Now, Banaras Hindu University asks postgraduate students to write on BJP, AAP
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Now, Banaras Hindu University asks postgraduate students to write on BJP, AAP

This comes close on the heels of the BHU asking political science students to write in an exam the nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashashtra or Manu’s idea of globalisation.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2017 21:05 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Sudhir Kumar
Varanasi, Hindustan Times
Banaras Hindu University,Bharatiya Janata Party,Aam Aadmi Party
A file photo of the Banaras Hindu University. A professor said political parties were part of the MA first-year syllabus (Picture credit: IIT-BHU official website)

Banaras Hindu University tested the knowledge of its postgraduate political science students on contemporary politics with questions on two ruling Indian parties in their first semester exam — the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party.

“Write an essay on Bhartiya Janta Party.” Never mind the spelling of the proper noun, but this was question number six carrying 15 marks in the exam for the MA part-one subject, titled Indian Political System: Theoretical and Structural Aspects.

The students had the option of attempting another essay should they find an article on the BJP difficult to handle. The other choice: “In two era of Coalition Government in India, Discuss the nature of federalism”.

The AAP, which rules the national capital of Delhi, was part of a short-answer question in the exam held five days ago. According to students, it was part of another question with five sub-parts, carrying two marks apiece.

“Political parties are part of the MA first-year syllabus. So, the two questions were incorporated in the question paper. No student had any objection to it,” said BHU political science professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra, who set the question paper.

Asked why he chose not to frame a long-answer question on any other political party, Mishra said the BJP was on his mind when he was setting the paper.

“There is nothing intentional. A short-answer question about the AAP is also there in the paper,” he said on Saturday.

The students had it easy as one of them said everyone knows the AAP is a political party.

“As far as question number six is concerned, writing an essay on the BJP was equally easy.”

It wasn’t a cakewalk for many when they confronted ancient philosopher Kautilya’s political treatise Arthashastra in the context of modern-day goods and services tax, and sage Manu’s concept of globalisation in their exam on “social and political thought of ancient and medieval India” on Monday.

Question number five, carrying 15 marks, said: “Write an essay on nature of GST in Kautilya’s Arthashashtra.” The optional question was “Manu is the first Indian thinker of globalisation. Discuss.”

Mishra defended the questions, or rather the topics, saying these were being taught at the university since 1939.

He said Kautilya’s Arthashastra, a Sanskrit treatise on political diplomacy, economy and military strategy, talks of a single-tax system, including 13 slabs.

Mishra also justified the optional question, saying ancient sage Manu talked about the whole world in the book, Manusmriti Me Rajtantra, and was the first global thinker. “There is no doubt about it.”

But the questions and topics triggered a debate as critics alleged that these were part of a drive by Hindu hardliners to promote ancient philosophies in the contemporary context.

“Arthashastra was for monarchy and GST is introduced in a democracy,” said Dhananjay Tripathi, a political analyst at the university.

First Published: Dec 09, 2017 18:34 IST