Skip to main content

Gandhian accused of being Naxalite, anti-national, prematurely removed from Banaras Hindu University

By Our Representative
Well-known Gandhian academic, educationist, social activist Sandeep Pandey has accused RSS hardliners for forcing the decision of the Banaras Hindu University’s Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) for prematurely ending his contract of working as visiting faculty after teaching there for two-and-a-half years.
“This decision was prematurely taken by the Board of Governors (BoG)”, he has said, adding, “In a recent Board meeting the Vice Chancellor of BHU, who was made the Chairman of the IIT Board of Governors by the Minister of HRD, government of India, Smriti Irani, after by-passing the panel of five names recommended by a resolution of the Board of Governors.”
“Thereafter”, he said, “Professor G.C. Tripathi, and Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT, BHU and professor Dhananjay Pandey, both gentlemen associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), primarily forced the decision.”
Explaining the reason for his premature ouster, Pandey, who is a prestigious Magsasay awardee for the year 2002 as an outstanding emergent leader, says that the charges levelled against him is that he is “a Naxalite, showed a banned documentary on Nirbhaya case” and is also “involved in anti-national activities.”
In a short explanatory note published in e-journal sagrangindia.in, Pandey says, “I wish to clarify that I'm not a Naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian.” He adds, “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 on Nirbhaya made by the BBC, “India’s Daughter”, to the students, he says, 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be screened in his Development Studies class during the even semester of academic year 2014-15, “but the decision was withdrawn after intervention of Chief Proctor of the BHU and officer of the Lanka Police Station just before the class.”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”, says Pandey, “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.”
He explains, “I'm not a nationalist but am a universalist. I have no regrets as the decision to terminate my contract has not been taken based on my academic performance but it is because of my political views and activities. I've enjoyed my stay at IIT, BHU and wish the Institute and the Univeristy very much.”
Reports say, the decision to remove Pandey was conveyed to him by Rajeev Sangal, director of IIT-BHU, on January 1, though he is yet to receive an official letter conveying it. His contract was to come to an end in July 2016.
In 1991, Pandey co-founded Asha for Education, an NGO, to provide education to underprivileged children, which now its presence in almost all states of the country. He also co-founded the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the apex body of several people’s organizations of India. NAPM is led by top social activist Medha Patkar.
Pandey is known not to wear ironed clothes, avoids milk as he believes that cows produce milk for their young ones, and acquired considerable praise for leading an India-Pakistan peace march to Multan in 2005.
In 2002, the year he received Magsasay award, Pandey, along with some well-known activists, was dragged into a controversy for attending the inaugural function of a leftist outfit where the kin of some Naxalites killed in a police action in Bihar were honoured.
In 2010, his visit to the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh – where the Maoists are active – for a public hearing of NAPM against the local administration. The hearing met with opposition from some people, which NAPM’s Medha Patkar said was “stage managed”.

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.