Rajnish Mishra | Nov 1, 2018 | 4 min read
Ahmedabad: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of ruling BJP, on Friday said that it was happy about the development that historian, biographer and author Ramachandra Guha would not be joining Ahmedabad University, here.
AU, a private, non-profit institution established in 2009 by Ahmedabad Education Society (AES), had on 16 October announced Guha’s appointment as the Shrenik Lalbhai Chair Professor of Humanities and director of the Gandhi Winter School at the university’s School of Arts and Sciences.
ABVP opposed Guha’s appointment vehemently and on 19 October, it handed over a memorandum to the university registrar B M Shah, addressed to vice chancellor Pankaj Chandra, registering their protest against the decision. The outfit said that it got to know about the appointment through a news-report.
“His writings have encouraged divisive tendencies and inspired anti-nationalist, separatist forces in educational institutions like Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Central University, Hyderabad,” the memorandum, with which excerpts of Guha’s writings were also included, read and demanded the cancellation of this appointment with immediate effect in national interest.
On Friday, Guha announced his decision to not join AU through a tweet: “Due to circumstances beyond my control, I shall not be joining Ahmedabad University. I wish AU well; it has fine faculty and an outstanding Vice Chancellor. And may the spirit of Gandhi one day come alive once more in his native Gujarat.”
When contacted for its reaction to the development, the University on Friday refused to comment saying that the VC was out of the country on official tour and he was the sole authorized person to speak about the institution’s affairs.
Guha could not be reached for his comments.
President of Gujarat state unit of ABVP, Ravi B Zala, said that though he did not for sure know whether Guha had taken a decision at his own or has been asked by the university to do so, but he welcomed it.
“We had given proofs about his anti-national writings to the AU. He does not think in terms of nation. When the BJP separated from PDP in Kashmir, he had also given a controversial statement which showed that for him peace there was not important. We don’t expect historians to think with political motivation because in the end peace in Kashmir and in the nation is more important,” said Zala, adding that the motive of “Guha and other intellectuals like him” is to somehow pull down the BJP government.
Asked about the ABVP’s course of action in case Guha is pursued by the university to rethink on his decision and join it, Zala responded that the protest would then continue.
“We would also continue to raise our voice in democratic manner. Go to the university and also aware the students as to why we are opposing him. Our nationalist voice should also be heard if those (who) talk of freedom from the nation can shout,” he said.
Interestingly, the AVBP has no unit in the AU. Neither Zala, nor its state organization secretary Ashwini Sharma or Ahmedabad unit president Kiransinh Rajput have any official information from the university about any course of action on the memorandum they handed it over.
Sharma said that the protest would continue if Guha is somehow made to join the university again. He also objected to Guha's taking tweet route to announce his decision. “He (Guha) is a historian and intellectual and is it befitting for him to talk about such things through Twitter when it was just between him and the AU, which had perhaps asked to extend the date of his joining,” Sharma said.
“Guha had shown his anti-nationalist and anti-Gujarat attitude many times in the past, including when he criticized the conferring of Bharat Ratna to Late Madan Mohan Malviya, and when he wrote several things against Gujarat. He claims to be a Gandhian but Gujarat is the land from where Gandhi comes. We don’t need to learn Gandhism from him,” he said.
Adding that if the university has taken note of their request, it shows that there are people who understand right and wrong, Sharma said, “Guha teaches us that the saffron of tricolour represented Hindus, white Christians and Green Muslims, while we in Gujarat know that these (colors) in fact represent power, truth and greenness of the earth. ABVP talks of students as nations power and it should not be turned into nuisance power by trying to re-rope him,” Sharma said.
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