The row over inclusion of a subject of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in the syllabus of Bachelor of Arts (BA) second year (fourth semester) is getting deeper with varsity management adamant to continue with the new curriculum while many others including senior leaders of Congress, NCP and students union terming the move as a bid to distort the history.
A petition has been filed in the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court against this decision. The petitioner Janardan Moon of Nagri Hakka Sanrakshan Manch has filed this writ petition before the court stating that the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University’s move to add RSS in the curriculum of BA is not legal. He claimed that RSS is not a registered organisation and hence teaching about such organisation to students is not legitimate. He had earlier submitted a memorandum to the vice chancellor of the varsity Dr SP Kane and urged him to take the decision back but no decision was taken in this regard.
Meanwhile, officiating registrar Dr Vinayak Deshpande and VC Dr Kane both have defended the move and asserted that the subject on RSS would not be omitted or replaced with communalism. Deshpande said, the decision was taken after due consideration and there is no scope of taking back the decision. Also, the decision would not be referred to the board of studies. RSS has been a subject taught for years to the students of Master of Arts. It is being added in an under-graduate course only to help the students understand the topic in a better way in the post-graduate course.
Vice chancellor Dr SP Kane too has blasted the opposition over the issue and claimed that the history of the RSS has been included not only in the Nagpur University but also in other universities in the country. The curriculum has been drafted by the Board of Studies and it has been approved by the senate. Mumbai University, Banaras Hindu University, Gondwana University, Sant Gadgebaba Amravati University and various other state universities have included RSS in their curriculum for history students. He also said that RTMNU is not just teaching about RSS. There are organisations like Muslim League, Rashtriya Seva Dal, etc. which are also the part of RTMNU curriculum. Board of Studies which also came under scanner after the new curriculum too has defended the move.
Dr Satish Chafale, a member of the RTMNU board of studies, has said that RSS was added in the curriculum of BA after due consideration. This is not the first time when history of the RSS is being taught to students. In the fourth semester of ‘ MA’, Nagpur University’s ‘History of Modern Vidarbha’, there is a chapter on RSS in the fourth unit. All major organizations in Vidarbha have been included while the chapter on RSS is very concise.
Dr. Sharad Kolarkar’s book is also used in the syllabus. It is worth to note here that Nagpur University’s BA (history) curriculum has been changed this year. In the fourth semester of the second year of BA, a chapter on ‘India’s history 1885-1947’ has given prominence to the role played by the RSS in the formation of a nation instead of the rise and development of the Communist movement.
This decision led to a political storm in the city with both Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) charging the varsity administration of working under RSS pressure and trying to distort the history. Nationalist Students Congress, NSUI too have alleged that the curriculum has been changed under pressure from the RSS. There is also a demand for change in the syllabus. Administration of the university has come under fire for changing the syllabus.
At present, the university’s education forum is very dominating and it is learnt that members of this forum are behind all the major policy decisions of the varsity. This is perhaps the reason that Congress, NCP and others have accused the varsity administration of succumbing to their pressure. Senate members and former management council members too have opposed the move. The inclusion of RSS in the curriculum is suspicious
The administration has repeatedly appeared to be meek before the education forum and it is not right for the future of student, senate member and the ‘Young Teachers Forum’ president Dr Baban Taiwade said. Former Management council member Mahendra Nimbarte also expressed resentment over the move and said that prior to revising the course, the university management was expected to discuss it with all the stakeholders.
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