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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.