Uproar over renaming Ranchi’s oldest college after BJP founder
The rechristening of Ranchi University’s oldest college, Ranchi College to Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University, has led to a students’ uproar against alleged saffronisation of higher education in Jharkhand.
Mukherjee was the founder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a minister in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet. He had quit the Indian National Congress and founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which later became the BJP.
The higher and technical education department of BJP-ruled Jharkhand had recommended this name for Ranchi College to the governor, and got the Raj Bhawan’s assent recently, officials said.
Several protest marches and signature campaigns by student unions followed the recommendation made about a month ago.
Tanuj Khetri, an elected member of the Ranchi University PG student union and a Jharkhand Chatra Morcha (JCM) leader said naming the university after a right wing leader was a downright effort to saffronise higher education here. “No doubt, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was a great man, but he did not do anything for Jharkhand. We will not let the government saffronise something as sacred as education,” said Khetri.
Founded in 1926, Ranchi College received autonomous status from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on January 9, 2009.
The Jharkhand cabinet in October 2015 decided to accord university status to Ranchi College which currently imparts education to at least 4,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is the first college in Jharkhand to get state university status.
Jharkhand Chatra Morcha, the student wing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), has recommended renaming the college Param Veer Albert Ekka University. Ekka, a son of the soil, was martyred in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The All India Students’ Federation (AISF) too has joined hands with the Jharkhand Chatra Morcha.