Dalit scholar in Kerala burnt his PhD thesis, accuses universities, left govt of excluding from jobs

While infusing himself in kerosene inside the Malayalam University Tirur, the 42 year old Aji claimed that he is unable to find a job, even after many years of receiving his PhD from the Malayalam Department of Kalady University, due to political and partisan appointments.

Aji KM, a PhD scholar who also holds UGC NET and hails from Dalit community in Kerala burnt his doctoral thesis in show of dissent against the illicit appointments within the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University here on 5 March. The restive applicant alleged that he was not been shortlisted for the post of an Assistant Professor despite being eligible.

While infusing himself in kerosene inside the Malayalam University Tirur, the 42 year old Aji claimed that he is unable to find a job, even after many years of receiving his PhD from the Malayalam Department of Kalady University, due to political and partisan appointments.

“I was expecting to be short listed as being qualified for the post of Literature Study at the Malayalam Department. But not only has my name excluded, the University has not yet revealed the criteria for appointment,” Aji told Maktoob.

According to Aji, despite the Court order, corruption is rampant in the universities, giving the opportunity to the relatives of political party leaders through laws that are completely non-transparent, contrary to the UGC.

“The ranks earned, the PhDs and the reservation rights are being blown away when such deeds are carried out under the pressure of power and financial corruption,” said Aji.

“Instead of being moral, this government (CPIM led LDF government) is trying to be more corrupt than others,” Aji added.

Aji has worked at many government colleges as a temporary staff and has been a Malayalam lecturer at many including Devaswom Board College Thalayolaparambu but has not yet been made permanent.

Another applicant Anitha M A, who also from Dalit community, has raised same allegations.

“I am NET qualified and has obtained PhD in 2010. I have worked as a Guest Lecturer for 5 years in 3 universities and various colleges in Kerala including Central University of Kerala. These include seminar papers and published works. I am from the SC reservation section and had applied for the proposed post in the Malayalam University which was rejected without any notice,” Anitha spoke to Maktoob.

Prominent figures from various quarters expressed solidarity with Aji for this unique protest that burned down his 8 years of academic work.

“It is unfortunate that universities in Kerala are turning into spaces that deliberately exclude highly academically qualified people and replace them with unqualified ones. Similar coup has taken place at various universities. It is imperative to thwart the political machinations that have led to usurp through economic reservation and such recruitment coups on a large scale,” Fraternity Movement Kerala state president Najda Raihan said to Maktoob.

The University authorities did not respond to Maktoob’s queries regarding Aji’s allegations and protest. However, Malayalam media reported that the University Vice Chancellor Anil Vallathol has denied the allegations terming Aji himself responsible as he went for a late application for the post.