Mainstream, VOL LIV No 11 New Delhi March 5, 2016
Letter from Ex-Students of BHU against Dismissal of Prof Sandeep Pandey from IIT-BHU
Wednesday 9 March 2016
Prof Girish Chandra Tripathi
Banaras Hindu University,
Varanasi — 221005, UP
Director, IIT-BHU, Prof Rajeev Sangal, and
Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT-BHU, Prof Dhananjay Pandey
We, the ex-students of Banaras Hindu University, are writing to you to express our deep worry about removal of Visiting Professor Sandeep Pandey allegedly for his “anti-national activi-ties”. He had been teaching a few branches of chemical engineering and a development studies course at the Indian Institute of Technology-BHU for two-and-a half years. Prof Pandey is also a renowned social activist and a Magsaysay award winner.
We are worried about the future of the university where sitting at a protest with 40 contract employees whose living is in danger, attending activists’ meet, joining the Citizens Defence Committee to save the life of an innocent person, talking about social and gender equality, resisting giant multinational companies to save natural resources for local community is defined as ‘anti-national activities’. We are concerned about the kind of nationalism the committee (which decided to remove Sandeep Pandey) advocates. It is deeply disturbing the way the university is subscribing to a brand of ideology and suppressing all dissident voices. A univer-sity should facilitate a learning environment where different streams of thought evolve and get nourished which will strengthen democracy and make an egalitarian society based on scientific temper in the country.
We see this as a continuation of the fascist attack on the education system of the country by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its sister organisations which are rooted in the Brahmanical patriarchal ideology. For the last one-and-a-half year, this intervention has been intensified leading to the appointment of RSS ideologues as heads of the country’s leading institutions and various anti-student decisions including the scrapping of the Non-Net Fellow-ship. Rationalists are being killed and the killers are roaming free. Innocent people are being lynched on rumours by self-proclaimed protectors of the mother cow. More than 50 renowned writers, film-makers, scientists, and artists have returned their prestigious state awards protesting against the increasing intolerance in the country. The heroic struggle of FTII students, the ongoing OCCUPY UGC movement, and the PINJRA TOD movement give hope in such dark times when our democracy, plurality, and communal harmony are in danger.
We condemn the brutal suppression of the democratic voice of students by the BHU administration and its surrender to a particular brand of ideology. We demand the reinstatement of Professor Sandeep Pandey as a Visting Professor in the university and stop suppressing dissident voices in the campus like that of Sandeep Pandey.
Signed by :
Lalit Shukla, Anand Singh, Abhinaw Alok, Subhradeep Mistry, Bal Krishnan, Rahul Sharma, Kaustav Chakraborty, Vishal Vikram Singh, Shvaita Kaul, Shailendr Kumar Shukla, Ujjwal Bhattacharya, Satyam Varma, Saurabh Agarwal, Birendra Kumar, Kuldeep Nagar, Vipul Kumar Jha, Asmurari Nandan Mishra, Saummay Bagga, Prabhat Yadav, Pratul Singhal, Vishnu Kumar Agrahari, Arunabh Saurabh, Subhash Gatade, Prakash Punj Pandey, Ajay Singh Patel, Nitesh Mohan Choubey, Chandrika, Jagdish Saurabh, Neeraj Jain, Devanshu Verma, Yash Shah, Piyush Tiwari
(January 8, 2016)