Skip to main content

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Arif Mohammad Khan, Prof Irfan Habib
Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.

Text:

The 80th Session of the Indian History Congress (IHC) was inaugurated on December 28, 2019. Being attended by most of the prominent historians of India, the session was to be inaugurated by His Excellency, the Governor of Kerala, Arif Muhammad Khan.
The inaugural session started on the right note. But soon after the Presidential Address delivered by Professor Amiya Kumar Bagchi (Kolkata), Arif Muhammad Khan was called to deliver his speech. Instead of delivering an address the Honourable Governor started not only defending the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) but also accusing all those who did not agree with CAA as “Pakistani” agents who never had the courage to criticise the wrong policies of the Gandhi family, specially Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Along with all those who opposed CAA as anti-nationals, he went along to suggest that this could not be understood by the people of Kerala who never experienced the partition of India and creation of Pakistan.
On hearing such comments being spoken by the Governor, two young women who are doing research from JNU stood up silently holding placards created from the papers available to them: “No to CAA” was the message written on them. Along with them a few senior professors from Centre of Advanced Studies (CAS), Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and Delhi University (DU) stood up asking the Governor to refrain from what he was doing.
The protestors were surrounded by the police who tried to enter into a physical scuffle and tried to take the two girls into custody, but for the timely intervention by a Rajya Sabha MP attending the Inaugural and present on the dias. Soon a host of researchers from Jawararlal Nehru University (JNU), AMU,DU and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) were detained. Fortunately, they were all released within an hour. Attempt was also made to detain a senior professor from Aligarh.
As soon as Prof Habib, 88, protested, the ADC and the security officer of the Governor pushed him and tried to stop him
As the protests commenced, Prof Irfan Habib who was on the dias in the capacity of being the outgoing president of the IHC, got up from his seat and proceeded to the vice-chancellor, Kannur University, Prof Gopinath Ravindran to request him to stop what was happening and request the governor to refrain from turning IHC into his political arena and making remarks of the nature he was indulging in.
As soon as Prof Habib went there, the ADC and the security officer of the Governor pushed him and tried to stop him. The Governor too started accusing Habib of trying to stop him from speaking.
It is surprising that the incidence of protest against stifling of democratic dissent is being tweeted by the Honourable Governor as an attack on him.
Instead of apologising to one of the seniormost historian (who is 88 years old) of the country who had been pushed around by his ADC and security officers, the Governor through his tweet is spreading falsehood and claiming instead that the professor pushed the ADC and Security Officer! We condemn these attempts at spreading falsehood unequivocally.
The members of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA) also condemn the stifling the democratic voices and our right to protest. We further condemn the way the Constitution of India is being effectively dismantled through Acts like CAA.
We also condemn the force used on the members of the Indian History Congress which is the largest body of professional historians of India and attempts to detain some of its members who were protesting peacefully. We laud Prof Irfan Habib, Padma Bhushan and professor emeritus (AMU), for raising his voice against the rising intolerance to democratic norms.

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Joblessness, saffronisation, corporatisation of education: BJP 'squarely responsible'

Counterview Desk  In an open appeal to youth and students across India, several student and youth organizations from across India have said that the ruling party is squarely accountable for the issues concerning the students and the youth, including expensive education and extensive joblessness.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

India's "welcome" proposal to impose sin tax on aerated drinks is part of to fight growing sugar consumption

By Amit Srivastava* A proposal to tax sugar sweetened beverages like tobacco in India has been welcomed by public health advocates. The proposal to increase sin taxes on aerated drinks is part of the recommendations made by India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the parliament of India.

Why it's only Modi ki guarantee, not BJP's, and how Varanasi has seen it up-close

"Development" along Ganga By Rosamma Thomas*  I was in Varanasi in this April, days before polling began for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There are huge billboards advertising the Member of Parliament from Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The only image on all these large hoardings is of the PM, against a saffron background. It is as if the very person of Modi is what his party wishes to showcase.