There has been continuous opposition from the students of the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan Faculty of Kashi Hindu University over the appointment of Dr Feroz Khan in the faculty. A large section of the media has conspired to divert the attention from the actual issue by making it a question of ‘Sanskrit language’ and ‘opposition to Muslim teacher’. This issue has created a lot of confusion among people. However, Opindia has attempted to present an accurate version of the students’ arguments on the whole matter.
This report documents the statement of the current professors of the faculty on various subjects, and that of the former head of department, the head of the Vishwanath Mandir Trust, as well as the Acharyas of Kashi on the matter of BHU protests.
What SVDV professors say
SVDV is in complete disarray at the moment due to controversy created by Feroz Khan’s appointment. Despite working at the institution, some of the professors are openly supporting the students on the matter. We also had a conversation with some professors who are not willing to come forward as it might affect their jobs, but students have their moral support.
Rajneesh Pandey, Assistant Professor of the Department of Literature of the SVDV, says that he was with the students. Technically, even though the law may not be in their favour, their demand is in accordance with the objectives of establishing this faculty by Madan Mohan Malviya. Since no one from a different religion has been appointed in SVDV Faculty so far, there has been no need for such a dispute earlier. This is the first time in more than a hundred years. Therefore, students are forced to protest, even with exams looming around the corner.
Professor of literature department Rajneesh Pandey remarks, “Yesterday, I was reading the statement of Feroze Khan and his father in ‘Dainik Jagran’, the bottom line of which was that all this is happening to them because of their Muslim identity. According to them, they have faced no discrimination till date for being Muslim, but all this is happening now because of their Muslim identity. According to him, he has read Sanskrit since childhood and has a photo of Krishna in his house, etc., and many things have been said to prove his love for Sanskrit.”
Assistant Professor continues, “I just want to know from them whether Muslims are not teaching Sanskrit anywhere in this country and if yes, why did they not have this discrimination? This is the same country in which thousands of temples were looted, destroyed, and numerous atrocities were committed in the name of Islam. People who believe heaven should also be abandoned for Janani-Janmabhoomi, people who love this motherland of ours more than their own mothers, in front of them the country was partitioned in the name of Islam. In Rama’s country, we had to travel for years in courts to prove the existence of Rama. In which Christian country is a case ongoing to prove the existence of Jesus Christ, in which Islamic country is a case ongoing to prove the existence of prophet Muhammad? But still, this country treats Muslims as equals do you know why? Because even though Sanskrit may not be a common language anymore, but even today as a sacrament, it still lives on the in veins of every Hindu.”
Rajneesh Pandey adds, “You rightly said that you studied Sanskrit from childhood but you accepted it only as a language and could not assimilate into the culture of Sanskrit or else this discriminatory vision would never have arisen only because of peaceful protest. If you read history, then you will understand that despite enduring so much persecution, the Hindus have never considered Muslims different from themselves, this is the miracle of Sanskrit’s culture. You cannot inherit it from reading only, which you are claiming.”
After all of this, Rajneesh Pandey talks about the protest of the students in SVDV and says, “Now let’s get to the reasons for the protest. Kashi Hindu University, in whose name Mahamana (Madan Mohan Malviya) has associated the word ‘Hindu’, an effort was launched by Nehru’s education minister MC Chagla (Muhammad Ali Karim Chagla) in the 1960s to remove it. The bill was introduced and when the people opposed it, it was withdrawn and from then, it was due to Chagla that JNU was established. When Mahamana remained adamant on the word ‘Hindu’ in the name of the university despite Gandhi’s opposition, he showed his firmness and reverence towards Hinduism and Sanatan values.”
He goes on to say that Mahamana was not a beggar or addict who added the word Hindu to the name of the university and set up the Sanskrit department at the university as well as the Vedic school which was later renamed the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan. Malviya ji was a farsighted self-sacrificing ascetic who knew very well what this word meant. Those who established the temple of Kashi Vishwanath in the midst of BHU, this is proof of the attachment they felt towards the Hindu worship system and Sanatan values. And due to this attachment, he established the ‘Dharm Vigyan’ faculty to study and preserve the culture of Hinduism and its identity and not to propagate Sanskrit for which the Sanskrit department exists is in the Faculty of Arts and its door is open to all.
Rajneesh ji says that the question now was, who will teach Hindu theology? Will a person of the religion, which has a satirical view of the idol worship and the temples, will teach the ways of Hindu worship? The person who belongs to a religion that considers the moon as the basis of every calculation, will he teach the Surya Siddhanta? One who does not believe in Dharma Saakar Swarup, will he explain the relationship between Saakar and Niraakar? Where literature means only Sanskrit dance and music, will it teach scriptures from Hindu religious thought such as ‘individualism’ and ‘Rasgangadhar’? A religion which allows a woman to be thrown out of the house by saying Talaq thrice, will a person of that faith explain the marriage rites of Saptapadi and a bond for Janma Janmaantar? He who does not believe in any virtue will give a trinitarian interpretation of the creation, the religion in which the proof of being a Muslim is from the circumcision of the genitals will teach the Upanayana rites and Brahmacharya? There are not one but thousands of such questions that are the cause of opposition, which you have weighed in your petty Hindu-Muslim vision, he said.
Rajneesh ji clearly states that the reason for his frustration is only financial, mental and personal and opposition has nothing to do with a personal financial interest, “It is clearly said here in our religion. You may be a very good person, but there is also a truth that ‘once bitten twice shy’. You have read and taught Sanskrit, in my view, you deserve the utmost respect and affection. But Feroz Khan, religion and bedroom have their own dignity and privacy. The Indian Constitution also allows this. No matter how much I read Urdu and Quran, I will not become a cleric, nor I would like to do so for some economic reason.’
“To say that ‘it would have been better to have a chicken shop opened instead of teaching Sanskrit’ and then, claiming to be a Sanskrit lover is such an outrageous contradiction. Mirabai, the beloved daughter-in-law of Firoz’s Rajasthan, drank venom for love of Krishna and your Sanskrit love reached the chicken shop just because of opposition from some students! What form of love is this, I could not understand. This university is different from universities like JNU, where anti-country slogans are raised. Hindu culture was and will remain, at the core of the establishment of this university. Anyone who has objections in it can object, but objection does not change the historical truth.”
Why two Sanskrit departments in the same university?
Professor Girijashankar Shastri, from the Department of Astrology of the Faculty of Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan, in his statement also emphasized that Dharmaprana Bharat Ratna Mahamana Pt. Madanmohan Malaviya ji had a special purpose when he established the Kashi Hindu University in the city of religion, enlightenment and salvation in Varanasi. Dharma is a very broad word, its speed is also very subtle, Dharma and the element of Dharma are also located in the intellectual cavities of great men and great sages, the whole Dharma is only Parmatma, which has always been tried to be known through the Sanatan tradition, Sanatana Dharma is eternal, it has not been run by one great person or ideology.
Professor Shastri stresses, “Except Sanatan Dharma, every other religion has been promoted by a person. This is the reason that these religions have been called Sampradayas. God has also been descending from time to time to protect the Sanatana Dharma. The protector of Sanatan culture is Vedas and Vedang, to protect it, the visionary Mahamana Malaviya first established the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan Faculty. Later, another Sanskrit department was also established in BHU’s Faculty of Arts to spread Sanskrit language and Sanskrit knowledge. Both Sanskrit departments have different objectives.”
Prof. Girijashankar adds that the teachers of the SVDV faculty carry out Krishnajanashtami, Gita Prabandha, Rishipujan, Shravanikram, Saraswati Puja in the Malaviya Bhavan, perform Pujas in the Vishwanath temple at the university according to the time and date, even as they teach Veda and Vedang to protect Sanatana Dharma. Whereas the relation of Sanskrit department is limited to reading, research work and other Sanskrit related activities. Therefore, Malaviya ji had the same objective of establishing two departments. Therefore, the Mahamana, while instructing the rules in the Shilapatta, would not give permission to the SVDV for any religion other than ‘Hindu’.
Former Head of Department of Literature Department of SVDV, Shyamanand Mishra says that behind the establishment of the Faculty of Sanskrit Science in Kashi Hindu University, the concept of Mahamana Malaviya ji was to protect and propagate the high values acquired in Sanatan Dharma and Culture. If the general study of Sanskrit had been the objective, why was the department of Sanskrit department established by Malaviya ji in the same Faculty of Arts apart from the Faculty of Religion in the same university? The former head of the department also appealed to the people that those who do not have the actual knowledge of the SVDV should not dare to make unnecessary comments in this subject. He reiterated this and said – for special knowledge read the Shilapatta in the Faculty-building.
In connection with the appointment of Feroz Khan, Prof. Dixit of Ved Department of SVDV also drew attention to the book that the entire purpose of Vedic college is written in the same book which was released by the Honorable Vice-Chancellor. We have already mentioned what he said in his report which can be read here.
Apart from the professors of SVDV, the President of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust, Acharya Ashok Dwivedi also supported the students’ movement, saying that when Mahamana founded BHU, he set up the faculty along with a stone that was also installed on which it is written for the future that only a Hindu who believes in Sanatan Dharma will study and teach here. As an example, he said that just as a non-Sanatani cannot go to Vishwanath temple for worship, similarly, the SVDV of BHU should also be a teacher of Sanatan Dharma. This is how religious purity will be maintained.
Apart from this, along with many other professors of the university, the Pandits and Acharyas of Kashi also say that Sanatana Dharma is taught in that faculty and there is no other religion that any teacher of any religion can come and teach. The demands of all those students were supported.
At this time, a large part of the media, without understanding the whole issue, is engaged in revealing its frustration in many other forms in the name of opposing Brahminism only by considering it as a language issue due to which this issue has taken political and religious form. The way the university administration is justifying its appointment, then the demand of students also seems right if we look at the context of Hindu religion and its values. In this whole context, the need is also to make people aware of the right issue.
The real issue here is neither language nor opposition to the entry of Muslim teachers in BHU because, since the inception of BHU, teachers of almost all religions are teaching there freely. The question is only that of a specific faculty of Sanskrit Theology and Dharma. Where there were hitherto unannounced rules of appointment which have been followed for the past hundred years and for the first time when someone tried to move away from it, the university is facing opposition from the students for whom Sanskrit is not only a language but also a medium to protect and promote Sanatana Dharma and its values. The students of SVDV are keeping in mind not only the present day but also the future, they do not want that someone they will not be able to accept from their heart their guru to teach them.