Skip to main content

Sanskrit imposition meant to spread Brahminical order: Decognized anti-Modi Ambedkar-Pariyar group hits back

By Our Representative
The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IITM) authorities’ decision to “derecognize” the Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle (APSC) following an inquiry into APSC’s “controversial” views by the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has led to a strong reaction from those running the APSC. In their reply, APSC office bearers have wondered whether expressing a different view from the one held by Modi government could be construed as an attempt to spread of hatred.
Sent to the IITM authorities, the APSC reply said, “We do not understand how dissent and criticism of the government’s policy is akin to ‘spreading hatred’. If any person professing an anti-establishment view is accused of engaging in ‘controversial’ activities and all dissent is stifled, wouldn’t that be a violation of our constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely express ourselves?”
The APSC was debarred from continuing with its study circle by the Dean of Students of IITM on May 22, allegedly because it was “misusing” the privileges given to it as an independent student body. The decision to recognize the ASPC was reportedly taken unilaterally without giving any change to the student body to represent itself.
One of the reasons for derecognizing APSC was, it discussed "language politics" and criticized government for giving "primacy" to Sanskrit and Hindi. The APSC hit back, “As rationalists, we feel that though Sanskrit has a valued place as part of culture and history of certain sections of our society, it is also an instrument of spreading a Brahminical, dominant narrative.”
It insisted, “Imposition of Sanskrit in school has less to do with teaching a language and more to do with the ideology behind teaching the language. We stand by our opinions and wish to assert our rights to profess our opinions freely.”
Replying to other objections raised in the anonymous complaint which became the basis for the MHRD "inquiry",  the APSC said, “Our activities are engaged with the healthy discussion on socio-economic issues on scientific basis to promote the scientific temper among the student which is allowed by the Indian Constitution”, asking why a similar yardstick is not applied on right-wing students' organizations.
Pointing out that the IITM authorities’ views suggest that only opinions put forth by a right-wing group would be allowed to continue their activities, the reply said, the Dean of Students had earlier warned the APSC to change the name from Ambedkar-Periyar, since it was “polarizing the students”. This, it indicated, suggested the Dean’s anti-Dalit point of view. While BR Ambedkar is the national symbol of Dalit rights, Periyar was the founder of the Dravid movement.
Quoting from the MHRD letter dated May 21, 2015, the reply said, one of the allegations in the anonymous complaint was that the study centre was spreading hatred against the Modi government. To substantiate, a copy of an APSC pamphlet on Ambedkar Jayanti was enclosed.
“IITM itself have had many meetings that discussed the policies and legislation of the current and previous elected governments”, the APSC said, wondering what steps were taken by the IITM authorities against those who fought on streets against the government’s reservation policy in the past.
The APSC said, another accusation is that it has been “spreading hatred” between scheduled caste/scheduled tribes (SC/ST) and Hindus. “We are surprised”, it stated, asking, “Are SC/ST not part of the so-called Hindus? How MHRD and IITM ares perceiving such a venomous anonymous mail with full of hatred towards the SC/ST and Ambedkar?"
It wonders, "Are we the ones who polarize the students or they are the ones who think IITM is their own base to propagate against the interest of SC/ST and other backward classes?”

Comments

TRENDING

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

'Discussed' with Modi, Gujarat Rann Sarovar proposal for Kutch runs into rough weather

By Rajiv Shah
Top Saurashtra industrialist Jaysukhbhai Patel’s by now controversial proposal to convert the 4,900 sq km Little Rann of Kutch area, an eco-sensitive zone – a UNESCO biosphere, world’s only wild ass reserve, and a nesting ground of lesser flamingoes – into a huge sweet water lake, called Rann Sarovar, has suffered a major roadblock. At least three Central agencies have expressed serious doubts about its feasibility.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.