Religious Contestations in India Universities
Students’ of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU, Hyderabad) agitation against Diwali Celebration by the Upper Caste Hindus.
At present, a few Universities of India are under Religious contestations, with regard to the celebration of Diwali and Dasara/Dusara by the Upper Caste Hindus and teaching of A K Ramanujam’s write-up on ‘three hundred versions of Ramayana’.
At Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU – New Delhi), Osmania University (OU – Hyderabad) and the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU – Hyderabad), Dalit – Bahujan Students’ denounced the celebration of Dasara and Diwali in India, by high-lighting the historical research projections of the Dalit-Bahujan icons like Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Dr B R Ambedkar, etc, against to such celebrations / the facts behind such celebrations. Of course, this kind of objection to the Hindu icons, traditions, etc has been continuing for the past few years and this is not the first time. But, due to the proliferation of media, in various modes, the news came out forcefully and the intensity is spread out.
And, the other incident, which is hitting the National media, much more forcefully than the above incident, is the objection to the teaching of A K Ramanujam’s writing on ‘three hundred variants of Ramayana’, by the Department of History, Delhi University for its Under Graduate Students’. From 2006 onwards this issue is raking in various forms, including at the level of the Supreme Court of India. Supreme Court of India appointed a Committee to verify and recommend on the necessity of continuing this lesson as part of academic curriculum/syllabus of B.A. History students’. The out-come of the Committee is positive to continue the lesson. But, the Academic Council of the Delhi University decided to exclude this lesson owing to controversy raked in the public and as ‘sentiments of the Hindus are hurt’.
Between these two incidents, the second one got much media coverage than the former. But, the second incident is much covered by the Telugu electronic media, like TV 9, I News, etc, by even conducting TV interviews/debates.
The presence and organising skills and abilities of the Dalit-Bahujan Students’ in educational institutions have been increasing over the past few years, due to various reasons. And, they are challenging the spaces dominated by the upper castes ideologies, including religious notions.
This poster is rleased by the Bahujan Students’ Federation (BSF), Hyderabad against to the Celebration of Diwali by the Upper Caste Hindu. This poster is glorifying the Narakashoora, in contrast to the Upper Castes Denunciation.
Hindu Religion, as we all know is heterogeneous in nature, but has been attempting to project as homogenous, by even attempting to merge SC/ST independent identities. Now, the Dalit – Bahujan Students’ in Higher Education are attempting to break this hegemony. How Dalit – Bahujan (Students’) would be able to carry forward this effective challenge of breaking religious hegemony of the upper caste and make realise the upper castes, the Brahmanic misfortunes is yet to visualised over the years to come.
And, coming to Delhi University Academic Council’s decision to exclude the ‘three hundred variants of Ramayana’; how long the Indian upper caste and Brahmanic sects would be able to protect the ‘sentiments’ of Upper castes is also awaited. But, certainly confrontation between the two sects is like to engulf much over the years to come.