The tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad has now triggered discourses across the nation about the Human Resource Development Ministry intervening into the academic institutions with their communal agenda.
The incidents at the university were evidences of the ministry acting proactively in matters pertaining to the educational institutions to carry out official moves on the basis of the letters sent by the BJP leaders. Another similar episode, apparently strange, related to the Pondicherry University has now grabbed headlines. A Delhi-based organisation called Patriots Forum has sent a letter to the HRD ministry complaining about ‘Islamisation’ of the university urging to take steps against the alleged move. The Under Secretary then sent a letter to the university asking to probe the complaint (September 07, 2015). The university Vice Chancellor in response to the email entrusted a three-member committee to study the case. The report submitted to the ministry on November 3 was released by some online media. Patriots Forum is an organization led by D C Nath who retired from the post of Special Director at the Intelligence Bureau. The factors he cited as reasons for the Islamisation of the Pondicherry University are bizarre. One of them is the large number of Muslim students from Kashmir studying at the university. Other reasons were the halal food served in the canteen and the move to build a mosque inside the campus. Thus goes the complaints. Therefore the committee suggested a ‘suddhikaran’ (purification) ceremony of the university and town to negate the ‘pollution’. The report of the inquiry committee that comprised teachers rejected the allegations raised by the Patriots Forum. The committee informed the ministry that the Muslim teachers at the university constituted a mere 5.9 per cent of the total teaching staff and the Muslim students came up to less than 6 per cent of the total student population. The claim of a mosque being built inside the university campus was also dismissed as a plain lie.
Another similar incident recently came to light. The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is an autonomous body under the HRD ministry. Study centres for Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages function under NCPUL across the country. A circular from the NCPUL headquarters sent to the heads of these study centres on January 15 has now been released. The circular as given in its content, was based on the recommendation of the ‘Special Task Force for national security’ under the union home ministry. The circular urged to take steps to curb terrorisation and demanded a quick reply describing the measures taken in this regard. The Maharashtra government is also planning projects aimed at ‘freeing the Muslims from terrorist thoughts’ as suggested by the home ministry. The state government has already passed directions to implement special learning projects focusing on the Muslim centres and schools. The Hindutwa forces as well as the progressive liberals have been arguing that Muslims turn into terrorists because of leading an unruly life giving zero priority to education. They believed that imposing education and cleansing them would solve all the problems. But when the new generation, overcoming their restraints, strives hard to secure education, the Centre appears doubtful of their actions. Things have further worsened after the Modi government came to power. The above happenings are instances. By failing to secure the trust of the educated youth among the country’s largest minority community and being skeptical about their every move, the ‘achche din’ which Modi promised seems a distant dream.