MSF And KSU Led Protest Marches to The Campus on Thursday

Date:

The inclusion of excerpts from works of RSS ideologues Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and M. S Golwalkar in the revised syllabus of a post-graduation course in Kannur University has triggered controversy in the state of Kerala.

Students Unions led protest marches to the campus this Thursday and burned copies of the syllabus, accusing the expert committee of saffronizing the academic syllabus.

The Syllabus

The syllabus drafting committee recently renamed a core subject in the third-year semester syllabus of the newly introduced Masters course in Public Administration from ‘contemporary Political Theory’ to ‘Debates in Indian Politics’.

The paper includes extracts from Golwalker’s ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ and ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’ along with Savarkar’s ‘Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?’. The expert committee included the texts in the second unit titled ‘Rashtra or Nation in Indian Political Thought’.

The paper also includes parts of Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ‘Integral Humanism’ and Balraj Madho’s ‘Indianisation: What, Why and How?”, along with the works of B.R. Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohandas Gandhi, and Rabindranath Tagore.

The program is currently offered only in Government Brennan College in Thalassery, under the Kannur University.

Students Protest Saffronization

The protesting students from Kerala Students Union (the students’ wing of Congress) and Muslim Students Federation (students’ wing of the IUML) allege that the drafting of the syllabus was carried out in the absence of any Board of Studies for the post-graduate program.

Instead, the University appointed an expert committee comprising four members to draft the syllabus. The students questioned the role of the University Vice-Chancellor in constituting the committee.

Students blamed the expert committee for giving more significance to the Hindutva ideologues by side-stepping the other leaders. Students asked the University authorities to not fall prey to the Sangh Parivar Agenda of re-writing history and saffronizing education.

They also accused the Pinarayi Vijayan led government of encouraging the Sangh’s agenda in the state.

Both factions marched to the University Headquarters and burned copies of the syllabus this Thursday. Addressing the protesting students, the state Vice-President of the Youth Congress, Rijil Makkuty, declared that they would continue resisting saffronization in educational institutions.

“This is an example of the clout Hindutva proponents enjoy in our educational institutions,” Dr R K Biju, a representative of the United Democratic Front, said while demanding a curriculum revision in the University Senate.

They should learn more, respond to the University Vice-Chancellor.

To the accusations raised against them, Kannur University Vice-Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran responded that the students would not be protesting if they had read the texts.

He refuted the charges raised against the expert committee saffronizing the syllabus and said that the RSS ideologues are also a part of Indian political thought. He also stressed the significance of those texts in a better comprehension of the country’s contemporary political situation.

“They are foundational texts for the current [Indian] Politics,” he said.

He also informed the press of the constitution of an independent committee of two members to study the issue.

The Chairman of the University and a member of the Students Federation of India affiliated to the ruling CPI (M), M.K Hassan, echoed the V.C.’s sentiment in his statement.

“Only if this is taught will one know what damage these people [Hindutva thinkers] have done,” he said.

Other Responses

The State Minister for Higher Education and Social Justice, R. Bindhu, told the press that the ministry had demanded an official statement from the V.C due to the “sensitive nature of the issue”.
(The Vice-Chancellor later addressed the media and said that the University had submitted a report in the ministry.)

M.N Karassery, a prominent Malayali critic and a former Malayalam Professor at the University of Calicut, expressed his astonishment and stated that the issue is “shocking news”.

BJP’s state leader K Surendran stated that he found nothing wrong in teaching Golwalker and Savarkar since “history is not a monopoly of anyone”.

Seba Fathima
Seba Fathima
I am a student pursuing BA Hons English at Miranda House.

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