Monday, April 12, 2010

R.I.P. Dr. Siras

Dr. Siras, a professor at the Aligarh Muslim University ("AMU"), shot to national prominence a couple of months ago after lhe was videotaped having sex with another man began circulating on campus. Because AMU, in its wisdom, decided to suspend the professor for "gross indecency" rather than take any action against those who broke into Dr. Siras' home and violated his privacy (a Times of India piece said it was reporters who had done the taping; other sources have claimed that a tape was sent to AMU authorities) in a manner that can only be called, well, gross and indecent. [The report of a fact-finding team may be found HERE.]

Why am I bringing this up now? Because Dr. Siras is now dead, apparently the result of a suicide a few days after a court ordered his reinstatement. But legal victories are small compensation for a public culture of hostility on campus. Those who taped him --students or others -- are morally responsible, and AMU itself is complicit; and perhaps worse, given that some AMU faculty/administration members responded to the incident by stoking hysteria and blaming the victim. AMU took away Dr. Siras' job, and would have taken away his dignity had he not shown himself incapable of losing it. Sadly, it seems the maelstrom surrounding the professor did not let him see matters in the same light.

One wonders how long before Dr. Siras' heirs, or someone else (via a PIL), sues AMU. And more generally, AMU needs to learn that it is a "minority institution" -- not an institution that merely presents the pageant of "Muslimness". The two are not the same.

The Indian Express carried a moving account of the circumstances in which Dr. Siras spent his last few days HERE.



ms said...

when people confuse legal victories with personal victories, tragedies happen. prof siras had lost something which a court order could never re-instate: his reputation. how difficult each day must have been for him, surrounded by those who held him up for ridicule and mockery. how lonely.i wish he had gone elsewhere where he could enjoy personal freedoms and live. and his family, why were they not there to offer him moral support? they abandoned him in his time of need, so how can they now even think of suing those responsible? after the ruchika case, people are using the abetting suicide clause to punish the guilty. their battlecry for justice sounds hollow since the poor victim is gone.

Anonymous said...

The whole episode was unfortunate and ended tragically. Aligarh is a small conservative place and AMU

Even if he had lived and rejoined the university, his stay would'nt have been very happy. His sexual preversion would have made his life difficult and he would have lost the respect of his students.
The are critics are right in pointing out that the particular acrobatic acts he performed in the privacy of his home - but caught on video - were legal
However, they fail to realize that the laws of the land represent the minimal rules of conduct that are essential for running a civilized society.The acrobatics in which he was caught were legal but morally reprehensible, especially in a conservative place like Aligarh. But being a university professor and a Chairman imposes certain constraints on acceptable behavior. Hence the Vice Chancellor acted correctly in expelling the Chairman from the campus. To think that he left Aligarh out of his principles is incorrect; he probably left out of shame - unable to face his colleagues and Aligarh students. The research scholar who planted the video camera did trespass, but performed a useful service to the university. At least he had the good sense to deliver the video only to the university authorities and not to sites like the YouTube.
Do his acts blend with the ethos of the university ? Did he live up to ideals of Sir Syed that students from AMU have Quran in one hand and science on the other ?

Manan Ahmed said...

"Anonymous", your comment is reproachable.

Your blatant usage of "sexual perversion" counters your claim of "civilized society". A civilized society would grant the man his privacy and his freedom from oppression or suppression. As does the legal code in his land.

In any case, what exactly are the other ideals of Sir Syed or the Qur'an established by AMU? A place which has rocked from charges of corruption, nepotism and cronyism for decades.

Jean-Paul, Canada said...

AMU acted unethically and illegally. As a result an exceptional scholar and poet is dead.

Anonymous: Go fcuk yourself.

Thanks for the great write up, Qalander.

Anonymous said...

I supported his expulsion from the university so that such immoral haram behaviour is not tolerated and legitimized in a muslim university

Jean-Paul, Canada said...

Oh give me a break.

You're less anonymous than you think you are.

The Net is full of trolls and disruptors like you, and you're wasting your time trying to persuade others using such a moronic signature.