Late into the evening of Tuesday, July 16, the Academic Council of the Delhi University was “disrupted” by aggressive members of the RSS-affiliate, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). There was a complete gheraoof the RSS-inspired outfits, following which parts of the History and English syllabus dropped under pressure. The meeting ended in pandemonium and teachers had to be smuggled out. A late night message from Professor Nandita Narain, head of the mathematics department at St Stephens and office bearer of the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) alerted persons about the going on last evening.
“We have just got to know that ABVP members are trying to barge into the VC office. They have surrounded the VC lodge and are shouting slogans and demanding that the Heads of Department (HoDs) of History and English along with an AC member Saikat Ghosh be “handed over to them”. It’s pertinent to mention that the AC meeting was supposed to deliberate on the revised under graduate syllabus today.
“While all other syllabi were approved without discussion, the English and History syllabi were stalled by members affiliated to the BJP/RSS teachers’ group NDTF. It was when Professor Saikat Ghosh spoke in the AC meeting in defence of the English syllabus thatthe ABVP tried to enter the Council Hall, immediately thereafter. The Council Hall (has become) a battlefield now between the security personnel of the University and ABVP intruders. Inside the Council Hall, NDTF (organisation of teachers affiliated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-BJP) members have threatened all the teachers involved in syllabus revision.
“The English and History syllabus sent back to respective departments for incorporating suggestions given by the NDTF (the BJP teacher’s wing). The opposing members of the Academic Council and Heads of Department, History had to exit from back door with ABVP students protesting at the AC meeting. Safe passage given to them but no objection or action against the ABVP, not even condemnation by the Delhi University authorities.”
This Facebook post by Naveen Gaur says it all:
“It was a sad, sad day in the history of DU and the highest statutory bodies of DU.
Firstly the DU administration kept the whole AC waiting for nearly 5 hours(without information) to start off the meeting.
To make situation even worse, ABVP students were allowed (yes they were allowed) to come inside the Vice-Regal lodge (very close to the venue of AC meeting) and many of them even climbed on the roof and were visible from the windows near the top of the hall. This happened in complete know how of DU administration and active collusion of some of the people in administration. The attempt was indeed to use intimidate and force a particular decision.
The DU (Delhi University) administration was in complete collusion with people in power (at centre) and actively supported members of the same affiliation. Even when no-one could listen to what is being passed at least two members of DU administration (including the so called LOCF Chairman) actively colluded and specifically informed the same people (sarkari group) that a particular subject will now be discussed and gave directions to Professors, Deans, Heads to act in a particular way. Another person from DU administration (who is also a Principal in a DU college) actively managed everything inside the council hall.
The head of the English department was heckled, threatened and must say spoke wonderfully well that addressed all the concerns of “sarkari group”. A pretence of discussion was made when already all the courses except English, Political Science and History were supposedly sent back (not with the decision of the AC as in that situation nothing could have been heard and without hearing everything was claimed to have been passed but because of pressure from govt. that was used by “sarkari group”).
As the part of the university we need to think seriously if such brazen and shameless interference of govt. is justified in academic institutions. I will end with a couplet from Rahat Indori
“जो आज साहिबे मसनद हैं कल नहीं होंगे
किराएदार हैं ज़ाती मकान थोड़ी है”