The controversy at the Banaras Hindu University has been raging for quite some days now, over the appointment of Dr. Feroz Khan as a faculty at the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan, BHU. The explanation which many are offering in support of these protests is that the appointment of a Muslim in a school where not just Sanskrit, but also Sanatan Dharma Vigyan is taught, is an infringement upon the rights of the Hindu students who want a practising Hindu to impart the respective knowledge. Meanwhile, those opposing these protests have slammed the same people for being ‘bigoted’ in their minds and not being proud that a Muslim scholar has learnt Sanskrit.
BHU is a central university, and therefore, all respective laws apply to it in a binding manner. Unlike other minority institutions, BHU neither has the right, nor the luxury, to discriminate against people on the basis of their religion. BHU spokesman Rajesh Singh said that the appointment was confirmed following an interview in the Sahitya or literature department of the faculty of SVDV. “The varsity has made the appointment as per the UGC rules and the BHU Act, in which discrimination on the basis of caste and creed has no place. The appointment has been made with full transparency and only on the basis of the eligibility of the candidate.”
The students meanwhile, in a letter to the Vice Chancellor, said that the university founder, Madan Mohan Malviya Ji had termed the SVDV as the heart of the university. The letter stated: “The stone plate of the faculty also contains the message that this institution is for cultural, religious, historical debates and discussion of Sanatan Hindus and their direct or indirect branches like Arya Samaj, Buddh, Jain, Sikh, etc,”. In such a scenario, they termed the appointment of a non-Hindu professor as a ‘conspiracy’ and against the soul and spirit of the institution.
The liberals and self-keepers of India’s constitutional values are having field days for the past week now, ever-since the controversy erupted. They are leaving no stone unturned to vilify the students, and Hindus in general, for their bigoted mind-set, and medieval demands. However, it is also worth noting that these same individuals never turn an eye to minority-run educational institutions, who blatantly discriminate against anyone who is not of ‘their’ religious denomination. Take for example, the Jesus and Mary College, affiliated to the University of Delhi. The said college, in an advertisement published in a newspaper, called for eligible candidates to apply for the post of Principal. While no particular qualifications were demanded, the only criteria of ‘eligibility’ was that the person be a Christian female, preferably a ‘sister’/ ‘nun’ affiliated to any Christian congregation. Additionally, a letter of recommendation from the Parish was also demanded, along with the Baptism certificate.
This is not a lone case of institutionalised discrimination against Hindus. The Indian State, unfortunately, has legal provisions to discriminate against them and make them fodder for just anyone to vilify. Any Christian/Convent institution prefers people from their own denomination to be admitted or appointed as students or faculty respectively. While they are eligible to take maximum funds and grant from the central government, they have next to no respect for India’s constitutional ethos, which grants equality to all and warns against discrimination based on religion. The only articles they harp on are Article 29 and Article 30, which grant immunity to the institutional discrimination prevalent among India’s minority institutions. These two articles give minority communities the right to run their own educational institutions with fill autonomy, while being beneficiaries of central funds and grants. St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, ranked as the second best college in the country, has a similar practice prevalent, with 50% seats reserved for Christian candidates. Being a minority institution, St. Stephen’s can deny admission to students on the basis of their religion, while being a beneficiary of 95% central funds.
While such practices are not protested against by the liberals, yet, a protest by the students of BHU is quick to trigger the same cabal. If not hypocrisy and ignorance of the highest order, what else are we to call this? Unfortunately, for 70 long years after independence, Hindus have continued to be psychologically subjugated by a Nehruvian regime, while people from other communities flourished. Now that Hindus are voicing their opinions, the same loyalists to the previous era are readily getting irked, as they are not used to hearing the Hindus out.
However, Swami Vivekananda had once said: गर्व से कहो हम हिंदू है!