Like the Vajpayee-led NDA Government in the first half of the last decade, this Modi-led government has also taken the path of communalisation, combined with its corporate lobbyism. For a government where a non-graduate (vouching false claims to be a graduate) is appointed a Minister of Human Resources Development, it can well be estimated about the importance they are going to give on education.
Education ushers in consciousness. And for the same reason, they have decided to control the educational and research institutions. Appointment of Y. Sudershan Rao, a peddler of myths as the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research in September 2014 marked the revival of Saffronisation of research and education in India. The credential of this professor, Y. Sudershan Rao, whose mythology-based works have never appeared on peer-reviewed journals, has been that he has been long a premier of advocate of Hindutva and previously headed AkhilBharatiyaItihasSankalanYojana, the history wing of the SanghParivar. Differences with his opinion later triggered the resignation of Prof.Sabyasachi Bhattacharya from the Editor of Indian Historical Review (the journal published by ICHR) and Dr.GopinathRavindran from the post of member-secretary of ICHR.
In December 2014, IIT Delhi Director Dr.RaghunathShevgaonkar had to resign from his post under pressure to pay Rs. 70 lakhs as arrears to former IIT Delhi professor-turned BJP leader SubrahmaniamSwamy for his salary dues between 1972 and 1981.
Celebrated economist and Nobel laureate Dr.AmartyaSen declined a 2nd term as Chancellor of Nalanda University as he felt that the government did not want him. He further lamented that “academic governance in India remains so deeply vulnerable to opinions of the ruling government.”
Nobel laureate structural biologist V. Ramakrishnan slammed the 103rd Science Congress (2016) as a ‘circus’ ‘where very little science is discussed’. He mentioned that a participant claimed that aeroplanes had been discovered in India by a sage in the Vedic period! B.G.Sidharth, the Director of B.M.Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad added that it was nothing more than a ‘KumbhMela of Science’ where the focus was solely on Prime Minister’s visit.
Our Prime Minister NarendraModi, in various speeches has deliberately mixed mythology with science to reap out a communal dividend by reconnecting to the Hindu electorate. While inaugurating a hospital, instead of promoting India’s rich ancient medical advances of Ayurveda by Susruta, Charaka, he exemplified the birth of Karna and the ‘transplantation’ofGanesha’s head as examples of stem cell baby and plastic surgery in ancient India. He also claimed that nuclear bombs were invented in India during the time of the Ramayana and Mahabharata and Brahmastra, Pashupatiastra are examples of the same.
Like the ICHR, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was attempted to occupy by the saffron brigade by appointing Gajendra Chauhan as its Chairman (a post previously held by luminaries such as RitwikGhatak, ShyamBenegal, AdoorGopalakrishnan among others) on 9th June 2015. His lone credential was playing the role of Yudhisthira in the epic serial Mahabharata and acted in a few semi-porn B-grade movies with adult themes. This led to consistent students’ movement who launched an indefinite strike from 12th June. The strike was withdrawn after 139 days, though the opposition is on.
On 11th July, the College Education department of Rajasthan issued a circular that all government colleges should mandatorily purchase the book ‘Adhunik Bharat KeNirmataDr.KeshavBaliramHegdewar’ written by Rakesh Sinha. The author is the Honorary Director of India Policy Foundation, a thinktank of RSS, and Hegdewar was none other than the founding Sarsanghachalak of the RSS. In the book ‘NayaUjala’, a textbook for Class III students in Rajasthan, AsaramBapu, a self-syledgodman and a rape accused, has been portrayed as a great saint along with Guru Nanak, Swami Vivekananda, Mother Teresa. A book on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, introduced as a reference for Class VII-VIII students of Gujarat was withdrawn on the pretext that it was anti-Hindu.
6 SFI students of Shree Verma College of Thrissur in Kerala were suspended for organising a Beef Festival, a symbolic protest against the Dadri (in Uttar Pradesh) murder (September, 2015) where a man was lynched to death, and his son was seriously injured by a mob amidst rumours that he ate beef.
Within a week of the above incident, a Dalit student has been brutally beaten by a teacher as the student, albeit unintentionally, had touched a plate while the mid-day meal was distributed. The incident of social blockade on the Dalit students reached its nadir when Rohith V., a PhD scholar from Hyderabad Central University who was abetted to commit a suicide by the university authorities and communal authorities, including the Union minister BandaruDattatreya. He, along with 4 other Dalit students, were suspended under pressure from ABVP and even their stipend was put on hold.
SFI West Bengal State Committee calls upon all its units to isolate RSS and its affiliates through ruthless ideological struggle against such brazen attempts. This ideological struggle will decide the trajectory of our education system, as well as that of our nation.