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Interview: ‘We have truth on our side, we will win,’ SVDV scholars and alumni clear misconceptions spread by media

"Our tradition has been to honour scholars the way Lord Sri Rama respected Ravana's scholarship but only respected him and not called for teaching in a gurukula because it was a distinction between the traditional conduct of Rama and Ravana. So Firoz Khan can be a scholar and we also respect him but due to differences in traditional conduct, he cannot become our Acharya"

Opposition to the appointment of Dr Feroze by the students of the Faculty of Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan of Benaras Hindu University continues. Various programs are being organized continuously as part of the movement. Students are getting the support of all professors, teachers and scholars including Shakaracharyas and the Kashi Vidvat Parishad. All the scholars asserted that the media projected Hindus as intolerant once again by making it a question of Sanskrit language and Hindu-Muslim from the very beginning of the movement, without being aware of their own ignorance or position here.

The current office bearer of Kashi Vidhyat Parishad and former professor of SVDV Ramayatan Shukla also said that for them, Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam is not a slogan but a way of life and as part of this, India embraced one and all. But never interfered in other’s traditions. ‘People from outside perceived our warmth as our weakness and damaged us from time to time. But even in the most difficult of times, there was someone or the other standing for the protection of religion, due to which our eternal traditions are alive today. Today students are standing for the protection of those traditions. Their struggle today is not only for today but for the time and generations to come. And today when all the people including the media are against them without knowing, then it is our responsibility to make them aware of the right issue.’

Prof. Shivaram Gangopadhyay, a learned scholar of jurisprudence, said, “The media’s propaganda among the people and their own ignorance has damaged the reputation of the university. But whose fault is it? When the faculty and people of BHU themselves are not properly aware of the rules of ‘Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan Faculty’. This dispute would not have happened if the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the head of the department, Umakant Chaturvedi, were aware of the rules.

Read: BHU protest: Prof Vashisht Tripathi blames VC, said chaos could have been avoided if management had followed rules

Vashistha Narayan Tripathi, another professor of jurisprudence, also underlined the shortcomings of the administration in his statement. Along with this, all the scholars have answered all the misleading reportage by the media and the questions arising from the confusion. Opindia has brought them before you, so if you are still in doubt or a victim of any confusion and have adopted the half-incomplete and incorrect information spread on Google as knowledge then read the answers, understand yourself and explain it to others as well so that the right issue reaches the people and the university is forced to rectify its mistakes.

In the process of answering the questions in a program held on the stage of Banaras in the morning of Assi Ghat yesterday, Dr Munish Mishra, an alumnus of SVDV, said, “We are Vedic Sanatani who follow notions such as Swadharma Nidhan Shreya Paradharmo Bhayavah.” He said that having knowledge of Sanskrit is a separate matter, but to be the master of that tradition is a different thing. He emphasized that even today some so-called intellectuals are misrepresenting students and people of the country. So here are some major questions and their answers:

Who gave the students the right to dismiss the appointment of a teacher?

According to the Puranas, many students abandon their gurus due to their conduct, like Bhakta Prahlad ji had abandoned Shukracharya’s son Sandamark because he was divinely divine and Sandamarka was a supporter of Rakshasas. Thus, in Sanatana Dharma, there is provision for a Shishya to abandon a Guru to the latter’s abandonment of Dharma

Does language have any religion?

Don’t know about the religion of languages, but there is a classical language of every religion, with the help of which we get detailed information about that religion. If it were not so, then to know about the intimate facts of different religions, written texts in that particular language would not have to be read. Just as one has to read scriptures written in Urdu Farsi to know the religion of Islam, one has to read the Bible for the intimate knowledge of Christianity, and the scriptures written in Sanskrit are the best help to learn the deep mysteries of Sanatan. Therefore, it is imperative to keep their scriptures from other religions for the protection of their intimate secrets.

Why respect Muslims like Kabir, Rahim, Rasakhan, Darashikoh all along, APJ Abdul Kalam but oppose Feroz Khan?

Darashikoh and others, despite having knowledge of Sanskrit and Sanatan traditions, neither made any application for Sanatan Dharmacharyas nor did they make any movement nor were they in a position to hold a post but Firoz Khan was aware that it was a suitable post only for the Sanatanis, but still insisting on his stubbornness, he is claiming the position.

So, we are liberal people who understood Sanatan, we respect Raskhan, Rahim from our heart, but if someone comes along and bids for our house, we do have to oppose it. It is only because we have done such retaliation in every phase that we have been able to save the Sanatan tradition to a great extent. The promotion and preservation of Prach Vidya is at the core of SVDV, and it is a unique institution in itself.

In Feroze’s house everyone loves Sanskrit, the Father sings hymns etc. What do you oppose him?

Reading Sanskrit is not a matter of curiosity but it is not completely true to say that he is a lover of Sanskrit. If he were one, he would not have hurt the religious sentiments of others. I think he learnt Sanskrit for commercial purposes if they are learning Sanskrit from three generations.

Read: BHU students organise Rudhrabhishek as part of agitation against appointment of non-Hindu to the faculty of theology

They are studying Sanskrit, they are interested in singing hymns and ideologically Sanatani also, then why have they not accepted Sanatan Dharma till now? On one hand, they also offer namaz, celebrate violent festivals like Bakrid and on the other hand sing hymns in the temple for livelihood. They pretend to be Sanatani, they all pretend to live. Sanskrit lover does not violate Sanskrit scriptures, therefore it is unfair to call Firoz a lover of Sanskrit.

Feroze Khan has been appointed to teach literature, not Vedic rituals, but what is the objection to him reading Rasgangadhar?

Not only for Rasgangadhara but even Kaviprakash and others, he is also not eligible to teach because they do not believe in Gods and Goddesses. In such a situation, to say Ratis specific to Gods and Goddesses is not related to religion is against the scriptures. The literature is not limited only to Rasgangadhar, most of the literary texts have Ved Puranas and hence it is unfair to say it has nothing to do with religion.

Does ability not matter to you, instead of taking knowledge from a scholar, it is important to know his religion?

When reservation on the basis of caste swallows ability, then no one speaks but today, people are talking about ability. The point here is not to disrespect ability. If they are so capable, instead of quarrelling, put an application for transfer to another department. We will salute his ability, but if someone comes to teach religion, he will definitely be asked about it. As an example, a person who has never driven a vehicle himself and if we appoint him to teach driving, then what will happen, both the learner and the teacher will crash. Therefore, the teacher teaching the religion must also be of the same religion.

Read: How the BHU students were demonised and the ones who refused to be ‘secularised’ unfairly called ‘bigots’

In the program held at Assi Ghat, all scholars and alumni, including Dr. Munish Mishra, responded to the questions of the people and cleared many of the misconceptions raised in the media. At the same time, while talking to Opindia, he also asked to be informed if someone is spreading a lie or if a new question comes up again, of course, if he is a sophist in the name of logic. ‘There is a tradition of scripture in Sanatan. There is no ultimate truth in us. And this Sanskrit science has been established only for the interpretation and preservation of the truth of religion and its science.’

Munish Mishra also said, “The battle of religion is always won on the basis of truth and fact and we have these two on our side, so our victory is sure. Gods took shelter of their Guru Brihaspati even in the face of lakhs of misfortune, while Shukracharya was not less in terms of knowledge than Jupiter but the Gods followed the Guru according to their tradition, so they were always victorious.

Our tradition has been to honour scholars the way Lord Sri Rama respected Ravana’s scholarship but only respected him and not called for teaching in a gurukula because it was a distinction between the traditional conduct of Rama and Ravana. So Firoz Khan can be a scholar and we also respect him but due to differences in traditional conduct, he cannot become our Acharya.”

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