Punjab Technical University move to shut ‘RSS-backed’ course raises eyebrows | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Punjab Technical University move to shut ‘RSS-backed’ course raises eyebrows

Interestingly, the popularity of the course had prompted at least three universities of Pakistan — University of Health Science (Lahore), University of Sind (Jamshoro) and University of Education (Lahore) — to study this model and they too are in the process of starting this course.

punjab Updated: Jun 03, 2017 13:04 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Punjab Technical University
Punjab Technical University(HT File)

The Universal Human Values and Ethics (UHVE) course that the Inder Kumar Gujral Punjab Technical University (IKJ-PTU) has decided to shut on the ground that it was spreading Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s ideology was actually recommended for technical universities under the Congress-led UPA government in 2013.

Interestingly, the popularity of the course had prompted at least three universities of Pakistan — University of Health Science (Lahore), University of Sind (Jamshoro) and University of Education (Lahore) — to study this model and they too are in the process of starting this course.

As per records available with HT, this course was first started at IIT Delhi & IIT Kanpur in 2000. Later, the course was extensively tried as a credit-based academic course at IIT Hyderabad in 2005. The Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow, adopted it in 2009 before it was launched by IKG-PTU in 2013.

“The National Integration Council has made some suggestions for the University Grants Commission (UGC) to stop radicalisation of youth for which effective programmes should be launched in all educational institutions at regular intervals. In view of the above, you are requested to take measures, as deemed fit, to stop radicalisation of youth by teaching students human values,” R Manoj Kumar, education officer, UGC had written to all varsities on January 18, 2013. Then union human resource development minister MM Pallam Raju had repeatedly asked UGC to add this course in engineering colleges.

The course is based on work of three stalwarts in education, namely Prof RR Gaur (IIT Delhi), Prof Rajeev Sangal (then Director IIT Hyderabad) and Prof GP Bagaria (alumnus of IIT Kanpur).

‘Dean’s personal grudge against ex-vc behind move’

The way this course is being shut is also raising eyebrows.

On May 9, a committee was formed by KS Pannu, officiating vice-chancellor-cum-secretary, technical education, to re-evaluate this course after dean (extension and development) NP Singh advocated that the course was spreading the RSS ideology.

Sources said the reason Singh cited for closure of the course was that it was the brainchild of previous vice-chancellor Dr Rajnish Arora, who had “closely worked with the RSS”.

They said Singh had remained suspended for three years during Arora’s tenure.

This committee, headed by dean (research and development) Dr AP Singh, submitted its report in favour of the course and suggested that “it should be made more inclusive”.

However, another committee, headed by Dr Ravi Kumar, a National Institute of Technology professor, was formed on May 17 to look into the matter afresh. On May 21, the committee recommended closure of the course citing that it was spreading RSS ideology.

However, sources in the university said the move to shut the course was rooted in NP Singh’s personal grudge against Arora.

“The dean is trying to discredit Arora and misguiding the officiating V-C to settle his personal score. As far as this course is concerned, the same syllabus is being taught in more than 40 universities in India. Interestingly, no course can be shut and started without permission of the academic council and Board of governors. But in this case, no permission was taken and simply a letter was issued,” said a senior faculty member.

BLURB Recommendation to introduce Universal Human Values and Ethics course in varsities was made by Congress-led UPA govt in 2013