Editorial – Manipur University in Tentative State


The Manipur University, now a Central university, but nonetheless still the state’s highest seat of learning, is unfortunately in very tentative days currently. Ever since the last vice chancellor completed his service days and was not given a service extension, forcing him to retire, the university has been without a full-fledged head, and is run under the supervision of an acting vice chancellor who by convention is the senior most professor of the university. But this is an interim measure until another vice chancellor is appointed. Understandably, interim periods always have an ad hoc atmosphere, and thereby should not be allowed to continue for too long. It will ultimately tell on the morale of the entire university, for the decisions made by the university during this period will always have a tentative aura around it and therefore derived to a great degree of moral legitimacy. This is perfectly understandable. It is very much like an interim government, or should be like one, which is not given the moral authority to make any major decisions, the impact of which would last far longer than the interim status.
The possible scenario facing the university if the situation is allowed to continue for much longer is, one, it would inhibit the Manipur University to take crucial decisions even if making these have major implications on the health of the university. The losses to the university from such unseen inhibitions on important actions are obvious and need no further elaboration. The other scenario is of the university authority deciding to go ahead, or forced to go ahead, and take these major decisions regardless of its own interim status. These decisions unfortunately will always carry an air of tentativeness and thereby cause resentment in various quarters. Such bile introduced in what is veritably the highest temple of knowledge of the state may not have any immediate impact, but definitely will work against the university as a slow poison would. It has also become quite apparent, the university is losing patience and although still under an interim arrangement, its authorities are now beginning to go ahead and take many major decisions. The blame for this would ultimately have to go to the inability of the appointing authorities to come up with a decision and appoint a full-fledged vice chancellor. This is a very important symbolic gesture which can restore and indeed rejuvenate public faith in the university as well as the university’s own belief in its autonomous will and abilities.
The suggestion is simple. Manipur University must have a full-fledged vice chancellor at the soonest. We are certain all observers and well wishers of this university would be wondering why this situation has been allowed to remain for so long. It must not be allowed to continue in this headless state for any longer. As we have suggested, this is less a matter of a physical consolidation of the administrative team, but of giving moral legitimacy to the administrative headquarter of the university and its decisions. It is also not also a question of appointing only someone totally new, but it could very well be of converting the interim administration into a legitimate one by mandating it with the established rules of appointment of a vice chancellor. In other words, there is nothing that says the interim vice chancellor cannot also be given this mandate. What is important is, anybody who becomes the next vice chancellor must be given this mandate and without any ambiguity. In the meantime, while the interim status lasts, there must be a clear demarcation between what an interim administration is morally empowered to do and what is it not, so that it does not end up setting any precedent that would set dangerous ad-hoc trends in the future management of this extremely important institution of the state. Those in the interim administration and are now in charge of the university’s affairs currently, even if they are confident they would be the ultimate successor to the previous administration when the interim status finally come to an end, as it obviously would invariably sooner than later, they must desist from jumping the gun and realise they still do not have the moral mandate yet. All in all, the blame for this sorry state of affairs in the Manipur University must first and foremost go to the failure of the appointing authorities to appoint a full-fledged vice chancellor for the university. We reiterate once again that this decision be not delayed any longer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here