On the 11th of January, 2019, Leftist students at Presidency University attacked an event organized to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda the next day. The event was organized a day earlier as the University remains closed on Swami Ji’s birthday.
Apart from paying tribute to the great Hindu saint, food packets and warm clothes for winter were also distributed to poor children. As per sources, permission had been sought from the Dean for the event which was granted. Three professors who were invited to address the event were harassed by Leftists. When the professors sought to leave, Leftist goons created a ruckus and heckled them. The students who organized the event were also threatened.
Speaking to OpIndia.com, Aditya Das, Assistant Professor at the City College of Commerce and Business Administration, Kolkata, said, “They started gathering as soon as we started our speech. A large crowd that had gathered started creating a ruckus. The poor people, who had come to receive blankets and other things, were pushed about and chairs were scattered by them.”
Das went on to say that there was also a Muslim professor and another female professor present who were attacked as well. He stated, “A professor from the Bangla department, he is a Muslim, was attacked as well. They were not allowing the lady professor to exit as well. Ey ki obostha? Ey ki poristhiti? (What is this condition, what is this situation).”
The professor was extremely disappointed with the circumstances that transpired at the prestigious University. “The Presidency University which had such a stellar reputation and we had to witness such disgusting conduct today. We do not teach at Presidency, we never studied here as well but on the basis of our first experience here, I can say with the certainty that the conditions here are horrible.” He added, “I spoke on Economics, I mentioned Kaushik Basu. They have an allergy with Swami Vivekananda himself!”
Debashish Chowdhury, another Professor who was invited to address the event, expressed similar sentiments. He said, “We were extremely pleased that such an event was being organized here at President University. Mostak Babu, professor in the Bangla department, was a part of the event as well. We were sitting on the stage, Mostak Babu was sitting with us, what greater testament to secularism could there be? The Leftists could not tolerate this. And they harassed us.” Mostak Ahamed is the Head of the Bengali Department at Presidency University.
He added, “If you did not like what was happening, you could have just left. You could have given a Note of Dissent to the authorities of the University. Why would you heckle Professors who had come from other Universities?”
Papiya Mitra, a professor at Surendranath College for Women, said, “I am extremely disappointed with what happened today. They started screaming when our speeches ended. Debashish Babu, who had gone with us, was surrounded by them and it was almost like physically assaulting him. I was shocked.”
Mitra also pointed out the hypocrisy of Leftists. She said, “Everyone has a right to speak. They always speak about Freedom of Expression, and they could not tolerate even this.” She was also hurt by the manner in which the poor who had attended the event were treated. “The poor were sitting in the hope that they will receive some food. And these people were saying that ‘No! It cannot happen! Distribution of clothes, giving food can’t happen!’ I was extremely hurt by it.” She added, “They didn’t sit with us and discuss the matter in a cordial manner. They resorted to shouting and screaming instead. All they behaved in such a rowdy manner in front of poor children who had come for food.”
As per our source, the children were allowed food only after the flex of Swami Vivekananda was removed. The ruckus was created when Professor Chowdhury spoke on the rising negativity in Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jadavpur University. The Professor said that he was extremely happy with the event on Swami Vivekananda being organized at Presidency University. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the protests against Swami Vivekananda’s statue at JNU and slogans of ‘Bharat tere tukde hongey’ that were raised there.
The Leftists also accused the guests of creating communal tensions, despite the fact that a Muslim professor was present on the stage. The students are believed to be primarily from the History Department although those from other departments were also present.
Leftist intolerance at Universities is nothing new. In February 2017, leftist students in JNU had stopped professors from entering their offices. Students from Jadavpur University had also opposed the screening of Vivek Agnihotri’s movie ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’ and resorted to hooliganism.