Let me share with you an objective fact: the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has used violence as a means of thought-control since time immemorial. In other words, academic institutions in the country have capitulated to the ABVP from long ago. What happened in Ramjas College has happened before. It’s just that we have more cameras now. Here are three instances of brazen violence perpetrated by the ABVP in the past:
1. In October 2011, bowing to the ABVP’s 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 consisted of 300 different interpretations and retellings of the Ramayana from all over the world.
The following is an excerpt from the essay: “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.”
Post the introduction of the essay, ABVP filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court calling for its discontinuance in the teaching curriculum because it ‘deeply hurt’ their religious beliefs. ABVP activists even ransacked Prof. S.Z.H. Jafri’s office in 2008 to protest the teaching of the essay. He was the head of Delhi University’s History Department 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 nine members out of the 120-member DU Academic Council dissented when the essay was being scrapped. The Vice Chancellor and one of the ‘best’ universities in India meekly surrendered to the ABVP mob.
2. In 2012, the ABVP succeeded in forcing the screening of Sanjay Kak’s “Jashn-e-Azadi” at Symbiosis University to be cancelled. They also attempted to disrupt its screening at Delhi University. Their reasons: its anti-army and separatist nature.
I don’t think that they had even seen the documentary. But yet again, the mob bested the republic.
3. In 2013, ABVP activists attacked students from The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) for inviting the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) to perform at an event. The programme was meant to be a tribute to the rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. According to news reports, the ABVP members thrashed one of the students for his refusal to say, “Jai Narendra Modi”. The AVBP also accused FTII students of having Naxalite links for their collaboration with the KKM.
4. In 2015, the ABVP stopped the screening of the documentary, “Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki Hai”, at Kirori Mal College, just because they thought it was ‘anti-national’.
And there are many more such instances. The ABVP has been winning. The angry mob has been winning for a while now!