Protests against discrimination in viva-voce in JNU PhD admission have been called by student organizations at the varsity university students union. The JNU Vice-Chancellor, Director (Admission), and JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) received a memorandum from the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association discussing the matter.
Written and viva voce tests are required for admission to JNU’s PhD programme. Students stated that candidates who received excellent marks in written exams were awarded exceptionally low marks in viva speech, as low as 1 to 5 out of 30. What makes it even more contentious is that all of these students are from the SC, ST, OBC, and Muslim communities.
BAPSA stated it had received testimonials from numerous JNU PhD admission applicants reflecting low and disgraceful viva-voce scores. “The testimonies gathered reveal that the grades are not only unjustified but also humiliating and that there is a caste and religious prejudice for the same,” the group claimed.
According to BAPSA’s letter to the VC, neither the Abdul Nafey committee’s, Rajiv Bhatt committee’s, or S.K.Thorat Committee’s recommendations are implemented in JNU, nor is it ever brought to extreme care about the discriminations in the viva-voce in JNU that they had researched and discovered.
These committees recommend that the viva-voce be reduced from 30 to 15 points, that the viva-voce be made public in its entirety, that one member from reserved categories is included in the interviewer panels, and that an external observer is included in the viva-voce proceedings.
If applicants believe they have been discriminated against, BAPSA sends out a postal campaign asking them to share a screenshot of their admission result.
“Testimonies from several candidates who appeared for viva-voce have come to the attention of JNUSU that they have been marked very low marks, especially in cases of students from marginalised sections, and also a violation of constitutionally mandated reservation policy,” said JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh.
According to Ghosh, “This clearly illustrates how discrimination has occurred in the panel for viva-voce, specifically targeting students from various marginalised classes.”
She also encouraged applicants who believe they have been unfairly treated to contact the students’ union.
The JNU Fraternity Movement has also urged students to oppose this “long-running Brahmanical tradition that has become a hallmark of JNU.”
According to the fraternity, these are the same students that did exceptionally well on their objective written examinations but received bad viva marks due to their socioeconomic status. This abuse of power, which is accompanied by a lack of transparency and accountability, must come to an end immediately. To guarantee openness, the JNU administration must reveal the mark lists of all applicants without delay.
In 2018, the student community organized a robust movement against the UGC Gazette and in support of the Abdul Nafey Committee’s implementation. If the powers that be in the administration and academic bodies continue their persistent hegemony, the student community will wake up to this injustice collectively in the not-too-distant future.
“Viva is systematic traumatization,” according to the CRJD JNU unit, RJD’s student wing.
On December 13, the SFI JNU unit invited students to join the JNU Students Union’s “DELEGATION TO ADMISSION BRANCH.”
AISA JNU urged the authorities to end the exclusionary viva procedure in PhD admissions.
BAPSA activist and a research student, Omprakash Mahato stated that the casteist and repressive faculties are a burden to the institution since they haven’t developed their thinking and reasoning skills through the years. If they have any morals left in them, they should quit.
The “progressive JNU is a myth,” stated Waseem R S, a PhD student and national leader of the Fraternity Movement.
In selecting individuals for PhD admissions at JNU, there has always been a caste and community line, and it is currently in full force. This isn’t a post-Modi phenomenon, and the professors involved aren’t only BJP supporters; they’re also professors with so-called left-liberal-secular backgrounds. There have been reports of savarna students being selected with unusually high viva voce scores despite not being asked questions from the research subject and interviews lasting only a few minutes, whereas Bahujans were awarded single-digit marks.