Several students’ organisations accused the ABVP-led students’ union of ‘saffronising’ the university’s cultural festival.

ABVP stokes controversy by playing Mandir wahin banayenge song at Hyd Uni festFacebook/UoH Students' Union
news Controversy Tuesday, April 02, 2019 - 17:59

A fun event at the University of Hyderabad supposed to provide respite to students from academics turned out controversial after the DJ played the controversial Hindutva song, ‘Mandir wahin banayenge’, which demands a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya at Sukoon event. Several student organizations have alleged that the students' union led by ABVP has 'saffronized' the annual cultural event.

Sukoon is a three-day cultural festival involving music and dance performances hosted by the students’ union every year. However, this year, the union played the ‘Mandir wahin banayenge’ song at the DJ night on the concluding day--Sunday--triggering mild tension as a few unidentified students hurled stones in response. However, the tension didn’t escalate further, but has led to an online fight between the ABVP and other students since.

“ABVP tried to instigate violence. They would have been held responsible if something untoward had happened. Often during Sukoon, students pick up fights on silly issues, fortunately, nothing major happened after even after they instigated the crowd,” said Iniyavan, a student from the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA).

Besides accusing the ABVP of giving a ‘Hindutva’ colour to the event, the ASA also accused the ABVP of appropriating Dr B R Ambedkar.

“On the day of the inauguration, they placed portraits of Sevalal Maharaj, Ambedkar and along with it was Hindu goddess Saraswati. How ironic is that?” Iniyavan added.

He alleged that the ABVP was hypocritical in their stance. “As soon as the union assumed charge, they first erased the paintings of Rohith Vemula and Ambedkar from the dais claiming that they are ‘apolitical’. Now, the same group has painted pictures of Nataraja which is an upper caste Brahminical symbol.”

Abhishek Nandan, General Secretary of Students’ Federation of India, said, “The entire event was politicised. They had organised an essay-writing competition and the topics given were ‘Pulwama attack’ and ‘urban naxals’.

“They have alienated students from minority communities by imposing their religious views through the event,” he added.

ABVP had also invited as chief guest G Laxman, ABVP’s national organising secretary, for which too they have been called out.

“For a students’ event that is conducted with money collected from the students, why did they invite a person with alleged links to RSS? How could they do it? It’s not an ABVP event,” Abhishek said.

The Students’ Federation of India and the All India Students’ Association have condemned the union and issued public statements against the event’s conduct.

Responding to the allegations, president of the students’ union Aarti Nagpal said, “We had several chief guests on day one, including a lyricist from the Telugu film industry, alumni Priyadarshi who is a Tollywood actor, budding actor Sonakshi, and of course Laxman who is a mentor and guide to the ABVP-led union which won this year’s elections after a gap of 8 years.”

She added, “I do not see any reason why there is a problem or an accusation in this regard. He is our leader under whom we learn and unlearn things, so we invited him to be a part of Sukoon organised by our union for the first time in this decade.”

ABVP led panel had won the Students' election in 2018 nearly after a decade.

Speaking about the ‘Mandir wahin banayenge’ song, Aarti said, “The song was played after many students requested it. The DJ took various requests. When there are no objections to songs that are dedicated to Allah during Qawwali nights, a mere 2-3 minute song should not bring up accusations that are uncalled for.”

However, when countered that the ‘Mandir wahin banayenge’ song is not the same as a Qawwali or why they invited an ABVP affiliated person to a students’ event, she did not respond.

TNM also reached out to the university for a response on the ongoing controversy. However, they said that they have not received any official complaint on the matter.

"The schedule for the festival is rarely ever shared with the University administration and this year is no exception. We do not interfere in any disagreements between different student groups on the campus," spokesperson of UoH, Vinod Pavarala said.

 
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