Pune varsity to drop ‘non-alcoholic, vegetarians only’ clause for gold medal

University vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar on Saturday assured to either discontinue the medal or convince its sponsors to drop the discriminatory clause.

pune Updated: Nov 12, 2017 15:01 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
sppu,pune university,savitribai phule
SPPU main building.(HT File Photo)

Following intense criticism over Savitribai Phule Pune University’s (SPPU) ‘vegetarians and teetotallers only’ clause for a gold medal, University vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar on Saturday assured to either discontinue the medal or convince its sponsors to drop the discriminatory clause. The vice-chancellor also added that ‘all discriminatory’ clauses for other medals will be reviewed.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Karmalkar said, “Under no circumstances should this create any divide among communities. As per the constitution, every individual has the right to eat and drink what they wish, and the University is aligned with it. We will abandon any such clause.”

He said that the university will undertake a review of 40 other medals to examine whether they carry any objectionable clauses.

“We will take a strong review of that and either cancel those clauses or abandon the award. This controversy has given an opportunity to the University to rectify what happened in 2006,” he said.

On Friday, the University’s gold medal in the memory of yoga guru Shelar Mama became a talking point on social media after the SPPU invited applications for gold medal from meritorious post-graduate students from the non-science streams for the academic year 2016-17.

The university circular, in its terms and conditions stated that the applying student should be “vegetarian and non-alcoholic”.

In addition, the circular specified that the selected student should also “believe in Indian culture and tradition, and practice all these values in daily life and should be versatile in activities like dance, singing, oratory and theatre.” Students practising yoga, pranayam and meditation would be given preference, it added.

A number of political parties and student associations, including the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Sambhaji Brigade had threatened to hold a chicken party in protest of the clause. One organisation called ‘Bhim Army’ organised a ‘chicken party’ outside the main building as a mark of protest.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 14:59 IST