The Professor is dead – Long Live the Professor

Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, reader and chairman of Modern Indian Languages at AMU, is no more. He embarked on his journey for the heavenly abode on 7 April. Although his death is not what any other mortal would desire.
This romantic poet was found  lying on the bed in his private apartment outside the university after police broke open the door which was locked from inside. 
I suspect not many people in this nation (and abroad) knew of this 62 year old man until a month or two ago. His has been the case of bad publicity which brought him into the public domain.
Professor Siras was suspended from the university and asked to vacate his quarters in the campus on accounts of gross misconduct which was against the spirit of the institution. His crime: he was filmed by a group of students while having consensual sex with a rickshaw puller. The students had illegally planted cameras in his house and later produced the videos in front of the AMU authorities and got him evicted.
The great man was extremely dignified in accepting the charges framed against him and solemnly resigned to his fate and packed his bags off the campus.  “Let them say what they want to. I am not going to offer any clarification. You don’t have to abuse back if someone abuses you. I am already on the verge of retirement and, therefore, would rather be gone than to stretch the issue.” Was his reaction to the slander on his character.
 His resolute and spirit and faith in truth took him to the doors of justice and he filed a petition challenging the suspension order in Allahabad High Court.
It is but ironical that this crusader got the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad’s award for his 2002 collection, Grass Under My Feet.
“The poem, after which the book is named, talks of the loneliness of a man looking at the full moon, yearning for his lover. It could be called male-dominated poetry,” said Siras in an interview. “The full moon represents a gay lover: all poems are about the love of one man for another.”
A division bench comprising Justice Sunil Ambawani and Justice Kashi Nath Pandey of the Allahabad high court passed a stay order on the suspension order issued by the AMU, on 1 April. “It is constitutionally wrong to intrude into anybody’s private life or action,” said the bench of judges.
AMU authorities claimed that they had revoked the suspension order following the High court ruling and asked Dr Siras to resume work on April 5. Unfortunately he might not have been living to hear this news.
Fresh controversy has arisen over the death of Dr Siras. Although initial autopsy reports ruled out any signs of murder, internal organs have been sent for further studies to forensic laboratory in Agra. The Aligarh Muslim University Teacher’s Union has shown solidarity with the deceased in the hour of mourning. They have demanded probe into the validity of the suspension order. Also the illegal filming of sexual activity of a faculty received flak from the AMUTU. The students responsible should be brought to book, they demanded.
Dr Siras in his last days of life received support from all quarters. Gay rights groups, Human rights activists, teachers, schola
rs; intellectuals came out in his support in large numbers. Social networking sites flooded with messages and blogs showering solidarity with the “lone crusader”.
 Most students at the Aligarh Muslim University have condemned Siras’ suspension. “If they punished him according to Sharia, then they should remember that Sharia forbids anyone from peeking into someone else’s private life, so all those who made an intrusion in his life should be punished,” said a university student.
Several such messages did rounds in the web world as well the “real” world. Clearly the verdict was clear. From the well known face in the celeb world to the anonymous guy on the web, encouraging words of sympathy and support rained on Dr. Siras. He was the new mascot for gay liberty in India.
The sad demise of Professor came as a shock for people all over the world. Specially the manner in which his dead body was found. Whether he did commit suicide or was murdered, time will tell but one thing is clear. Many men, who had been the victims of prejudice against them just because of their sexuality, drew inspiration from the “slain hero”. And he will continue to live in their hearts.

About Agnivo Niyogi

Typical Aantel, reader, blogger, news addict, opinionated. Digital media enthusiast. Didi fanboi. Joy Bangla!

Posted on April 8, 2010, in Social Issues and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. RIP ……… nice one


  2. Yup it says it all…. RIP


  3. To my total ignorance, I must thank you for letting me know abt this great soul… true inspiration he is. May he inspire a lot more. Thanks again for writing.


  4. I feel very angry for those *@^%$ who planted that camera in his house.. They have done such a shameful sin…I pity on AMU who had suspended him when the video came to light..How could they question his talent by his sexual preferences. That is also so shameful…R.I.P. Mr. Siras


  5. thanx Kedar…..btw u will be happy to know the culprits have been braught to book.cases have been registered against the students who planted cameras and also the AMU authorities


  6. Very well written and researched too. Its a sad fate that late Prof had to bear in his last days and ironic as well when th govt finally legalized it.Thanks for sharing his life's story.this is someone called Mahak Dewan from twitter. Sorry I have no clue how you were getting follow request everyday. Sorry if it troubled your busy schedule.


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