NEW DELHI: Right wing student union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) may have wrested a seat in the Left citadel of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), but this red tinted university has refused to shed its radically communist moorings and has rejected a proposal of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to introduce courses on yoga and Indian culture.
The proposal was mooted by the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies with the support of the HRD ministry. The Sunday Standard has learnt that most schools in the university—including School of Social Sciences and School of History—have rejected the proposal and the matter is before the Academic Council headed by the vice-chancellor (VC).
“The message from various schools was loud and clear and it is unlikely that the VC will push for the school in the academic council as the tenure is coming to an end in January,’’ a JNU professor said.
Most schools have also rejected the proposal to convert the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies to an independent school. The centre was started by Murli Manohar Joshi while he was the HRD Minister in 2001 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry. One of the declared aim of the centre is to reverse the existing data-theory relationship between the Indian and Western academies and to recover the theory status for Indian thought.
An associate professor with the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies said that people who are obsessed with “outdated ideologies are behind scuttling the proposal”.
He said the course matter was to have a basic study of Indian culture to establish Indian rituals and values and derive ways from these sources to make lives better. Similarly, the yoga course was to teach students not only its spiritual importance, but also its contribution in “business and corporate endeavour, excellence in management and development in science and technology”.
“What is wrong in studying one’s own culture and history? These West obsessed professors have already vitiated the university atmosphere, which has lost its connect with the outside world,’’ said the Sanskrit professor.
He said that the ministry was quite particular that the new courses offered should be “in tune with current times and we have tailored it accordingly. Still, these Lefties have rejected it”. Interestingly, the schools have snubbed the proposal that had the blessings of HRD minister Smriti Irani amid rumours that the government is planning to appoint a right wing VC to “clean up JNU of all its Leftist remnants”.
According to another professor, the recent victory of an ABVP candidate in the elections has aggravated the political antagonism. While ABVP has become very aggressive, Left affiliated students and teachers are bent on scuttling anything to do with tradition and culture.
“In this fight between the aggressive right and the defensive Left, even decent proposals like this are getting scuttled. Both forces are doing bad for the university,’’ he said.