At IIT Madras’ yearly edition of extramural lectures, a section of IIT Madras students was aghast at the subject of keynote speaker, retired army officer Major General GD Bakshi’s lecture. One among this section was Abhinav Surya, who lodged his strong protest in a letter to the IIT director. Major General GD Bakshi has also responded to TNM on these claims.
Calling it a speech filled with hate-mongering and incitement to violence, Abhinav wrote, “I am still not able to digest the fact the institute has given a platform to such a speech filled with hatred, instigating violence among the students. A lecture that was heavily loaded with brewing enmity, inhumanity and glorification of brutality.”
Accusing Bakshi, whose lecture was held on Thursday of instilling a sense of hatred and enmity towards Pakistan and “fostering irrational jingoism”, the student quoted portions of his speech in his letter, “The level of hatred in his speech was going out of proportions when he said, and I quote, ‘In our generation, we split Pakistan into 2. Your generation should split it into 4. Only then we can live in peace!’. And later he went on to glorify nuclear weaponry and justified the usage of it.”
Speaking to TNM, Major General GD Bakshi clarified his stance on the lecture saying he stood by what he said and that it was the work of rogue elements who protested his lecture, “I was invited to address the gathering of students on the subject of “Indian army and national security”, and I began by saying that for the last 30 years, we have constantly been at war with Pakistan and thousands have been killed. From 1993 onwards, we have been fighting terrorism in major cities. My contention was that we should equally support the freedom movements in Balochistan. We have been stabbed in the back many times as Pakistan has been constantly preparing hostile activity against us. What is wrong with that?
As for the comment on ‘tit-for-tat’, he said, “When somebody doesn’t stop hurting you, and you keep telling them to stop, what do you do? Pakistan has been receiving aid from China and when India tried to have a dialogue with China, China said its bond was deeper with Pakistan. So India should supply weapons to Vietnam, which is also being threatened by China.” He also justified the use of nuclear weaponry. “They tried to break up India, so we need to break them up into 4, of course. How many times will we be stabbed in the back? We have repeatedly gotten stabbed in the back, and the leftist liberal ideology is used to promote sedition. Which nation can support its own break up? So many men have laid down their lives to fight in these wars, and we should respect them and do justice to them. I am amazed that this is called hate speech.”
IIT student Abhinav had said, “An instance of distorting history is when he said Dehradun was originally called Dehradrone, as Dronacharya’s camp was set there. In its spot the Indian Military Academy has come up,” Abhinav said.
"Yes, Dehradun was originally Dehradrone. This is an etymological, historical fact, just like Gurgaon was originally Gurugram,” Bakshi said.
The student had gone on to say that IIT Madras giving him a platform to voice his comments on the freedom movement in the name of “Special Independence Day Lecture” would shame the institution. He concluded his letter to the IIT Madras Director hoping that necessary action would be taken.
The response from the crowd, Bakshi says, was in solidarity with his sentiments. “99.9 percent of the crowd supported me, and 10-12 Kashmiri students and other left wing liberals formed the minority,” Drawing a similarity to the incidents at JNU he said, “They were trying to disrupt proceedings, making the same kind of tamasha. I do not respect Kashmiri students or leftist liberals – they only try to promote sedition on our campuses. I once even went to the JNU campus and tried to talk to students, promoting and spreading patriotism and nationalism in a time of treason.”
Commenting on the state of universities in the country, Bakshi responded that many were beginning to support Kashmiri separatists, “For the last six months, there has been a climate of sedition created to encourage separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. JNU and Jadavpur are supporting them.” Referencing the events in JNU that had sparked off tensions, he said, “Free speech is fine, but tell me one American university that has candlelight vigils supporting Osama Bin Laden? We are the only ones who celebrate this. India is not represented by JNU – which has created an impression of collapse and weakness."