this regard long ago, but due to a change of guard at the registrar’s office, the letter could not be traced. Once the vice-chancellor came to know about it, he called for prompt action,” said Palai.
The registrar said Choudhary was facing a string of other charges too. He had allegedly stopped the stipend of a junior research fellow on flimsy grounds, despite specific directions issued by the students’ grievance redressal cell. Besides this, he froze the salary of a peon for eight months and refused to revoke it in spite of the recommendations of a panel set up to probe the issue, he added.
Another professor, Dilip Ram, has also been suspended for participating in the dance event along with retired staffer Shankar Prasad.
Following his suspension, Choudhary was replaced by Sardendu – Hindi department head of Patna College – at the university. Sardendu will be succeeded by his colleague, Tarun Kumar, at the college.