Skip to main content

Book on how RSS "hardliners" captured BHU, other campuses, expelled top academic

By Our Representative
In a controversial decision, in January 2016, the Banaras Hindu University’s Indian Institute of Technology (BHU-IIT) expelled well-known Gandhian academic, educationist and Magsaysay award winning social activist, Prof Sandeep Pandey, allegedly under “hardline” RSS pressure. Despite an Allahabad High Court order, to reinstate him he was not allowed in.
Now Pandey has written an autobiographical book, 'Why I was expelled from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India”, running into 101 pages, accusing the “parochial” government led by the BJP and its “ideological parent” RSS, for seeking to destroy the academic environment of India’s campuses “in an effort to take them over.”
Introducing the book, whose English edition is available on Kindle, and Hindi edition is online, Pandey says, what has happened to him is continuing “campus after campus”, adding, “Scholars have been made to leave, humiliated, events of organisations believing in ideology different from the Hindtuva ideology of RSS/BJP have been cancelled on campuses at last moment if they were lucky to get initial permission, students have been suspended”.
On the other hand, even as referring to how Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar of Hyderabad Central University was forced to commit suicide, and how Kanhaiya Kumar, a backward class scholar of the Jawaharlal Nahru University was sought to be implicated, Pandey says, “Unqualified people belonging to RSS have been appointed to top positions, mythology has been paraded as history/science, research is sought to be controlled, etc., since the BJP government came to power in 2014.”
Sandeep Pandey
Referring to his expulsion from BHU in 2016 on charges that his teachings were anti-national, Pandey says, he was accused of being a “Naxalite sympathiser” and committing a “cyber crime by sharing the link of BBC documentary 'India's Daughters' which was banned by Government of India.”
He continues, “I went to the Allahabad High Court. In spite of getting a wonderful order which upheld my fundamental right to freedom of expression and supported the idea of respect for diversity of thought by quoting none other than the founder of the University, Madan Mohan Malviya, the Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi, whose academic credentials to hold this high post were suspect, did not let me return to campus.”
According to Pandey, “What is happening to our university campuses is part of larger exercise to communalise the society and polarise the voters. In doing so the fascist tendencies of RSS/BJP are killing all spaces of dissent, so essential for any academic activity.”
He adds, “The BHU VC thought that the only reason why students needed a 24 hours internet facility was to be able to watch pornography. The mindset of people in power since 2014 has been anti-intellectual and is causing permanent damage to our academic institutions.”
Stating that the book has been written to “share these concerns so that the fight against retrograde forces could be strengthened, not only to save the academic campuses but also the larger society”, Pandey believes, “The liberal values of liberty, equality, justice, fraternity-sorority and the entire Constitution is under threat today.”
He asserts, “A basic question is confronting Indian society today, whether democracy will survive or not? It is hoped that the book will contribute in some way towards this larger struggle.”
Introducing Pandey in the Foreword to the book, Rajmohan Gandhi -- biographer and research professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi -- has called him one of India's "finest sons", who after obtaining a doctorate in a top American university, "could have created a prosperious life for himslf", but chose instead to return to India and "use his gifted mind to assist the weak and forgotten."
According to Gandhi, while Pandey's "family needs" compelled him to resume teaching at his alma mater, BHU, "Unwilling to silence his conscience, he fought at BHU for the rights of women students." 
Later, "When Prof GD Agrawal, crusader for the environment and for a free-flowing Ganga, died from a prolonged fast in June 2018, Pandey ensured that the utlimate sacrifice of Prof Agrawal was made known to as many Indians as possible."

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”