Bid to push saffron agenda through varsities in Uttar Pradesh?

Is there an attempt to push Hindutva agenda through educational institutions of higher studies?

lucknow Updated: Dec 08, 2017 15:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Saffron agenda,Universities,Uttar Pradesh
Of late the practice of inviting politicians has increased.(Representational image)

Is there an attempt to push Hindutva agenda through educational institutions of higher studies in Uttar Pradesh?

After establishing a Chair in the name of BJP idealogue Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay and installing a 15-feet bronze statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji weighing around two tonnes on the Lucknow University campus, the officials have invited home minister Rajnath Singh as chief guest at the convocation scheduled on December 9.

Long awaited medals to be given
  • Lucknow University will give away medals to students who passed out between 1973-2000 and had applied for the same. A total of 23 former students will be conferred medals, including vice-chancellor of Ram Manohar Lohiya Avadh University, Manoj Dixit, LU dean science Kirit Sinha, faculty in zoology department, Geetanjali Mishra and others.
  • Earlier in March 2017, Dr Vinita Vijai née Srivastav, an associate professor and head of the mathematics department of Isabella Thoburn College, received seven gold medals for securing highest position in M Sc (mathematics) among all the faculties in 1986, after 31 years of graduating from LU.
  • This was the second time in six months that LU presented medals to its student after prolonged delay.
  • A retired LU professor Anil Kumar Singh received his gold medal after 44 years. Singh obtained his postgraduate degree in chemistry way back in 1971.

In less than two years’ time, this is the second time the university has invited the home minister to address the students. Singh gave a convocation address at LU on January 19, 2015 wherein he asked students to stop depending on American observatories for predictions on solar and lunar eclipses and urged them to consult the panditji next door for astronomical predictions.

In the past also, LU invited politicians as chief guests in its convocations. By and large apolitical personalities, people holding constitutional positions, academicians or scientists were invited. But of late the practice of inviting politicians has increased, more so since the BJP came to power in the centre.

On February 6, 2006, Union HRD minister Arjun Singh was invited, on February 3, 2010, Padma Vibhushan Anil Kakodkar was invited, on February 20, 2013, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and onJanuary 9, 2014 Vice President Hamid Ansari were invited.

On January 2015, LU invited home minister Rajnath Singh, in January 2016 it invited union science and technology minister Harshvrdhan and in January 2017, LU had invited the then chief Justice of Allahabad high court Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale. Now again it has invited home minister Rajnath Singh.

“If I remember correctly, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru was chief guest at LU convocation once. That was the time when politicians were visionaries. Pt Nehru gave a meaningful speech as he talked about Indian history. But many of the present day politicians do not match that stature. And at the same time why have politicians from the ruling party only? There are so many visionary academicians and scientists as well who can be invited to the convocation,” said Prof Roop Rekha Verma, former LU vice chancellor.

Read: UGC sets new regulations, loosens grip on universities and how they function

The university administration, however, has a different point of view. “For us inviting him as chief guest in quick succession is a non issue. Rajnath Singh is Member Parliament from Lucknow. Hence there is no reason why anyone should object to it,” said LU VC SP Singh.

Read| UGC warning to institutes: Drop ‘university’ from name or lose ‘deemed’ status

Sources, however, said the university wanted President Ram Nath Kovind who belongs to Uttar Pradesh. “Somehow it did not work out by then as President Kovind had accepted an invitation from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University to address their convocation to be held on December 15. With no option, on the instruction of the Raj Bhawan, the university decided to invite Rajnath Singh,” an official said who do not wish to be named.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 15:20 IST