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

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.

Delhi HC rules in favour of retired Air Force officer 'overcharged' for Covid treatment

By Rosamma Thomas*  In a decision of May 22, 2023, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of petitioner Group Captain Suresh Khanna who was under treatment at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, between April 28 and May 5, 2021, for a period of eight days, for Covid-19 pneumonia. The petitioner had to pay Rs 3,55,286 as treatment costs, but the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) only reimbursed him for Rs 1,83,748, on the basis of government-approved rates. 

'Enough evidence' in Indian tradition to support legal basis for same-sex marriage

By Iyce Malhotra, Joseph Mathai, Sandeep Chachra*  The ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage provides space for much-needed conversations on issues that have hitherto remained “invisible” or engaged with patriarchal locker room humour. We must recognize that people with diverse sexualities and complex gender identities have faced discrimination, stigma and decades of oppression. Their issues have mainly remained buried in dominant social discourse, and many view them with deep insecurities.

Religious divide 'kept alive' with low intensity communalism in Gujarat's cultural capital

By Rajiv Shah  A fact-finding report, prepared by the Mumbai-based non-profit, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), has cited the Vadodara Ram Navami violence of March 30 as yet another example of how, after the BJP consolidating its hold on political power in Gujarat post-2002 riots and at the Centre in 2014, the nature of communal riots has changed, underlining, as opposed to high-intensity violence earlier, now riots have become “more sub-radar and at a smaller scale, more localized”.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Caste, impact on Ayodhya area 'halting' BJP rulers to act against Brij Bhushan Singh

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Finally, the #WrestlersProtest has got international attention. The United World Wrestling (UWW),  condemning the treatment and detention of wrestlers and expressing its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations against Brij Bhushan Singh, accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, has urged the "relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation."

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

76% Odisha govt school infrastructure in dilapidated state, 'undermine' RTE norms

By Our Representative  As many as 75.86% (5,421) elementary schools in Odisha do not possess a playground, depriving students of physical activity opportunities. Also, 75.68% (5,408) of schools require minor or major repairing, undermining the norms and standards stipulated in the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Can India's water management infrastructure address gender vulnerability issues?

By Monami Bhattacharya, Megha Gupta, Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The climatic pattern of the earth is evolving and changing for a very long time, but in the recent times spanning this century, the change has been drastic which has raised serious concerns to all. Climate criss is also clearly manifested as gender crisis where women are more vulnerable besides being more voiceless to raise the issue. India is marked as a highly climate-vulnerable nation. In addition, the gender disparity in the patriarchal society seems deeply and naturally ingrained among all.