BHU students protesting for two weeks over Muslim Sanskrit Professor
For almost two weeks, students at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have been protesting against the appointment of a Muslim teacher in the Sanskrit literature department, under the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan (SVDV). The students continued their sit-in protest, performing pujas outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor against Dr. Firoz Khan's appointment as SVDV assistant professor. Here are more details.
No classes held since Professor's appointment amid protests
Reportedly, Khan, a doctorate in Sanskrit, was appointed the faculty on November 7. However, since then, no classes have been held as the students continue to protest his appointment. Although the varsity's V-C, Prof Rakesh Bhatnagar, on Tuesday told a delegation of protestors that the appointment was made in accordance with the BHU Act and central UGC guidelines, the students refuse to back down.
'No question of ending dharna until demands are met'
Shubham Tiwari, a research scholar at SVDV faculty, who has been protesting against the appointment, told Hindustan Times, "There's no question of ending the dharna until our demand is accepted by the BHU administration. We want Dr. Firoz to be shifted to some other faculty."
SVDV imparts education of Sanatan Dharma: BHU ABVP convener
Meanwhile, Adhokshaj Pandey, BHU's Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) convener, said, "Their demand is genuine. The students want the transfer of Dr. Firoz since they want only Hindus as teachers in the faculty of SVDV that imparts education of Sanatan Dharma." Pandey added, "They're not against the appointment. Dr. Firoz may teach in any other faculty. Therefore, the varsity administration should accept the demand."
Teaching Sanskrit Sahitya has nothing to do with religion: Khan
However, speaking to The Indian Express, Dr. Khan argued that it's not about religion. He said, "I can agree that if I have to teach Vedas, Dharam Shastra or Jyotish then it's better (if) I'm a Hindu, but teaching Sanskrit Sahitya has nothing to do with it." "All I have to teach what is written over there," he added.
What are Dr. Khan's qualifications?
Khan told TIE that he started learning Sanskrit from class 2. He has a BA, B.Ed, MA, and Ph.D in Sanskrit from the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Jaipur. Khan has cleared NET and JRF and was awarded the Sanskrit Yuva Pratibha Puruskar by the Rajasthan government.
BHU doesn't stand for religious discrimination: Varsity spokesperson
Separately, Dev Pujari, the national organizational secretary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Sanskrit Bharti, described the protests as absurd as Sanskrit teaches "culture, not religion." BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh also added, "The university does not stand for discrimination on the basis of religion, caste or gender. For the progress of the nation, it believes in providing equal opportunities of education to all."