Monday, May 09, 2016

Senior Gandhian academic refused entry into Banaras Hindu University despite Allahabad High Court order

By Our Representative
Despite the compelling order of the Allahabad High Court to reinstate Magsaysay awardee, Dr Sandeep Pandey, to the Indian Institute of Technology- Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU), Dr Pandey has said he has not been allowed to “rejoin the IIT-BHU when he went to do so on Saturday, May 7.”
Sandeep Pandey told e-journal sabrangindia.in, “When I went on May 7, 2016 to rejoin IIT-BHU after a Allahabad High Court order dated April 22, 2016, which quashed my termination order as a visiting professor there on January 6, 2016, the director, Prof Rajeev Sangal, informed me that vice-chancellor Prof Girish Chandra Tripathi, who also happens to be the chairman, IIT-BHU Board of Governors, has not yet returned the file in which his advice was sought in the matter of my rejoining.”
“Effectively, the vice-chancellor has decided to delay the compliance of the High Court order”, Dr Pandey, who is a Gandhian educationist and an activist, said. Dr Pandey is on annual contract with the IIT-BHU, which ends on July 31, 2016.
Dr Pandey believes, the entire effort appears to be to “deliberately dilly dally over my re-entry until that date, and effectively ‘use up the time of three months that he has available to appeal the High Court’s Order in the Supreme Court.” This would enable him to successfully “block my return to the IIT-BHU campus, which is probably what his intention is”, he adds.
Delivering the order, Justices Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and V.K. Shukla quoted from Voltaire’s words, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.” It especially took strong exception to the top Gandhian academic not being given a chance to explain the serious charges levelled against him.
The order recalls the "syncretic" vision of the founder of the BHU, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, who said, “India is not a country of Hindus only. It is country of Muslims, the Christians and the Parsees too. The country can gain strength and develop itself only when the people of different communities in India live in mutual goodwill and harmony.”
Malaviya was further quoted as saying, “It is my earnest hope and prayer that this Centre of life and light which is coming into existence will produce students who would not be intellectually equal to the best of their fellow students in other parts of the world, but will also live a noble life, love their country and be loyal to the supreme ruler.”
Pandey was accused by university authorities as being “a Naxalite”, for "showing" a banned BBC documentary on Nirbhaya case, and is of being “involved in anti-national activities.” Refuting the charges, Pandey had said, “I wish to clarify that I'm not a Naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian.” He added, “But I do identify with the causes taken up by Naxalites even though I may not agree with their methods.”
As for the charge that he had shown the banned documentary, “India’s Daughter”, to the students, he said, it was to be screened in his Development Studies class during the even semester of academic year 2014-15, “but the decision was withdrawn after intervention of Chief Proctor of the BHU and officer of the Lanka Police Station just before the class.”
“However”, he added, “A discussion on the issue of violence against women in our society was conducted after screening a different documentary.”
Coming to the charge that he is anti-national, Pandey says, “I do not believe in the idea of a nation or national boundaries, which I think are responsible for artificial divisions among human beings similar to the ones on the basis of caste or religion. Hence I cannot be anti or pro-nation. I am pro-people.”

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