Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh): Martyrs’ Day was observed across the nation on Monday (January 30) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 69th death anniversary.
To pay homage to Gandhi, some Banaras Hindu University (BHU) students also organised a symposium on ‘Division of India, Gandhi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).’
Students claim that the event, however, ended abruptly after the BHU chief proctor O.N. Singh intervened and asked to end the programme, terming it illogical and illegal from the university’s point of view. Singh further accused the students of spreading misconceptions under RSS’s name.
After the intervention of the administration, the students moved the event to a tea stall near Lanka, in front of BHU.
One of the organisers of the event, student leader Dhananjay Tripathi said, “We were seated calmly on the grass at Madhuban lawn, which is situated at the heart of BHU. All the participants were expressing their opinions, but suddenly, BHU chief proctor came and forced us to wind up the program, and stated that we can’t organise any symposium against the RSS as it had no role in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.”
“They even tore our posters, banners and upended Gandhiji’s picture, they even shoved and pushed us and asked us to leave the campus. We all are BHU’s students but they termed us as outsiders and rusticated students.” Tripathi said.
He further added, “Sadly, on one hand, Narendra Modi ji is paying his tribute to Mahatma through Twitter. While, on the other hand, students are bounded by the university to ponder on history.”
पूज्य बापू की पुण्यतिथि पर उनको शत-शत नमन…Tributes to beloved Bapu on his Punya Tithi.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 30, 2017
Vikas Singh, the president of National Students’ Union of India’s (NSUI) Uttar Pradesh (East) unit, said, “Proctor acted dictatorially and manhandled us. They have even upended picture of Mahatma, which is a disrespect of this noble person, although we have organised the programme at a tea stall at Lanka, which is out of BHU campus, and there, we paid our tribute to Mahatma.”
NSUI further went on to make their displeasure of the BHU administration evident on Twitter.
Once again, BHU administration evinced its RSS culture when it stopped NSUI activists to hold a symposium today on "Partition:Gandhi & RSS". pic.twitter.com/jjR8D03KWg
— NSUI (@nsui) January 30, 2017
During the programme, which later moved to a tea stall near Lanka, one of the participants claimed that “Gandhiji fought throughout his entire life for the freedom of the nation, but we all know how RSS had celebrated the death of the Mahatma and distributed sweets among their cadre.”
Among the participants was Gandhian philosopher Arif, who opined, “The new generation finds it hard to believe that there was once a person on Earth like Mahatma who continues to inspire millions with his ideas.”
“It is the right of the students to think about the history of India, we have right to ponder on the root cause of nation’s contemporary problems. But today, RSS again murdered the Gandhian philosophy,” he added.
Singh remarked, “Neither did we have any information nor were we given any notice regarding the programme. Some eight to ten students just want to start a controversy. Even some of the rusticated students were among the participants.”
“We don’t force them against pondering on Gandhiji’s ideology, but they are not allowed to spread misconception on RSS,” Singh added.
The event, organised by Kaushal Kishore Mishra, the head of BHU’s political science department, drew a sizable crowd of researchers, students, academics and faculty members associated with the RSS.
A few of the participants had even paid an entry fee of Rs 800 to attend the event.
However, the event later took a turn when the vice chancellor G.C. Tripathi was unhappy about Mishra organising the seminar.
The Wire also got in touch with the members of the proctorial board. Gyan Prakash Mishra of BHU said, “We have never bound anybody from pondering on Gandhian philosophy. However, there is a special instruction by vice chancellor to not permit any political activities on the campus.
“The campus is for study and discipline; we expect from every student to emulate the university guidelines.”