Universities across the country are being witness to a growing trend of infiltration by the right-wing RSS. Educational institutions used to be known as places where students can openly discuss, debate and disagree on various topics.
In these educational institutions, students have always been allowed their democratic right to dissent. But, in like most other liberal, democratic and progressive spaces, the RSS has managed to penetrate into Banaras Hindu University too. A few days with the students of Banaras Hindu University and some major issues being faced by the students have come to light.
BHU – an introduction
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a central University located in the Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi. The current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Girish Cahndra Tripathi was appointed in late 2014 by a search panel that was led by the same man who was PM Modi’s proposer for his candidature as MP from his constituency.
The VC, a self-proclaimed RSS man, has allowed the RSS cadres to hold rallies inside the prestigious campus. The VC himself has been seen hoisting the RSS’ student wing, ABVP’s flag at various occasions. With the aim of permeating their proxies into important posts of the university, the VC and the BHU administration have been practicing favoritism while appointing professors.
An RTI reply to a student has revealed that some teaching staff have even been appointed on the basis of stolen PhDs; yet there has been no action. In a particular episode, an HOD pointed out to the Vice Chancellor that a particular appointment as directed by the VC could not be made because the teacher lacked credentials.
The VC, in retaliation, asked the HOD to either accept his command without questioning him or resign; the HOD resigned. Such incidents have been taking place every second day across faculties. There is no space for those who question the ‘BHU dictatorship model’ and the administration is only happy to let them go.
Rampant misogyny on the campus
One may ask what really is wrong in RSS taking over an institution. To answer this, let’s understand the current situation in the university:
- Right to dissent has been snatched away from the students. There have been various instances where students have democratically been protesting in demand for basic rights. Such students have either been suspended or expelled. In a particular incident, students were on a hunger strike demanding a 24 hour open library; a facility that is promised in the university prospectus and was available to students prior to the current VC’s appointment. Over 1000 police personnel dragged the students out of campus, beat them brutally and they have now been suspended for two academic sessions. Over time, more than 20 student activists of the university, known to raise their voice, have been framed with serious criminal charges including attempt to murder.
- Girls are being treated as second class citizens. Girls who enroll into the university have to get an undertaking signed from their parents that they will not participate in any form of protest or the like and if caught doing so they will be removed from the hostel. While boys hostel has both veg and non-veg food, the girls’ hostel has only veg food because apparently it is against ‘Malviya Mulya’. Girls are not allowed to wear what they want to and have to report in their hostel latest by 8 pm while the boys’ hostel has no curfew time. If a girl is caught talking on her phone (even to her parents) after 10 pm by the warden or housekeeper, the phone gets confiscated and is returned only after their parents are informed about it. If a girl is seen with any boy, she is handed over to the proctor for ‘maligning the cultural and traditional values of our country’.
- Representatives of the backward strata of the society have no space in this university. If one picks the list of HODs, important post holders or executive council of the university, they will realise that the entire list cosists of only ‘upper caste’ names. In such an environment, it is only natural that discrimination will flourish.
- The budget of the university is nearly Rs 760 crore but the expenditure report is not published. In the past years, the annual report of expenditure used to be sent to the University Grants Commission. However, in the last two years whether this report has been sent or not is also unknown. In this period, various scams too have come to light such as – CT scan center scam, alumni gift scam, favoritism in teachers’ appointments, trauma center scam, medical courses being run without MCI recognition, entrance exam scam, among others. The administration clearly has a two point agenda to fulfill – communalisation and filling their pockets. They’re keen on making as much money as they can irrespective of how badly it affects the students.
- A single ideology is being imposed on all the students, teachers and workers inside the university. The ideological space within which fruitful discussions are to be held has been shrunk so badly that it has become difficult to breathe. Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey, who was a visiting faculty, was sacked from the University for holding an ideology different from that of the VC. Students were warned that if they were seen celebrating Valentine’s day, they’d attract ‘category A’ punishment. The university prospectus promises a 24 hour library with bus facility for girls till 5 am in the morning. When asked to reinstate this facility, the VC said that expecting girls to study at night is not pragmatic. According to the administration, ‘Graduate students don’t need a library. They shouldn’t read anything other than the syllabus. They are demanding a cyber-library to watch porn.’ Petrol bombs too have been found inside hostel rooms of an RSS affiliated student.
Such is the situation inside the campus. In such an environment a student will never be able to gain holistic education. This trend is very dangerous to the student community and needs to be stopped.
Students inside the campus are scared to even speak up. We cannot afford to have an entire generation of imprisoned minds. It is important for the student community across the country to understand the dangers that this trend poses to the Idea of India. We all need to unite and fight these fascist forces strongly.
(The author is the National General Secretary of NSUI. The views expressed are the author’s own and jantakareporter.com may not necessarily subscribe to them.)