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Raje govt wants Rajasthan colleges to install Vivekananda statue

The move has received criticism with academics saying that the government is turning educational institutes into places where personality cults are worshipped.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2017 22:35 IST
Salik Ahmad
Salik Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Vasundhara Raje government,BJP government,Swami Vivekananda
A statue of Vivekananda at the University of Delhi. Detractors of the BJP government say that the directive will turn colleges into places where personality cults are worshipped. (HT File Photo)

The Rajasthan government has directed colleges in the state to install a statue of Vivekananda if they do not have the image of an ‘inspirational personality’ on campus, in an attempt to make each student ‘patriotic’.

But the move has come under fire, with many considering it as another one of the BJP government’s measures to institutionalise Vivekananda—considered an icon of Hindu philosophy.

A recent circular by the commissionerate of college education states that as per government instructions, each college in the state should have the image of a ‘great or inspirational personality’ displayed on campus so as to ‘inspire the students to live with integrity’.

The notice further reads that if the image of a ‘great figure’ is not there on campus, then colleges should begin the process of installing a statue of ‘Swami Vivekananda Ji’.

Requesting anonymity, a senior official from the state higher education minister’s office said, “Vivekananda is an icon of youth power, which is why we want his statue to be there in colleges and inspire the youth. Our only aim is to make each student patriotic.”

The move, however, has received criticism from academics such as Rajiv Gupta, who said that the government was turning educational institutes into places where personality cults were worshipped.

“There is no place for personality worship or even worship of ideas in academics. We critically examine everything. Worship of personalities leads to creation of identities, and consequently clashes, which goes in favour of these rightist forces,” the retired University of Rajasthan professor said.

In the past too, the state government has been accused of saffronising education. In February, BJP MLA Mohanlal Gupta had demanded that Vivekananda’s writings on cultural nationalism be included in the list of recommended books for history students of RU.

Last year, Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh had also told vice chancellors of state varsities to install a statue of Vivekananda in their institute’s campuses

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 22:35 IST