Thiruvananthapuram: Meena T Pillai resigned from her post as a professor from the Central University of Kerala protesting against its directive asking PhD students to select research topics based on national priorities. 

The circular dated March 13 says, "All the heads of the departments are hereby directed to convene the meeting of faculties and prepare a shelf of projects to be taken for research study pertaining to their subject considering national priorities. The student can opt from the shelf of projects."

NDTV reported that professor Pillai resigned from the Board of Studies of English and Comparative Literature because she was “shocked” to read the circular.

According to sources, many other professors of the college asked Meena not to resign, and instead stage a protest. But Meena said there is no use complaining because nine members took the decision of the new order on the board of studies. She also said to media that the administration clearly does not care about her resignation. And they have already hired a new person. 

“Research on, say, a small tribal community in a remote village of Kerala would be a priority. So who decides what is relevant and irrelevant? Even to bring in specific classifications and categorisations in research is against the very spirit of higher education. Research also involve critique, dissent and the right to ask questions. The moment you start deciding what areas of research one should limit oneself to, where is the academic freedom of the researcher?” asked Pillai, according to the report on the Indian Express.