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SPPU students not for ‘surgical strike’ day

Students are questioning role of UGC in sending out directive and celebrating violence.

pune Updated: Sep 28, 2018 17:01 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Savitribai Phule Pune University will not be celebrating the surgical strike day.(Rahul Raut/HT Photo)

The University Grants Commission (UGC) recently directed universities and higher education institutions to observe September 29 as the surgical strike day. Although not mandatory, a few city colleges are contemplating on holding the celebrations, while a majority of the students have been questioning the very need for the same.

According to Shruti Ghanekar, third year political science student of Sir Parashurambhau College, the event is anything but celebratory. “I understand that the day is marked in the history of the country and must be remembered, but is there truly anything celebratory about the surgical strikes? And, UGC asking colleges to hold celebrations on the same is beyond me. An act of violence is not something to be commemorated every year.”

Aaditya Krishnamurthy, a liberal arts student from Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts added, “Honestly, the fact that the UGC thinks it’s a wise decision to celebrate such a contentious act on our part throughout the country is baffling. A day to commemorate surgical strikes is different from celebrating veterans’ day in the US, because surgical strike day celebrates us trying to employ an “eye for an eye tactic” in the international system. I don’t know how the UGC can give out such a mandate but it clearly shows that we are moving away from the ideals that we have been revered for so long ”

The UGC notice presented a set of guidelines for colleges to celebrate the day. These included special sessions by ex-servicemen, parades, mailing of greeting cards to show support to soldiers, visits to exhibitions, etc. The objective behind this, according to union minister for human resource development, Prakash Javadekar, was to inculcate a sense of patriotism among students.

“Patriotism is not a feeling that you can force upon people through such events. It is very personal. Having said that, I don’t welcome the directive at all. The role of UGC is to make sure that the quality of education is at its best.

“In a country where institutions don’t have enough professors, it is shameful to see how UGC is concentrating its efforts on events like this,” said Satish Gore, MPhil student of English, at SPPU.

Heads of city college principals however had a positive outlook to the event.

“Educational institutions are reservoirs of the youth, the future of the country and it is important to mould them in the right way. This is an occasion to celebrate our soldiers and there’s nothing wrong with it. Imbibing a sense of patriotism is not at all negative,” said Muktaja Mathkari, the principal of Garware college. Dilip Sheth, principal, SP College said, “The college staff is positive about this and we are undergoing talks with the NCC officers to chalk out a proper plan. It can a good interactive platform for students to know up-close about the courage and sacrifices of our soldiers.”

Not mandatory, the directive however mentions that the colleges should upload the activities undertaken on the day, on the university activity monitoring portal on UGC website. On the contrary to the other college heads, the vice chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University(SPPU), Nitin Karmalkar, said, “It is not something that we would want to celebrate at an university level. We all respect the sacrifices of our soldiers and the decisions made for national interest, and because of that probably the defence department of the varsity might hold sessions, but not on pan-university level.”

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 16:59 IST