ByÂ Rohan Seth:
Here’s listing down the three prominent achievements of the ABVP-
1. In October 2011, bowing to ABVP diktats, the Academic Council of DU voted 111-9 in favour of removing “Three Hundred Ramayana’s: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translations” from the BA course. The essay was introduced in 2006. It entailed 300 different interpretations and retellings of the Ramayana all over the world.
“Obviously, these hundreds of tellings differ from one another. I have come to prefer the world tellings to the usual terms versions or variants because the latter terms can and typically do imply that there is an invariant, an original or Ur-text-usually Valmiki’s Sanskrit Ramayana, the earliest and most prestigious of them all. But as we shall see, it is not always Valmiki’s narrative that is carried from one language to another”– Excerpt from the essay
Post the introduction of the essay, ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court calling for its discontinuance in the teaching curriculum for it ‘deeply hurt’ their religious beliefs.Â ABVP activists even ransacked Prof. S Z H Jafri’s office in 2008, to protest the teaching of the essay. He was Delhi University’s History Department head at that time.
Later on, the four member panel set up on the proposal of the Supreme Court recommended that it should be a part of the course. Only one member opposed it on account of the essay being ‘complex’.
Yet only 9 members of 120 member Academic Council dissented in the scrapping of the essay. It was shocking back then. The Academic Council’s strong liking for unanimity came full circle with the introduction of the semester system and the recent Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP). In retrospect, 9 dissenting votes could be recorded as a ‘rebellion’ in this always consentaneous council.
The Vice Chancellor and the great university meekly capitulated to the ABVP ruffians.Â I don’t think any of the ABVP activists have the read the essay. I don’t think they read at all. Sure history is subjective and the essay is an account of the retellings of the epic all over the world, ‘but don’t you dare call Hanuman a womanizer’.Â ‘That will deeply hurt my sentiments and sensibilities’, says the ABVP trooper.
But fellow ABVP comrade, doesn’t the teaching of science offend your religious beliefs? For evolution is an antithesis of religious design. Shouldn’t you have science book burning sessions?
2. In 2012, the ABVP had the screening of Sanjay Kak’s Jashn-e-Azadi cancelled at Symbiosis University and attempted to disrupt its screening at Delhi University. Their reasons: its anti-army and separatist nature.
Don’t think they’ve seen it either. It was screened all over the country and became an important film on Kashmir. Also one does not need permission from the government to screen a movie on Kashmir, nor was Jashn-e-Azadi banned in the country.
But yet again, the mob bested the republic.
3. Earlier this year, ABVP activists attacked FTII (The Film and Television Institute of India) students for inviting the Kabir Kala Manch to perform at an event. The programme was meant to be a tribute to rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. According to a report by the The Hindu, the ABVP members thrashed one of the students for his refusal to say, ‘Jai Narendra Modi’. According to other reports, the AVBP accused FTII students of having Naxalite links for their collaboration with the KKM.
Sir, you do not need to bash up students every time to register your protest and you certainly cannot make people say, ‘Jai Narendra Modi’ for them to prove that they’re not Naxalite.
The ABVP continues to be a nuisance in academic institutions on a day to day basis and the aforementioned instances substantiate their relentless subversion of authority. Thought control proves pernicious, particularly for academic institutions and such violent elements should not be allowed to have an influence on academic culture. However, nothing can explain their predilection for picking up the most bizarre, oddball issues that defy all logic and rationale.
And why are they protesting outside Tarun Tejpal’s house again? …