Banaras Hindu University on Friday joined the controversies surrounding the premiere educational institutions in India as #SaveBHUfromRSS started trending on social media. The university that houses about 40,000 students making it one of the largest residential campuses in India, is facing accusations of rampant sexism by its students. reports suggest that with the appointment of Girish Chandra Tripathi as the Vice Chancellor, the democratic representation of students, teachers and another staff has taken a back seat. Tripathi has been accused of openly endorsing the RSS ideology. He also expelled Sandeep Pandey, winner of the Ramon Magsaysay award and renowned social activist. The expulsion is speculated to have happened as a result of Pandey’s denial of agreeing to the Sangh ideology. When objections surfaced as to his use of the university as an RSS unit, he openly said that there was nothing wrong in establishing an RSS shakha in BHU, since the Indian government itself belonged to the RSS.
With the VC talking on RSS principles and regulating them in the university, that should ideally be free of any political enforcement, it was only a matter of time that restrictions were imposed on students; more specifically female students. Reports have surfaced that the college administration has banned the use of mobile phones by girls after 10pm at night. As ridiculous as this may sound, the VC topped it with banning girls to study after 10 pm. His reason for such a rule was that girls who study at night are immoral. This has resulted in the 24×7 library being shut down for girl students at night. the prospectus of the BHU states that bus service can be availed by all the students of the university. Although, it has come to light that the female students have been banned from using it. Female students are also being made to sign affidavits stating that they would not participate or indulge in any protest or agitation. This is a direct choking off the fundamental rights of an Indian citizen. Female students are also banned for any sort of participation in socio-cultural activities outside the campus.
This discrimination between the genders also exists in the hostels as women are not allowed to consume meat as compared to their male counterparts. VC Girish Tripathi believes that the consumption of non-vegetarian food makes women “impure” in accordance with the Malviya rules. While male students have no curfew time, women have been asked to come back to the campus as early as 8 pm. women wearing short dresses and skirts are reported to have been reprimanded by the administration.
Protests cannot legally be organised by women as they were made to sign a lawful affidavit stating otherwise by the university administration. VC Tripathi has also been seen moral policing around the campus saying that it is aginst Indian cultures for boys and girls to hang out. The university has repeatedly warned the students that nay such acts would lead to a “category-A punishment”, which can be safely assumed to be a suspension.
A few months ago, the university administration had denied the students’ demand for a cyber library stating the students ‘would’ use it to tune into pornography. The university, it seems remains ignorant about simple security software enabling them to ban porn sites. Although, under current circumstances, if the software is made available, the administration might us it to ban a lot more than just porn. The university administration solely consists of upper cast members of the Hindu community.
Students, though have been reported to have joined hands to form a joint action committee to stop the slow decay of saffronisation from spreading over the university. the committee is to spread information about the wrongs happening inside the walls of BHU to the world. Tags like #SaveBHUfromRSS and #StopCampusSexism were seen trending on social media with many prominent personalities all over the country were seen criticising the university for its enforcement of draconian traditions.
The BJP led Indian government has often been criticised for its age old views based on the Hindu books of mythology. While the Narendra Modi government has actively avoided any such controversies, it is high time that they step in to understand these issues and stop such rampant violations of fundamental rights of students.