Attend Simhastha, a Hindu religious fair, and get this blessing: free two days’ attendance.
This offer came to the students of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication in Bhopal amid growing concern in the government over thin presence of pilgrims during Simhastha. The government had claimed that about 5 crore pilgrims would turn up at Simhastha but the figure so far has not touched 1 crore when the month-long fair is halfway through its course.
The then university registrar, Sachchidanand Joshi, issued the notice on April 28: ‘jo vidhyarthi is Mahakumbh Simhastha me apne parijano ke sath bhag lega unhe vishwavidyalaya ke or se vibhag me do dino ke upastithi di jayegi (Those students who take part in Simhastha at Ujjain with their relatives, the university will mark them as present and grant them two days’ attendance).
However, what is left unsaid is how the university plans to verify whether a student has attended Simhastha.
“The initiative was taken by the university to impress the state government by ensuring increased footfalls in the month-long fair,” said a university official on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to media.
BJP govt trying to promote “saffronisation” of educational institutions, says Cong
The Congress alleged the BJP government was trying to promote “saffronisation” of the educational institutions campuses through such activities.
Chief spokesperson of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee KK Mishra said, “The notification has proved that the university is working as an RSS wing and they are trying to impose their ideology on students.”
RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is the ideological parent of Bharatiya Janata Party that is ruling the state and the Centre.
“Earlier, we had shared a photo in which RSS weekly meeting was held on the university premises. My advice to the vice chancellor (VC) and also the staff of the varsity is to take a holy dip at Simhastha and make themselves pure,” he said.
Universities are supposed to be secular in their approach: DAVV ex-VC
Ex-vice chancellor of Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAVV) in Indore Dr Bharat Chhaparwal said, “The universities are supposed to be secular in their approach. The students are free to go anywhere on their own. If the university authorities wish to increase the crowd in Simhastha I don’t know what I should say about their wisdom. In fact, it’s not worth commenting at all”.
Then registrar Sachchidanand Joshi said he didn’t want to comment as he had resigned. Vice-chancellor of the university BK Kuthiala said he wouldn’t like to comment on the issue.