The Banaras Hindu University has been embroiled in a massive controversy. For the past fortnight, students of the Dharma Vigyan Department have been protesting against the appointment of a Muslim professor in SVDV (Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan) department of the BHU.
Now, the university’s information and public relations office has issued a statement in which professor Firoz Khan, whose appointment in the theology department of BHU had created displeasure amongst the students of the Dharma Vigyan Department, has been quoted as criticising media for creating false news and spreading rumours against him.
The statement reads that many media outlets are spreading wrong information about the professor’s whereabouts as to where he is presently staying, with who is he interacting and under whose influence or protection he has been working. It further states that various local, national and international media houses have been attributing terms like ‘gumshuda’ (missing), ‘shehar choda’ (left the city), ‘underground’, ‘vanishing’, to him, which are malicious and are damaging his reputation. He also said that there is just no need or any reason for him to leave or flee the city.
Khan further said that his statements are also being distorted and misrepresented by media which he said is condemnable. He added that due to this false and malicious reportage people are becoming apprehensive, besides developing a false notion against him.
Dr Firoz Khan is quoted as saying: “Every morning when I get to see false and malicious news printed in the newspapers against me I feel very hurt. There are various such fictitious things which are also being shared on social media, which saddens me. I urge everyone to refrain from spreading and believing in such false news”, said Khan.
He added that “being affiliated to a prestigious university like the Banaras Hindu University, I am not only aware of my duties but also respect and follow the rules and regulations of that place”.
“I want to continue teaching, I appeal to everyone to let me and my family live in peace and let me do my duties properly”, said the professor.
He said that it is his privilege that he was appointed to the Dharma Vigyan Department. “I am indebted for being given this opportunity to teach on the land of Mahamana. Guided by Mahamana’s values and teaching, I am committed to adhering to the university’s rules and deliver by best. I am sure that my dedication and hard work will be recognised by the students, faculties and University administration. I once again appeal not to create a fearful environment by sharing and spreading false and fictitious news”, the professor was quoted in the statement as saying.
It is noteworthy that when the students were protesting about the appointment of Professor Feroz Khan, all the media groups across the country ran this news as if the appointment of a Muslim teacher was being opposed in the BHU itself or in the Sanskrit language department of the university, but that is not the case.
In reality, the current protests are against the appointment of a non-Hindu to the ‘Faculty of Theology’. There are two departments for Sanskrit in BHU, one under Arts Faculty and the other under SVDV Faculty. The first is the study of Sanskrit language and the other is the theology of religion. There are different ways of studying in these two. Sanskrit is taught as a language in the Sanskrit department. On the other hand, in the SVDV, students are taught about the customs, mantras, shlokas, rituals of worship and rituals of Sanatan Dharma.
In the Dharma Vigyan Department, even Sanskrit is learnt with an interpretation of theology and hence, the students were demanding that only a practising Hindu be allowed to teach them in the Dharma Vigyan department.