The Sangh Attempts to Subvert Education

For the RSS and its outfits to brand the Jawaharlal Nehru University, known for its Left student movement and noted Leftist academicians, as ‘anti-India’ and ‘anti-Hindu’ was pretty common. But now the RSS has shown its utter frustration at its lack of acceptance among students of other institutions as well, by branding the FTII students as ‘anti-Hindu’ and IITs and IIMs too as ‘anti-India/anti-Hindu’!

An article in the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, declared that after Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as FTII Chairman, “anti-Hindu fringe elements did what they are best at. They started protesting…” The article also declared that “only a mentally challenged will challenge Chauhan’s credentials,” and further branded Raj Kumar Hirani, Girish Karnad, Mahesh Bhatt and all other noted filmmakers and actors as ‘anti-Hindu’.

Another article in the Organiser branded IITs and IIMs as hotbeds of “anti India and anti-Hindu activities.” This piece attacked noted nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar who resigned as Chairman of the board of governors, IIT Bombay, and IIM Ahmedabad chairman A.M. Naik, both of whom had criticized the HRD Ministry of the Modi Government. Kakodkar had criticised the HRD Ministry for adopting a selection process for IIT directors which was "too casual" and like "running a lottery." The Organiser article asked why he had not criticized the ‘Kiss of Love’ protests against moral policing by IIT Bombay faculty and students. It also accused faculty members of IITs and IIMs of having “low morals” and “misguiding students.” AM Naik had criticized the draft bill that seeks to curb the autonomy of the IIMs.

Even more laughably, the article claimed that “Roorkee is part of Devbhoomi i.e Hairdwar district and hence non-vegetarian food was not allowed in IIT Roorkee hostels. Under aegis of Congress-led UPA, non-vegetarian food was started in IIT Roorkee.”

The problem is that the RSS’ list of what is ‘anti-India’, ‘anti-Hindu’ and ‘immoral’ is pretty vast. Kissing is anti-India, anti-Hindu, immoral. So is eating non-vegetarian food. So is criticizing the Modi Government or opposing partisan appointments. So is seeking heads of academic institutions with proper qualifications. So is promoting the ideas of Ambedkar and Periyar, or opposing casteism, communalism and patriarchy. Love marriages, live-in relationships, homosexuality too. The list is endless.

What the RSS can’t come to terms with, is the fact that young Indians and thinking Indians who are serious about education find the RSS’ views on these matters pretty laughable at best and outrageous at worst. They refuse to be dictated to about what to eat, what to think, who to love, and what to read. As the RSS think tanks with Modi’s and Smriti Irani’s blessings, seek to stifle reason and impose their stranglehold on the country’s educational institutions, the students and faculty are not willing to “go gently” – they are raging against the dying light.

The FTII Director has threatened that if students don’t call off their strike, FTII may be shut down. That would be like the Secretary of the Writers’ Union in Brecht’s poem, who responded to a people’s uprising against the Government by suggesting:

the people

Had forfeited the confidence of the government

And could win it back only

By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier

In that case for the government

To dissolve the people

And elect another?”

The RSS, it seems would like to dissolve the students of India’s educational institutions – all of which are ‘anti-India’ in their eyes, and replace them with robots produced in the Sangh shakhas.

What will the RSS do with institutions, given a chance? Anagha Ghaisas, appointed to the FTII Board, has already declared that FTII students will be compelled to make films that she (read the RSS) considers “nationalist.” Invited to address an ‘Unnat Bharat Yojana’ meeting in IIT Delhi this January, Baba Ramdev said the IITs must study the genetic code of cows and bulls. The minutes of that meeting record that the Chairman of IIT's Board of Governors, Dr Vijay Bhatkar said that "Cow should be the instrument in finding all the solutions…cow based agriculture can bring revolution and its foundation could be Gaushala." The minutes also show that Ramdev offered a Rs 200 crore donation to the scheme. Far from scientific contribution to rural development, then, the Unnat Bharat Yojana is a front for pushing the Sangh-brand of ideas and funds into the IITs. Will IIT students buy this rubbish though?

The problem isn’t only that the Modi Government is appointing those ideologically close to it, as heads of educational institutions. Previous Governments too kept political considerations in mind and did not have great respect for dissenting academicians. But the persons selected by the Modi Government from the Sangh stable to head various institutions, lack the most basic credibility and peer-reviewed qualifications. In other words, these Modi appointees have no respect or concern for the disciplines they will command power over.

A recent episode of plagiarism further emphasized the contempt that the RSS backed ideologues have for basic academic norms. It has been revealed by some historians and scholars that Rajiv Malhotra, one of the Sangh ideologues known for his role in having Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism pulped, plagiarized and distorted the work of noted scholars, in his books. Harper Collins, Malhotra’s publisher, has admitted the plagiarism and has promised to correct the plagiarism when it reissues his book Indra’s Net.

What is laughable is Malhotra’s response to the accusations of plagiarism. He didn’t deny having copy-pasted from other scholars’ work. He has declared instead that quotation marks and concern for proper attribution is a Western preoccupation! His supporters have also – irony of ironies – claimed that his free speech is being curbed by censorship! So plagiarism can be called freedom of speech, and a plagiarized book need not be pulped – but Doniger’s book was pulped under threat from Malhotras, Batras and their camp followers, because they disagreed with it!

Indologist scholar Andrew J Nicholson has written, “Rajiv Malhotra does not know Sanskrit, so he has to rely on others who do in order to amass the raw materials he needs for his books. But he twists the words and arguments of respectable scholars to suit his own ends…. I invite open-minded people to read the concluding chapter in Unifying Hinduism and compare it to Malhotra’s conclusions in Indra’s Net. Then they can decide for themselves whether he is improving upon my work or merely distorting and dumbing it down to fit his own Hindutva worldview.” (, July 17, 2015)

Permanent Black, publishers of Nicholson’s book Unifying Hinduism, add, “As for HarperCollins, their willingness to rectify future editions of Rajiv Malhotra’s book would be welcome were it not for the fact that there may be nothing left for them to put in a “corrected” edition: much of the book has been shown up as a patchwork of other people’s work minus attribution. This is usually defined as plagiarism.”

The Sangh’s open hostility to scholarship, reason, and free thought, and their agenda to melt down and remould Indian education to fit their narrow, ignorant and bigoted worldview is alarming. But the resistance to it from so many quarters is encouraging. The Sangh and Modi Government, in the process of trying to subvert educational institutions, are losing credibility and exposing themselves.

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