“Ram is symbol of unity in diversity”: JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit

“Ram is symbol of unity in diversity”: JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit

New Delhi January 16: As the country looks forward to the grand ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony at Ayodhya’s historic Ram Temple, Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit said that Lord Ram is a symbol of ‘unity in diversity’ and that every citizen of the country must be proud of it.
The ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony at Ayodhya’s Ram Temple will be held on January 22.

However, the ‘Vedic’ rituals are set to begin today, a week before the main ceremony.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit said, “I would see January 22 as a paradigm shift in India’s journey as the Bharatiya civilization date. Ram is a symbol of unity, and I think every Indian and every Bharatiya must be proud of it. For me, Ram is a symbol of unity in diversity.”
She said that Lord Ram is very important in South Asia as well as Southeast Asia because he connects tradition with modernity, realm with region, and continuity with change.
Meanwhile, as the opposition is questioning the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the timing of the ceremony given the Lok Sabha polls around the corner, the JNU Vice-chancellor said, “It is a question of one’s ‘Asmita’ and ‘Aastha’ and here, there is more politics. If the Prime Minister is going, he does not belong to any political party. I would rather say that since 2014, he has been the sole spokesman of the nation, especially the spokesperson of a democracy, and he is also the spokesperson of a nation in search of cultural justice.”
She said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents each and every citizen of this country and urged every Indian to join the civilization-building moment – ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony.
“I think this is very important, and he represents it. The Prime Minister represents each and every citizen of this country. So there is nothing political about it. Those who do not want to go to the Pran Pratishtha ceremony have a personal wish, but at the same time, I think this is a civilization-building moment. Every Bharatiya must come together,” she added.
Earlier on Friday, Congress leader Pawan Khera questioned the BJP, stating, “There is a system and set of rituals to perform Pran Pratishtha… If this event is religious, then is it happening under the guidance of the Shankaracharyas of the Four Peeths? All four Shankaracharyas have said clearly that the Pran Pratishtha of an incomplete temple cannot be done. If this event is not religious, then it is political… It is not acceptable that people of a political party are sitting as middlemen between me and my God. A political group is acting like a ‘Thekedar’… Which ‘Panchang’ has the BJP referred to before finalising the date? The date has been chosen keeping the elections in mind”.
Meanwhile, speaking on the upcoming cultural programmes at JNU, Vice-Chancellor Pandit said, “JNU has been an area where we have brought in multiple narratives. We are looking at it holistically from the perspective of Indian knowledge systems. We will have Hindu studies, Buddhist studies, Jain studies, Shaiva Siddhanta, which is from the south, and every other type of swib, whatever represents the Bharatiya culture and civilization. We have had several schools that have already implemented the NEP 2020.”
Being the first woman vice chancellor of the renowned university, she also spoke about her journey.
“My appointment as the first woman and alumnus Vice-Chancellor was indeed a point where the present government broke a glass ceiling. JNU is a wonderful institution. We have very good faculty and very good students. In the last two years, we have been able to create a social contract among all of our students. We have been doing a lot of academic activity, and multiple narratives have flourished, so we are also a representative of unity among diversity,” Pandit said.
“The challenge I have had was bringing back normalcy, which has happened. The second is infrastructure. The government of India has given us Rs 56 crore for repairs and Rs 496 crore for new buildings and infrastructure. I recently met with Union Minister Jitendra Singh. He promised different projects. Many people think that JNU only has social sciences and international relations,” she added.
The JNU Vice-Chancellor further said, “We have a lot of science schools. We do excellent work in science, technology, and other areas, so that is also an area where we want to develop. We will be getting a lecture complex, and many engineering schools will be coming up. All the hostels have been renovated. We have modernised the mess and kitchen.”
Speaking on the students’ union elections, Pandit said, “Student elections will be held as per the Lyngdoh committee report. We have to complete the admissions. Just now, the PhD results have come out. As soon as the admissions are over, within four to eight weeks, we will hold elections as stipulated by the Supreme Court and the committee report.”
The last JNU elections were held in 2019. The university elections are conducted every year.
JNUSU was not notified in 2022 due to alleged non-compliance with the Lyngdoh Committee Report. At present, the matter is with the top court.
The Lyngdoh Committee recommendations state that elections need to be held on a yearly basis and between 6 and 8 weeks from the date of the commencement of the academic session.
A United Front of the Left party was elected to the JNUSU in September 2019. The Student Federation of India’s Aishe Ghosh was elected president.

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