Historian Guha Not To Teach In Ahmedabad University After ABVP Writes To Registrar Calling Him Anti-National
Renowned historian, biographer and author of many critically acclaimed books, Ramachandra Guha on November 1 announced that he would not be joining Ahmedabad University (AU), Gujarat. His announcement came two weeks after RSS student’s wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) opposed his appointment claiming that his (Guha’s) books have “anti-national content”.
According to The Indian Express, on October 16, the AU had announced Guha’s appointment to the University’s Art and science department as a Shrenik Lalbhai Chair Professor of Humanities and also as a director of the Gandhi Winter School. Following which the ABVP members on October 19 protested against Guha’s appointment in front of the university’s registrar.
“We want intellectuals and not urban Naxals”
While speaking to The Indian Express, ABVP’s secretary for Ahmedabad city, Pravin Desai said, “We made a representation before AU Registrar B M Shah. We said that we want intellectuals in our educational institutes and not anti-nationals, who can also be termed as ‘urban Naxals’. We had quoted anti-national content from his(Guha’s) books to the Registrar. We told him, the person you are calling is a ‘Communist’. If he is invited to Gujarat, there would be a JNU-kind anti-national sentiment.”
The memorandum described Guha’s work as a “critical of India’s Hindu culture”. It also said that his writings have promoted alienation and divisive tendencies in the name of individual freedom. The memorandum also further alleged that it was because of literature like this that the universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University and Central University, Hyderabad have an atmosphere where there have been demands of releasing terrorists and separation of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian union.
“May spirit of Gandhi come alive once more in Gujarat”
Following the whole fiasco, Guha tweeted that he would not be joining the Ahmedabad University (AU), “due to circumstances” beyond his control.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I shall not be joining Ahmedabad University. I wish AU well; it has fine faculty and an outstanding Vice Chancellor. And may the spirit of Gandhi one day come alive once more in his native Gujarat.
— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) November 1, 2018
As a biographer of Gandhi, I argue with words, not weapons. I am willing to debate and dialogue with anybody, and fear nobody. It is for the good people of Ahmedabad (the Board of AU among them) to make this possible, and feasible.
— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) November 2, 2018
Commenting on the whole issue, while speaking to The Indian Express, AU Registrar said, “The university has no comment to make on this announcement. Even I got to know from the tweet. The Vice-Chancellor is out of the country. The university will look into how to take this development.”
However, a source on the condition of anonymity said if the university went ahead with the appointment of Guha despite the ABVP’s memorandum, it would have posed a great risk. The source also said that there was a threat to Guha.
The Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) has condemned “ABVP’s intimidation”. In a statement, NSUI said that Guha would have “ignited curious minds of students” at AU. They even alleged that the Modi government was backing attacks on people who stood in their way of “war on academic freedom”, as reported by Scroll.