SAFFRONISATION, INCREASING VIOLENCE IN DEFILING POLITICAL DEMOCRACY

 

Agenda of the Hindutva, implemented in full by the rulers, detrimental to the vast majority of population, ignoring opposition and unrest.

-nietzsche

After the formation of BJP Government at the Centre in 2014, the agenda of saffronisation is being geared up and accomplished aggressively, ignoring the continuous opposition at the floor of the Parliament and at the field by the civil society. More than the other areas, the saffronisation is prioritised in educational institutions and autonomous educational and research bodies. The threat of saffronisation is multi – pronged.

Educational institutions: Changing the minds of youngsters and students will bear the lasting effect in the accomplishment of the Hindutva ideals. No one could find fault with the preaching of such ideals as a propagation practice , if it is in a democratic way.

On the contrary, the views, alternative to Hindutva ideals and the organisations shouldering progressive ideas are all suppressed undemocratically by applying authoritative and aggressive   means. The autonomy of educational institutions is placed  at stake by the controlling ministry at the Centre. The Union Ministers who hold the responsible positions habitually interfere in the internal administration of higher educational institutions.

They give directions to the authorities of the higher educational institutions under the guise of official routine to initiate action on the anonymous complaint against the duly recognised student study circle. It happened as such in IIT-M, thereby banning the functioning of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle. When so many student study circles are allowed to function on the campus, why did the IIT M authorities act only against APSC?

It is the blatant enactment  of saffronisation i.e. banning the organisations which are ideologically opponent to Hindutva. Such sort of approach at the University of Hyderabad caused the suicide of the research scholar Rohith Vemula which aroused wide spread protest and opposition, invariably throughout the country. The saffronisation agenda is continued still more aggressively at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi. The political patronage given to ABVP, the student wing of RSS is the root cause of the unruly behaviour against the students and the unrest atmosphere prevailing in the JNU campus.

Still, there is not even a slight change in the saffronisation process, engineered by the rulers; rather, they justify the actions initiated in the name of patriotism. But the history speaks vividly on the stand of the forefathers of the saffron forces aloof in the freedom struggle against the British. Besides that, those saffron functionaries surrendered themselves to the British rulers of those days with due apology in letter and expressing the prospective support and loyalty to the British rule. The saffron brigades with such organisational and ideological heritage do not have the moral authority to talk on patriotism and advise others.

Academic and Research bodies: The academic and research bodies at all India level have to do research, to document the facts and to offer advisory directions to the rulers in framing the educational policies, in the design of the academic syllabus and preparation of educational texts. The educationist and the intellectuals who are sufficiently exposed and experienced in the respective disciplines would be entrusted with the executive responsibilities of such bodies.

This was the practice so far. But after the formation of BJP Government, it has become a practice to choose personnel to the academic and research bodies without their significant exposure and experience or irrelevant exposure and experience to the desired discipline. The sheer allegiance or association with Hindutva ideals is sufficient to adorn such positions. Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Indian History Congress(IHC) etc. are the few among the targets to accomplish the saffronisation agenda. Rewriting the history in an unscientific and biased  manner by relying solely on the scriptures, puranas, idihas and face –shift the Indian History has become the official function of those bodies.

Recently, the HRD Ministry of the BJP Government has reconstituted the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR). It is customary so far to appoint educationists and scholarly personnel on philosophy who are well versed about the academic field to the positions in ICPR. But now the ministry has approved the nomination of 12 members to the Council, of them many are not related to the academics of philosophy; four are Sanskrit scholars,

one is the former BJP Member of the Legislative Council and one is retired from the Indian Police Service (who has associated with the organisation that recently claimed to have put exact date to Lord Ram’s birth). Such sort of irrelevance prevails in the appointment made to ICPR. The only identity needed to get nominated to ICPR is the allegiance to Hindutva ideals and association with saffron organisations. In a philosophical body, the representation of irrelevant personnel is going to dominate, favouring the speedy formulation to face- shift of  the philosophical heritage of the country.

Sanskritisation: Sanskritisation is yet another mode in the process of saffronisation. Historical facts show that the religious texts and codes which are in Sanskrit language had enslaved the majority section of the population of this land. Sanskrit is now a DEAD language and no one speaks Sanskrit language except its presence in the scriptures and its restricted usage in chanting Hindu religious mantras.

To bring back the glory of the past, Sanskrit is given undue importance and projection. To begin with HRD Ministry has issued notification to introduce Sanskrit as the third language to be taught in the schools which come under the direct purview of the Ministry. The notification advised for the teaching Sanskrit in a phased manner to the students. Sanskritisation is nothing but suppressing the regional languages and put them sub standard and subservient.  Sanskrtisation is nothing but upholding the supremacy of one sect in the religious hierarchy which is against the secular fabric of the country.

The saffronisation process is fast and is carried out meticulously. The deleterious effects have been caused alarmingly in the span of about two years of BJP rule. To cause further deterioration from the present position the saffron forces are planning systematically and accomplishing them aggressively. We warn , this is unbecoming of the Government, elected in a democratic way but discharging the task in a dictatorial manner. This sort of governance of the State is detrimental to the unity and integrity of the country. 


BECOMING INCREASINGLY ANTISCIENCE

Scientists join writers, artists and historians in protesting the BJP government’s growing interference in academic affairs

Apoorva Mandavilli

Three murders, a suicide and a rash of political appointments at universities have thrown Indian academia into an uproar against the conservative (right-wing) government. Prominent artists, writers, historians and scientists are speaking out against an intensifying climate of religious intolerance and political interference in academic affairs.

“What’s going on in this country is really dangerous,” says Rajat Tandon, a number theorist at Hyderabad Central University. Tandon is one of more than 100 prominent scientists, who signed a statement protesting “the ways in which science and reason are being eroded in the country.”

The BJP and RSS promote the agenda of Hindutva, the notion that India is the homeland of Hindus and all others — the hundreds of millions of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others in this sprawling, secular democracy — are interlopers.

“The present government is deviating from the path of democracy, taking the country on the path to what I would call a Hindu religious autocracy,” says Pushpa Mittra Bhargava , who founded the prestigious Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology in Hyderabad.  Academics and intellectuals have been protesting the erosions on academic freedom almost from the start.

In January 2015, at the 102nd session of the Indian Science Congress, several members of the BJP government led a session on ancient Indian science and claimed that thousands of years ago, Indians had built planes that could fly not just on earth but between planets. There were other outlandish claims — that the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha is proof that Indian ancients knew the secrets of cosmetic surgery, for example. Scientists were dismayed, and some did call for the session to be canceled, but their primary response then was still ridicule, rather than outrage.  

In February 2015, economics Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen stepped down as Chancellor of Nalanda University in Bihar, protesting the “considerable government intervention” in academic decisions. That same month, gunmen attacked a left-wing politician called Govind Pansare and his wife; Pansare later died of his injuries. Then, in August, gunmen killed Malleshappa Kalburgi, a leading scholar and rationalist, at his home. “They were a threat, so they were eliminated,” says Tandon.

The attacks shocked the academic community and ignited protests from writers, filmmakers and historians; many returned their national awards as a symbol of their dissent.

Scientists were late to the table, which is not surprising, given that most of Indian science relies on government funds. Still, in October, three separate groups of scientists made statements — the total signatories now number nearly one thousand — protesting the government’s inaction against the acts of violence. (Bhargava returned his Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards in India, to the President.)

There have many reported incidents of discrimination against Dalit students over the past two years. Some level of discrimination has always existed in India, says Bhargava, but “now the discrimination has increased many-fold, has come out in the open and is clearly supported by the Government, as it is an integral part of the Hindutva philosophy of RSS and BJP.”

“Other people were protesting and we scientists were keeping quiet, and all these things were going on around us,” says Tandon. “Keeping quiet just didn’t seem right.”

The protesters disagree, saying every scientist is a citizen first.

“I signed [the petition] as a scientist but this is something I would have signed even if I was a professor of English,” says Sharath Ananthamurthy, a professor in the physics department at Bangalore University. “If we are quiet and if we let this kind of rubbish be propagated without strong dissent, a lie told a 100 times becomes a truth,” he says. “Talking about it, protesting, clarifying is the right thing.”

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