Student unions have been protesting against Kannur University’s decision to include portions of the books by RSS ideologues in the syllabus of MA Governance and Politics.

Kerala's Brennen College building in Thalassery where RSS ideologues book has been included in syllabus PC/Facebook/BrennenCollege
news Controversy Friday, September 10, 2021 - 21:38

The Kannur University in Kerala, on Friday, September 10, rejected allegations of attempts to “saffronise” education by including portions of books by prominent RSS ideologues in the syllabus for a postgraduation course. The Kannur University had been witnessing heated protests from student unions since Thursday, against its decision to include portions of the books by RSS leader MS Golwalkar and Hindu Mahasabha leader VD Savarkar in the syllabus of MA Governance and Politics.

An external panel to review the controversial syllabus was set up. The two-member committee, comprising experts outside the varsity, was asked to submit its report within five days and further decision on the syllabus would be taken after that, Kannur University Vice-Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran said. "The saffronisation allegation is completely baseless. If you raise such allegations against Kannur University, you can raise similar charges against Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi also. VD Savarkar is included in the syllabus of JNU also," he told the media.

“The inclusion of Savarkar and Golwalkar in the syllabus need not be seen as part of the saffronisation move,” said the Vice-Chancellor, who faced intense protests by the students' unions over the issue. "When the portions of their texts are included in the syllabus, there should also be texts of those representing other ideologies, which would help students compare both and develop the skill of critical inquiry. That is missing here, which is a drawback, I feel, in this syllabus," Ravindran said.

Incidentally, recently, Gilbert Sebastian, a professor from the Central University of Kerala, was suspended after a faculty member and students from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (the student wing of RSS) complained that he was being critical of right-wing politics. 

Read: Kerala prof's suspension: Why academic community must stand in solidarity now

When asked whether the Higher Education Minister R Bindhu sought an explanation from him over the issue, the Kannur University VC said he has already submitted a reply to the Kerala government. The Minister told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that it was dangerous that communal contents find a place in the academic syllabus.Though the University unit of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), the ruling CPI(M)'s students' wing, did not oppose the syllabus initially, its state president Sachin Dev on Friday said the outfit is against the present syllabus and inclusion of RSS idealogues' books is "unacceptable".

Earlier in the day, the Youth Congress activists blocked the VC’s car on the university campus and did not allow him to enter the office, demanding the withdrawal of the controversial portions from the syllabus. They dispersed only after the university authorities informed them about the forming of the external panel to review the syllabus. Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of the Congress and Muslim Students' Federation (MSF), the student wing of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) staged the protest on the campus on Thursday over the issue.

According to the unions, the University has included portions from Golwalkar's books including "Bunch of Thoughts" and Savarkar''s "Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?" in the syllabus of the third-semester students of MA Governance and Politics.The syllabus was not prepared by the Board of Studies but by teachers of Thalassery Brennen College and it was decided by the Vice-Chancellor, they alleged. The MA Governance and Politics is taught only in Brennen College under Kannur University.

Read: Central University of Kerala asks faculty to abstain from ‘anti-national’ lectures




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