Caught in Cross Fire

It is a known fact that when wars are waged the most affected by it all are women and babies.  The perpetrators of any form of aggression are by and large, male.  I know this is a generalisation and some one might fill up my comments section with examples of women waging wars.  But I stand by what I have said.  It is recorded in history.  And what happens to the men?  They die or get miamed.  There are no right causes or wrong causes.  As someone once said “If Hitler had won the war, he would have been the benevolent and visionary leader”.  So lets not even begin with justification of causes.  I personally feel that Raj Thackeray who idolises Hitler hopes to win his war and a page in history books of posterity….. and may be a statue for birds to shit on.

Nagaland is going through severe unrest.  My friend is badly affected as her husband is the Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University.  The causes I feel are unimportant but the way these causes are being fought for are so horrifying.  All in all it is terrorism – and the victims are people like you and me.  Dr. Kannan is an educationist and he lives in a part of our own country where security guards hover around him day and night.  It is like being under house arrest.  I am not surprised that his health is suffering due to constant tension, lack of privacy and the fear of being gheraod or shot. 

I am giving below Jayshri’s letter to the Nagaland Press that is heckling and attacking her husband

Good Morning Nagaland!

I am Jayshri Kannan wife of the much pirouetted Prof Kannan V.C .Nagaland University. I am a professional writer and do not write on political or personal issues ever. My writings are largely on the Subject of my expertise and I enjoy doing just that. Then why am I writing here at all? To a Press that is so irrational in its behaviour? To a State which has torn my family life apart? To a state we developed affection for and actually became social ambassadors but in return got only hostility and stress. Well sometimes we do things which we normally do not do and this is one of them. On the spur of the moment I just feel like sharing…recalling my life and the events that shaped them. This is not about Nagaland University… it about my husband and me.

I have come to Nagaland many a times since my husband joined the University. I have enjoyed every visit of mine and have made some very special friends who seem to have become friends for life. I carry back with me umpteen souvenirs which my friends and relatives have admired. So I do carry some very warm memories of this place.

I go t married to Kannan 28 yrs back when he was only a PhD student studying in the Imperial college of London. Very early in my marriage I learnt I was married to a man completely dedicated to his profession and I was only his second wife, his profession being his first!

To cut a long story short we were holidaying on Chilka Lake, Orissa, when we got a phone call from the President of India’s office saying Kannan had been appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Nagaland. I was shattered. Al I knew of Nagaland was from an Uncle in the Army. He had lost two fingers in some war or maybe some accident. He said many things to make us laugh and he always told us that a Naga had chewed off his fingers. That was all I knew. I knew, if nothing I would have a husband without fingers, if Kannan went to Nagaland.

Well Kannan did go to Nagaland while I continued with my work and family duties in Delhi and everyday awaited for the news of his fingers being chewed off. Finally I had the time to come and visit him and Nagaland .The first thing I noticed in the airport was that his fingers were intact…and i turned around and thought maybe it’s my fingers turn now?

Nothing of that sort ever happened but I realized I had loaned my husband body and soul to Nagaland University for all he had to talk to me and the children was about the people in the University, its working…blah blah. I also saw some members were loving and caring and was greatly reassured that though I away from my husband, he was being cared for. The Naga culture, hospitality, tribal divergences fascinated me and my trips to Nagaland gradually became more frequent.

Months rolled by and I realized it was not fair on my part to pressurize Kannan to come back to Delhi. He had so much to offer to Nagaland. It had become his obsession and driving force. The establishment of the Engineering College was proof enough. He was now dreaming of establishing a Medical college, a Veterinary college, a nursing college and so on. Ten steps forward and some unrest would make him mover 20 steps backwards. I saw my husband extremely pressurized by the unrests. I worried about his Blood Pressure. I worried about this food habits. I gradually trained him into meditation /yoga and other forms of de-stressing. But eventually I was beginning to wonder if his presence in Nagaland was worth the trouble at all. Will the people understand his commitment and allow him to proceed with progressive work? I am not yet too convinced. I have loaned my husband to Nagaland for the time being and I want him back in the same condition… not battered and shattered!

Some where in the comments column i read “t laaast!!!! a photo of the two devils!!” hopefully they have learnt their lessons” ( spellings and language as shown on the comments page morungexpress September 27, 2008 10:04:00), commenting on the handshake picture ..Devil he is… But I am the one caught between the devil and the deep sea or should I say deep mountains of Nagaland!

This is our country – and we are supposed to have the right to live and work anywhere within the country – that is why we do not need passports or permits to travel from state to state. 

Who are the most affected by the modern day politics of terror?

  • Babies who get orphaned
  • Young men who get miamed and die
  • Young girls raped or/and forced into prostitution
  • Widows who are also raped or/and forced into prostitution
  • Aging parents who have lost their bread winners
  • The state which has not seen development or steady growth because of these wars
  • All of Us, the citizens of this country who are tolerating such actions and behaviour of our leaders.

I do not know what is happening …. may be we deserve what we are getting because of our apathy and our “kee fark painda” and “mere baap ka kya jaata hai” attitude.


21 thoughts on “Caught in Cross Fire

  1. Well Ritu, academia and especially the people at the top have always been the targets of politics and direct and indirect attack. Her fear for her husband and the consequent letter should actually be considered just a whistle blowing on her part. There are more such cases where people just take it in their stride, complete their term, take a favor from the government and retire in peace.
    However, we, as students, ex-students, teachers have no respect for such people. The truth in this issue should be brought to the fore. Do keep us updated on the matter.
    And convey our solidarity with Jayshri and kudos to her for being gutsy enough to speak her mind. And compliments to you for bringing her letter to us thru ur post.

    Thanks Manpreet, yes academia is an easy target, and universities are hot beds for insurgency. It is sad to be caught in cross fire

  2. Interesting post. Are you aware that in many states in the North-East (including Nagaland), the writ of militants is the only one that matters – they levy taxes, and even government employees have to pay these. It’s been going on for years, along with victimisation of ‘outsiders’. Except in Arunachal and Assam. But then Assam has issues of its own.


    Quirky Indian

    I know Quirky, I have lived in Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland … as a child, so the situation is not unfamiliar. What irritates me is the lack of administrative and political will to contain the situation before it gets cancerous

  3. I personally feel the India is run mainly by politicians of the Hindi speaking belt… and they care a hoot for the well-being of the people of the non-Hindi speaking areas… my view, it may be wrong…

    You have raised a valid point Ravin

  4. Sad. Knew of trouble there, but didn’t realise just how bad, ( it seems terrible from the comments above). I think this needs more awareness.
    Not that the rest of India is much better right now! They are raising Frankenstein(s) everywhere:(

    I know, its a fast spreading cancer ….. and yes the situation is so bad in the hills and mainstream news agencies just gloss it over

  5. I’m in Nagaland and keep abreast with everything happening around. Prof Kannan is doing a great job, whatever the local teachers might say. Its all about running the university the Naga way… do nothing! Thats what the Naga group of teachers want. Sadly, the few non nagas who are there just play to their tune for survival. We would love to see the univ flourishing under Prof Kanan. The steps he has taken are needed to get that outfit back on track… rather on track for the first time. Let your friend know that her husband is doing a great job and she need not worry for his safety. Hum hain na!
    About your views on who perpetuates aggression… you just saved a long comment!

    Thank you, Touche … read below Jayshri’s and Prof. Kannan’s comments

  6. Thank you Ritu for putting my letter on your popular blog. Thanx to all those who have offered their solidarity. All battles come to an end I firmly believe bu t only through dialogue and not picketting as the Nagas would like to believe. There is hope still.

    Hey Jayshri, keep on being brave

  7. Thanks to my wife Jayshri’s mentoring and introducing me to Meditation and yoga of two hours everyday has helped me to be resolute, brave and calm. Gandhian style of non violence. The situation at one stage on thursday was to turn violent by students. I send a letter saying classes will resume on 30th sep without explaining how.? That prevented violence and blood shed. In all this state govt bureaucracy was behind me and CM asked chief secretary,additional chief secretary, myself to arrive at an action plan.Being a Central university, the autonomy of the Vice Chancellor cannot be interferred by state. State comes into picture if there is a law and order problem because of student strike.Governor was fully on my side as he is the Chief Rector of the university and my advisor.Here the Govt was not congress and so Delhi would have dismissed the elected govt on the basis of law and order.But I must say all parties were unanimous that discipline must be brought into university. A stark difference as compared to other states in India.Even Govt was willing for ESMA. If things would not have reconciled ESMA was to be imposed.Another option was PIL. My teachers association went to high court and lost. But court had given them a clear cut direction to appeal again to me. But finally in the interest of public I said as long as my authority is respected and discipline being maintained with my conditions , I shall revoke the suspension!This is to emphasise that many times situations go out of control when we only stick to rules. statutes, Acts and Law.Many times these instruments help but finally coming down and make sure why you started this whole disciplinary proceedings.It was to instill discipline in teachers, students and make aware to public at large the power vested in the Vice Chancellor by Acts of parliament. Why terrorisom?Universities have failed in moulding human beings and politicians have probably taken full advantage of weakness of people at the helm of affairs though Acts and Statutes can protect the system if honestly implemented in true spirit. I am sure Nagas by and large are very affectionate people who want development and peace.

    But I was very cool and calm and at no stage looked perturbed.Home ministry and MHRD were very tense and were afraid to talk as I had ticked off Arjun Singh and Joint secretary in Vigyan bhavan when they wanted to impose OBC reservation in Nagaland.I straight away told them infront of all central university VC’s, Directors of IIT , NIT , IISER etc that if I implement there will be riot in Nagaland and then you better come and face.We have 89.1% ST population.Ofcourse my brother Ramamoorthy IAS(Retired) was of great help in drafting letters and timely advices and they made me get more professional rather than emotional.He He.


    Thank you Prof. Kannan for giving us insights on the problem.

  8. Just last night I was watching Chanakya, the epic saga of the founder of the first Indian Empire – a TV serial by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi in my New York suburban home. Chanakya is well known educationalist of India of Taxila University . He has taken the responsibility of restoring discipline of the people of his times – c. 350-283 BC. Therefore he is remembered even after several centuries by us.

    Prof. Krishnamoorthy Kannan is one my early mentors (25 years ago) of my present profession Biotechnology. At his request I visited him in Kohima, Nagaland, and last year. We have made plans and working to bring the most appropriate biotechnology education – training and skill development programs, to Nagaland University. If his efforts are successful thousands of Naga youth, men and women, well trained and disciplined, will find jobs in India and aboard in biotechnology industry and academia. Then he will also be remembered for his work at Nagaland University for years to come.
    Srinivasa Rao
    516 859 3010 (New York)

  9. Whenever one tries to introduce new things or change the old order, there is plenty of opposition. Many times people oppose without understanding. You also have to deal with vested interests who have no interests of the people at heart.

    It is also easy to queer the pitch by introducing some emotional garbage in between. Once that happens there is no rational debate, just emotional outbursts.

    Nagaland and other North Eastern states are at the fringe of Indian society. Significant progress seems to have bypassed these states. It is high time the Vice-Chancellor is supported in his efforts which can have a genuine long term beneficial effect on the people of Nagaland.

    Thank you Mavin, I hope the people in charge will be rational

  10. Jayshree has put in the right and related emotional words in the post which any devoted Indian wife is expected to write. The sad results and aftermath of the ‘bullet’,’terror’and ‘tyranny’ no doubt leave indelible marks on the lives of the affected esp. the women and children. I am sure that nobody likes terror in their lives but is just scared or too timid to speak out or raise his or her voice . It has now become a global phenomenon where the whole world is in the danger of its reach . But then it is the ‘one’ who is affected is the one who knows the ‘reality’ of the pain , fear and stress plus plus involved . We , in PUNJAB saw it before others and faced it daringly and that is why ,maybe got out of it with ease . I have seen bomb shells falling in my backyard during ’84 attacks on gurudwaras . I was in MUKTSAR, a historical town at that time and one day saw a shell coming to my backyard with many loud bursts accompanying……. ..I have seen firings, killings, blowings et al in that period here . Later when in Chandigarh , working in the govt women welfare deptt , and travelling in official vehicles ,was stopped a number of times and called up for the mighty checks ………I travelled at night and boarded planes being frisked twice /thrice by police since I wore a turban ….but then life went on and on till everything diminished in the memory to pave way for freshness to creep in . Stern rule of the likes of Beant Singh brought in peace with many ‘LOSSES’. The losses were losses but were overcome with determination and grit Punjabis are born with . This can be applied in other places toooooo . The best way to support Mr Kannan is to MOTIVATE him , live with him and help him in the day to day life .Togetherness, I think will help him tide over the stress and strain of the otherwise good life .However educationists can bring in great changes in lives of the Nagas by bringing in vocational courses related to jobs WITH SOME GUARANTEE OF JOBS . They will be happy as unemploymest is the root cause of any unrest . I Hope it is possible to get them equipped with suitable vocational training SO THAT they can find good jobs in India and abroad . They will be happy……in PUNJAB everybody wants to run away abroad……they carry money all the time readily to fly abroad …..I hope Mr Kannan will take heed from punjabis who faced much worst problems in the 80s and live his life hap hap happily……….all the best ….any help if reqd is available always ………..With regards , Gurjinder S Brar, Muktsar [pb]………….

    Thank you Gurjinder, I am forwarding this comment to Jayshri and Dr. Kannan

  11. Well i just stumble upon this blog, Nagaland university is flooded with so many issues and problems. Unless you know the real situation, many of you after reading this blog will think that what the blogger wrote and the criticism about Nagas is very true. But the main issue is not Prof kannan. The unrest and strike in the university is because of corruption some few official with vested interest have siphoned crores and crores of the university money. The main campus is still not completed till now it was established in the year 1994, at lumami. Unless the VC is honest and dedicated its impossible to clean the corruption. even if i go on explaining things it wont clear your thoughts. Yous should visit the university and see the real situation. Prof Kannan with all due respect even if you dream about creating medical, veterinary colleges, unless you clean the system it will never be a reality in 20 years time.

  12. oh i see, i have been checking for replies but i guess the reply will never come….its all about the money not the sentiments of our helpless student.

    • Angami you have a lot of complexes …. I have not been paid any money nor have I any responsiblity towards Nagaland Univ. Please check your information before making silly comments

  13. i don’t have complexes phoenixritu. I was actually asking kannan for a reply not you. Anybody with a sane mind wont say that your are paid nor do i accuse you of that but your blog is very biased but i guess i dont need to prove anything now. thank God the CBI is going to probe the whole university scandal and thank you Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) for believing in the truth. justice will prevail. truth and only truth can set you free.


  14. i don’t have complexes phoenixritu. I was actually asking kannan for a reply not you. Anybody with a sane mind wont say that your are paid nor do i accuse you of that but your blog is very biased but i guess i dont need to prove anything now. thank God the CBI is going to probe the whole university scandal and thank you Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) for believing in the truth. justice will prevail. truth and only truth can set you free.


  15. Patil asks CBI to probe Nagaland varsity scam

    New Delhi, Jan. 18: President Pratibha Patil has approved a probe by the CBI into alleged irregularities in the management of Nagaland University, in a rare move that follows an internal government inquiry which found university officials guilty.

    The President has also ordered the human resource development ministry to issue a showcause notice to vice-chancellor K. Kannan, under whom the administration is alleged to have spent crores of rupees without sanction.

    Top government officials told The Telegraph that the presidential sanction would set in motion a series of disciplinary measures against Kannan and other key officials of the university administration.

    Kannan has repeatedly denied the charges against him, calling them a conspiracy by those wanting to run a parallel administration at the university.

    But the HRD ministry is likely to issue a showcause notice to Kannan tomorrow, asking him to respond within a week, a source said.

    The presidential approval for a CBI inquiry pitches the central university into a rare breed of universities run by New Delhi that have had India’s premier criminal investigation body prowling on their campus.

    The Uttar Pradesh government had ordered a CBI probe into the murder of a student at the Aligarh Muslim University in 2007.

    Earlier, in 2005, the CBI took over a police inquiry into allegations of a paper leak at an examination conducted by Delhi University for its engineering colleges.

    But in neither of the cases did the President, as Visitor — top authority for all central universities — have to call for a CBI inquiry.

    “The Visitor calling for a CBI probe is akin to the father of a family asking the police to investigate his son’s activities. It is an indicator of the seriousness of the allegations against the Nagaland University administration,” a senior HRD ministry official said.

    Kannan is the second Nagaland University vice-chancellor to be mired in allegations of corruption — his predecessor G.D. Sharma had left amid similar charges against him.

    The university administration is alleged to have built new institutes — effectively starting new campuses — without sanction from the Centre, an HRD ministry official said.

    In November last year, an inquiry committee set up by the President submitted its report in which it corroborated most allegations of corruption levelled first by the Nagaland University Teachers’ Association (NUTA).

    Rosemary Dzuvichu, president of NUTA, today said she welcomed the presidential approval for disciplinary action against the administration but added that she feared that the accused may try to influence the CBI probe.

    “We want that Kannan and other officials named in the internal inquiry be asked to go on leave of absence while the CBI probe is on. Otherwise, they may be in a position to influence the investigations,” said Dzuvichu, who met education minister Arjun Singh on Friday to apprise him of these concerns.

  16. Dimapur, JAN22 [NPN] : Close on the heels of the report that the President of India Pratibha Patil, who is also visitor of Nagaland University (NU), giving assent for CBI probe into various financial irregularities in the University, the Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) has demanded the “immediate removal” of Prof. K. Kannan as vice chancellor of the NU.

    FEDCUTA president Aditya Narayan Misra and general secretary Tabrez Alam Khan, in a memorandum addressed to the union minster of Human Resource Development Mr Arjun Singh, reminded the minister that the fact finding committee constituted under the directions of the Visitor, had also submitted its report. In the light of the reported assent for CBI probe, FEDCUTA has demanded suspension of all NU officers including the vice chancellor to prevent tampering of records or influencing any of the University employees while deposing before the CBI probe team.

  17. phoenixritu I think the i have just given enough facts why dont you forward these to Kannan and wife and ask them and reply. I think you should change you headline as Caught in a scandal not cross fire. When ppl steal money they have tension that is y Kannan health went down. SCAMDOG MILLIONAIRE

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