ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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University Grants Commission and Jawaharlal Nehru University

A Tale of Exception Told in Two Acts

The Jawaharlal Nehru University was conceived as a “different” university 52 years ago when a bill on it was introduced in Parliament. By the early 1970s itself, it was clear that the university was fulfilling its objectives. Even today, the university is as rural as urban, has more women than men, with socially and economically backward students forming the overwhelming majority. It is also a place of excellence, not as conveyed by ranking systems, but by the value its research holds for its peers across the world.

This article was earlier published in the Web Exclusives section of EPW website.

More than 52 years ago, on 24 December 1964, members of the Rajya Sabha were asked to consider a bill that would lead to the creation of another university in Delhi. Moving it as the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Bill in December 1964, the education minister and a former Justice of the Bombay High Court, Mahommedali Currim Chagla, made a passionate plea for considering this university as a memorial to Nehru’s life, work, and ideals, and a promise that this university would be different. But parliamentarians were dissatisfied with what Chagla had to offer, both with the fact that it was to be named after Jawaharlal Nehru and the relatively tepid blend of “uniqueness” that was being proposed. The bill was therefore referred to a Joint Select Committee in the next session.

A New Kind of University

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Updated On : 17th May, 2017
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