Ramchandra Siras

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Dr. Ramchandra Siras
Died 7th April 2010 (aged 64)
Nationality Indian
Awards Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad

Ramchandra Siras (1948 – 7 April 2010) was an Indian linguist and author. He was a professor at the Aligarh Muslim University specializing in Marathi literature and head of the Department of Modern Indian Languages.[1] The film Aligarh, directed by Hansal Mehta, is based on his life.[2][3]

Life[edit]

After school in Nagpur, Siras studied psychology and linguistics at Nagpur University in India. In 1985 he got his doctorate in Marathi and a master's in psychology. He finished university studies and became a professor at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in 1998.[4]

Siras suffered from fits at a young age and was advised against marriage. When considered cured of the condition later in life he was married. The marriage lasted for nearly 20 years but ended in divorce after a long separation.[5]

He wrote several short stories in the Marathi language.[6] In 2002, he received the literary award from Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad for "Paya Khalchi Hirawal" (Grass under my feet).[4][7]

In 1996, AMU charged Siras with sexually harassing a woman. The charge was unsubstantiated and the case was withdrawn before Siras could lodge a response.[8]

Suspension[edit]

On 8 February 2010, two men forced their way into Siras' house and caught him having consensual sex with another man.[9] On 9 February 2010, Siras was suspended by AMU for "gross misconduct" after having been ambushed by a local TV channel's camera crew, while having sex with a rickshaw puller.[1] The AMU public relations officer, Rahat Abrar, stated: "Siras was captured on camera having sex with a rickshaw-puller. It's a scandal no institution of repute can overlook. He was, therefore, placed under suspension by the order of the vice-chancellor, professor P. K. Abdul Aziz".[9]

He won his case against the university in Allahabad High Court on 1 April 2010, and got back his job as professor, along with his accommodation, until his retirement.[4][10] The case was exacerbated by the involvement of students in the covert taping and ambush of Siras and his lover. The case was fought on the premise that Siras could not be penalised for being homosexual as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized homosexuality, had been declared unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court in 2009.[11]

I spent two decades here. I love my University. I have always loved it and will continue to do so no matter what. But I wonder if they have stopped loving me because I am gay

— Siras, 2010[4]

Death[edit]

On 7 April 2010, Siras died in his apartment in Aligarh.[12] Police suspected suicide,[13] and preliminary results from the autopsy showed traces of poison in his body. A case of murder was later registered and six people arrested.[14] On 19 April, the Superintendent of Police stated that three journalists and four AMU officials were named as part of the crime.[15] The case was closed without resolution after the police failed to find sufficient evidence.[16]

Siras was due to retire officially from academia in 6 months, and the letter officially revoking his suspension arrived at his office the day after his death.[17][10]

Works[edit]

  • Several short stories in the Marathi language

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Gross Misconduct' by Aligarh Muslim University; The cynical use of homophobia to protect university maladministration is condemnable.". Economic & Political Weekly. 2010-02-27. The ease with which homosexuality was equated with "gross misconduct" by the AMU underlines the continued existence of a large "homophobic" common sense, which can be put to political use for a variety of unrelated issues, regardless of the well-publicised judgment on Section 377. 
  2. ^ http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/hansal-mehtas-aligarh-starring-manoj-bajpayee-rajkummar-rao-to-open-mumbai-film-festival/
  3. ^ "Aligarh". Archived from the original on 13 October 2015. A young journalist uncovers a homophobic conspiracy behind the case of an Indian college professor who is caught by the press in bed with his lover. 
  4. ^ a b c d Times of India:Gay prof was known as a literary genius
  5. ^ Ganjapure, Vaibhav (2010-04-14). "Who'll claim Siras' Rs 3cr house?". The Times of India. 
  6. ^ AMUC: Ramchandra Siras
  7. ^ Poetry and poets in rags - Poetic obituaries Shrinivas Ramchandra.
  8. ^ Srivastava, Piyush (2010-02-18). "Varsity paid for sting on gay prof". Mail Today. ...the university had charged Siras with sexually harassing a woman in 1996. However, the authorities couldn't substantiate the allegation and withdrew the case even before he could file his reply... The journalists barged into his house, took some shots and escaped before Siras could understand what was happening. A senior member of the university pooled in money from some of the council members and paid the four Rs 20,000 for the two- minute video recording," the source added. AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar conceded that the four were hired. 
  9. ^ a b Pant, Saumya (2010-07-01). "Professors hounded out for being Gay". Mail Today. FEBRUARY 9 The videographers - Adil Murtaza and Sirat - forward the footage to AMU authorities, and Siras is fired for " gross misconduct". 
  10. ^ a b Buncombe, Andrew (2010-05-28). "Was a gay Indian academic driven to take his own life?". Siras had returned to work on Monday, but was due to retire in September. According to a report in the Indian Express, Siras had told the reporter that he wanted to move to the US to teach Marathi and dedicate his life to working for gay rights. "America is the only place I will be free to be gay," he said. 
  11. ^ Biswas, Ranjita (2013-12-13). "RIGHTS: INDIAN GAYS PREPARE TO FIGHT AGAIN". Inter Press Service. Fortunately, that was in 2010, after the Delhi High Court verdict, and lawyers successfully fought the case in the Allahabad High Court on the premise that he could not be penalised. He was reinstated by the university. The punishment should have been given to those who barged into his private quarters to take photographs illegally. 
  12. ^ NDTV:Online campaign for justice in gay profs death
  13. ^ "Gay AMU professor found dead, suicide suspected". NDTV. 7 April 2010. 
  14. ^ http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2010042920474321
  15. ^ "2 journos arrested in AMU reader's death case". United News of India. 2010-04-19. The mediamen had carried out a sting operation on the homosexual relations of the AMU reader with a rickshaw-puller, following which the varsity authorities had suspended Siras and ordered him to vacate his residence. 
  16. ^ Fareed, Mohd Faisal (2015-10-01). "Director won't shoot film on 'gay' prof at AMU campus". Indian Express. A murder case was registered, but the police failed to find any clue and the case was closed. 
  17. ^ Deepu Sebastian Edmond (9 April 2010). "AMU Prof death: Police say poison traces found in body". Indian Express. 

External links[edit]