Gay teacher’s 25-yr-old course useless?

HYDERABAD: Even as the vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) asserted Tuesday that there is no discrimination in the university, gay poet and professor at the varsity, Hoshang M

Published: 18th January 2012 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:16 PM   |  A+A-

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HYDERABAD: Even as the vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) asserted Tuesday that there is no discrimination in the university, gay poet and professor at the varsity, Hoshang Merchant, stuck to his guns and said it was insinuated to him that his course is not useful. “There is no discrimination against anyone in our university!”, said vice chancellor Prof Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, reacting to the allegation made by Prof Merchant in these columns on Monday that an undesirable change in the attitude of the management was preventing him from offering his course and making him think of early retirement.

The professor, who has been teaching gay literature at UoH for the last 25 years, said on Tuesday, “I wanted to teach for the last two semesters before I retire, but the department has asked me to teach a more useful course.

So, I have decided to retire on August 1, instead of November 30.” However the head of the department of English Prof Syed Mujeebuddin called this a wild allegation.

“We have not stopped anyone from teaching,” he said and added that the Prof Merchant has denied to offer his courses citing ill health and was on leave.

Prof Merchant admitted that he was on an ‘earned holiday’ and said it was not proper to think that a 65-year-old man like him can teach like a 40-yearold.

The professor had on Monday also pointed fingers at waning levels of tolerance among students at the university but students seem to love the professor just as before.

Nikhil (name changed), a second year student at the department, said he would have chosen the course on gay literature had it been offered.

Bestin Samuel, a former student of Prof Merchant, also felt baffled as to why the professor would have chosen not to offer his course.

“Though Hoshang’s course was not objective, he taught with conviction and often used to divert to his personal experiences while teaching,” he said.

He added that no other teacher would be able to bring in the same kind of global exposure and perspective while teaching gay literature and at the same time be so poetic and humorous in the classroom.

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