DU College cancels lecture related to Singhu border, college cites technical problems
Academic-activist Sumial Singh Sidhu has alleged that a lecture titled ‘Baba Farid to Singhu border: The Making of Punjabi Radical Tradition’ was cancelled in the last minute by the administration of Delhi University’s Ramanujan College.
Singh, a Punjab based scholar and historian from Bhatinda, said the online lecture organised by the History department of the college was scheduled on Thursday evening. “I was informed only 10-15 minutes before the lecture time of 5pm that it had been cancelled. I was told that the authorities had some issues with the title of the lecture,” he said.
Singh said that the title was decided in order to summarise the history of Punjabi protest culture. “The college authorities had an issue with the use of ‘Singhu border’ in the title and abruptly cancelled the talk after succumbing to political pressure. The lecture would focus on the rich Punjabi protest culture — starting from the 13th century to the 21st century. It was all about the history and it would have helped the students,” he said.
Singhu border is the epicentre of the ongoing farmers’ protests against the three new farm laws on the borders of the national capital. The farmers are also protesting at the Tikri and the Ghazipur borders.
When contacted Ramanujan college principal SP Agarwal said, “The lecture was cancelled because of some technical problems. We did not cancel it due to its title or content. We always encourage researchers and scholars to come and deliver lectures for our students. I will discuss this issue with the concerned department and we will reschedule it whenever possible.”
Responding to which Singh said, “If there was really a technical error, the college would have informed me and others waiting to join the lecture after 5pm and not 10-15 minutes before it.”
Several faculty members in the university too criticised the college administration for cancelling the lecture. Naveen Gaur, an associate professor in Dyal Singh College, said, “This is indicative of the unease of college administration about discussing any issue that could be contrary to the government’s position. This is exactly opposite to what an academic institution should do.”