CHENNAI: Protests erupted at the University of Madras on Tuesday when a Hindu religious group, comprising nearly 100 individuals, entered the premises, urging demotion of the head of the Saiva Siddhantha department, for his alleged controversial remarks on Saivist history.
Members of the group, who identified themselves as ‘Sivanadiyars’, allegedly marched into the university, blowing conch and singing Saivist songs. This led students to stage a protest, asserting that religious groups must not infiltrate educational institutions.
The group entered the campus in the noon to lodge a complaint with the Vice-Chancellor, urging him to demote Prof Nallur S Saravanan, head of the Saiva Siddhantha department as he had often spoken publicly on controversial topics. The professor is also the president of the Saiva Siddhantha Perumandram, which published the book ‘Manikkavasagar: Kaalamum Karuthum’ that aims to identify grey areas in historical records of 9th century Tamil poet.
“The book raises a lot of questions about the period he lived in, the temples in his literature and his ideologies themselves. Although I didn’t write the book, I have publicly spoken about this topic often, leading to controversies,” Saravanan said.
Students, who were angered by the entry of the Sivanadiyars, expressed solidarity with the teacher and said that religious groups must not enter places of study. “Religious groups must not use educational institutions for propaganda,” said S Gopinathan, a first-year student. Students from the department and from Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle staged a protest to bar further entry from the group. Vice-Chancellor P Duraisamy told Express that university security and police officers quickly asked the religious group to leave the campus.
Came to lodge plaint against professor
The group came to lodge a complaint with the V-C, urging him to demote Prof Nallur S Saravanan, head of the Saiva Siddhantha department as he spoke publicly on controversial topics. The professor is also the president of the Saiva Siddhantha Perumandram