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Pune varsity suspends controversial ‘vegetarian, teetotallers only’ medal; will introduce new set of medals

Earlier, SPPU officials were trying to reach out to the Shelar Mama Trust members to allow them to drop the clauses. However, sources said the family trust has refused to change the terms and left it to SPPU to use its discretion on whether to continue the medal or not.

pune Updated: Nov 27, 2017 15:37 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune university,SPPU,vegetarian
Following the controversy of discrimination around ‘Maharishi Keertankar Shelar Mama Gold Medal’, which mandated applicants to be vegetarians and teetotallers, the university administration has decided to present a proposal to the management and academic council to review and introduce a new set of medals for the students. (HT PHOTO)

 Savitribai Phule Pune Unviersity (SPPU) has suspended theShelar Mama Gold Medal and has planned to introduce a set of new gold medals after members of Shelar Mama Trust have refused to change the terms and condition for the medal.

Earlier, SPPU officials were trying to reach out to the Shelar Mama Trust members to allow them to drop the clauses. However, sources said the family trust has refused to change the terms and left it to SPPU to use its discretion on whether to continue the medal or not.

Despite repeated attempts, the vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar and the registrar of the university Arvind Shaligram could not be reached. SPPU media coordinator Abhijit Ghorpade also refused to comment on the issue.

Following the controversy of discrimination around ‘Maharishi Keertankar Shelar Mama Gold Medal’, which mandated applicants to be vegetarians and teetotallers, the university administration has decided to present a proposal to the management and academic council to review and introduce a new set of medals for the students. These medals, as every year, will be conferred upon the meritorious students of the university for various categories. According to the university officials, the current status of introducing these medals is still stagnant, as they are awaiting the approval of the council.

The Shelar Mama Gold Medal landed into controversy earlier this month after a circular revealed the said clauses along with a few more, making it compulsory for applying students to embrace a certain way of life, which included Yoga, meditation and vegetarian food as integral elements. After the matter received severe criticism, the SPPU vice-chancellor, Nitin Karmalkar, in a public statement, said that the university will be reviewing the clauses and would have a dialogue with the family trust to drop the discriminatory terms. In case, the family does not agree to drop them, the university would abandon the medal, he had added.

Shelar Mama was a disciple ofSant Gadgebaba and belonged to the Warkari community. As a preacher of non-violence,he was a proponent of vegetarianism and so the criteria for the medal was enlisted by the family trust in order to extend his philosophy, in 2006.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 15:37 IST