New Delhi: After doors of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in the capital were decided to be opened for all former Prime Ministers, a lecture in the memory of the first Prime Minister of India in a Central University named after him will be delivered on the birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
Jawaharlal Nehru University administration is organising the Nehru Memorial lecture, traditionally held around or on November 14-the birth anniversary of the first PM-almost two months in advance in a complete departure from tradition.
Also, as the lecture titled "Youth & Truth" will be delivered by Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, a Bengaluru based spiritual guru on a day which marks the birth anniversary of the RSS thinker and BJP ideologue, the development has already led to voices of protest from among majority of students and faculty.
"Even though I am yet to get an official confirmation from the Vice-Chancellor's office on this, I am stunned at this development and both the day and the guest chosen for the lecture are unexpected," said Sonajharia Minz, president of the JNU Teachers' Association.
"For this prestigious lecture, people with outstanding academic credentials have been invited over the years so a religious or spiritual guru being invited now is shocking," she said.
Another senior professor, who did not wish to be named, pointed out that last year too it was a religious guru- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who had been called for the lecture. "But in 2017 at least the lecture was held on November 13; this year even that pretence has gone. Seeing the obvious intention, I am expecting the name "Nehru" Memorial lecture too would be sacrificed next time," he said.
Subhanshu Singh, a senior member of the JNU Students' Union said that by calling a mystic-yogi in an academic space, the University administration is trying to "encourage religious-spiritual sentiment" in the campus.
Outgoing JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said, "Nehru died again: last time it was Sri Sri and this time it's Sadhguru." JNU V-C Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar was not available for comments despite attempts to reach him.