Even as sustained agitations to revive the Gandhi Institute of Studies(GIS), a prestigious institute in Varanasi have been taking place, a late night, brazen threat to the acting registrar of the institute, Dr Muniza Rafiq Khan have raised eyebrows and much concern. Activists, activists and senior politicians from all over India have written to chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav to not simply ensure her security but also to also rid the institute by illegal occupation by anti-social elements. Among those who have written letters are senior journalists Qamar Naqvi and Teesta Setalvad.
There have been certain worrisome and threatening developments since the dharna and protests have begun. Late on Saturday night (September 3) around 8.30-9 p.m. when the Acting Registrar, Dr Muniza Rafiq Khan returned to her residence, athreatening letter was pasted on the door of her residence ostensibly signed by one Jagdish who has been running allegedly some unauthorised classes on the premises. The SSP and local police have been very cooperative and given Dr Muniza Khan protection but we urge that stringent action is taken and steps to immediately resolve the entire issue. The threat letter may be read here.
There was a sustained dharna at Lucknow to save the Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi had renewed interest in an institute that had been crippled by anti social elements since 2007.
The letter to the chief minister, says, “There have been certain worrisome and threatening developments since the dharna and protests have begun. Late last night around 8.30-9 p.m. when the Acting Registrar, Dr Muniza Rafiq Khan returned to her residence, a threatening letter was pasted on the door of her residence ostensibly signed by one Jagdish who has been running allegedly some unauthorised classes on the premises. The SSP and local police have been very cooperative and given Dr Muniza Khan protection but we urge that stringent action is taken and steps to immediately resolve the entire issue.”
This prestigious institute, an autonomous research Institute, was established by late Jayaprakash Narayan in 1960 as an “attempt to link Gandhian movement with Social
Science.” Among the founding members were Naba Krishna Choudhary, Shankar Rao Dev, Dr. Sampurnanand, etc.
The previous presidents of the Institute have been Shri Shankarrao Deo (1960-63), Shri Nabakrushna Choudhury (1963-74), Dr. Balbhadra Prasad (1974-76), Shri Jayaprakash Narayan (1976-77), Dr. Manmohan Choudhury (1977-78), Shri S.M. Joshi (1978-84), Dr. Bimal Prasad (1984-2000), Dr. Usha Mehta (2000), Dr. Manmohan Choudhury (2000-02) and Acharya Ramamurti since 2002.
The Institute had earned the wrath of former HRD Minister, Mr. M.M. Joshi, when it resisted attempts to accommodate a representative of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Ms. Kusum Lata Kedia. She however managed to become a member of the Institute faculty.
There after she was even suspended for her questionable activities against the Institute and her colleagues. In August, 2002, Ms. K.L. Kedia was dismissed from her services from the Institute due to non-performance and misbehaviour, by the Board of Management of the Institute.
There have been previous efforts made to restore the institute to a functioning state. However, unfortunately, so far, the Uttar Pradesh government has still not released the 50% matching grant to the Institute nor sanctioned the arrears due for these past years. The staff of the Institute has passed through very difficult times for more than six years and they still receive only 50% of their salaries each month. Yet, due to the prestige it enjoys the Institute has, even now, been able to get major projects from ICSSR, Ministry of H.R.D., the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, World Literacy of Canada, etc.