The agitation against the Muslim professor of Sanskrit by the alleged leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad at Banaras Hindu University, which is one of the most prestigious educational institutions of the country, is extremely unfortunate and against the national harmony and culture of India. Although the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is not officially leading this movement, but the leader of this movement is said to be associated with Chakrapani Ojha Vidyarthi Parishad.
If this is true, then their movement is even more unfortunate because Sanskrit Bharati, a subsidiary organization of the Sangh Parivar, is running a Sanskrit speaking and writing campaign in the country in which hundreds of Muslim youth are also participating.
Thousands of Muslim students are studying Sanskrit in the Saraswati Shishu temples run by it. However, this movement started in protest against the appointment of Feeroz Khan, a young talented student in the department, teaching Sanskrit religion in Banaras Hindu University will be narrow in every respect and is also against our Sanatan culture. Opposing Feeroz Khan’s appointment is, in fact, opposing nationalism. It is not our tradition to associate a language with religion.
Can Urdu literature be imagined without the story of foremost Hindi writer Munshi Premchand, Gopichand Narang, Raghupati Sahai Firaq, Rajendra Suri, Rajendra Singh Bedi and Gulzar? This movement is against all of them. It is also against Raskhan. It is also against Kabir. It is also against that Saraswati magazine which published the first Urdu story of Munshi Premchandra in 1915.
It is possible only in India that Urdu Persian literature is published in Saraswati magazine. It is also against the pride of our Madhya Pradesh Professor Azhar Hashmi, who gave the creation of ‘Ram Wala Hindustan’ to the Hindi world. Recently, Azhar Hashmi’s discourse on the Srimad Bhagwat Gita in Bhopal was shocking for the big Hindu pundits (scholars)! He was honourably made seated on the Vyaspeeth and he spoke on the Gita as if some famous Pandit of Banaras was speaking!
He speaks plenipotentiary on Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramcharitmanas, Smriti, Samhita, Quran Sharif and Guru Granth Sahib. When he interprets Sanatan religion, then it seems as if Sanskrit is his mother tongue! Such examples settled in India are our cultural identity of our country.
This movement of BHU has no justification nor has it stood on the test of the constitution. Therefore, it should immediately be ended without any delay. The famous American writer Mark Twain said in the nineteenth century, “Banaras is more ancient than history, older than tradition and earlier than myths.” If history, tradition and myth are combined, Banaras seems to be more ancient.
But now Banaras has become new. The students of this new Banaras are not pleased that any Feeroz Khan could teach them Sanskrit. They are adamant that Feeroz Khan is a Muslim and how a Muslim can teach Sanskrit? How can a Muslim teach Gita and Vedas? On November 5, Feeroz was interviewed for the post Assistant Professor in BHU’s Sanskrit Vidhya Dharma Vigyan. He was selected in the interview and got the appointment letter on November 6.
Chakrapani Ojha, who is leading this protest, says Feeroz Khan’s Sanskrit reading and teaching is not a problem. There are two Sanskrit divisions here. One is the Sanskrit Department and the other is Sanskrit Vidhya Dharma Vigyan. If Feeroz Khan was appointed in Sanskrit department, we did not have any problem, but here religion is taught. How will he teach religion? Secondly, Feeroz Khan’s appointment is a violation of University Act. It is clearly written in the University Act that only Sanatan people can come in theology. However, the appointment of Feeroz Khan is not against the University Act at all.
University administration has followed both rules and conventions in this regard. Not only university but most of the Hindi authors of Banaras are also supporting Feeroz Khan, the media is also writing in their favour, so this movement of a small narrow minded student group should end without any delay.
If any rule has been violated in the appointment of Feeroz Khan then protesting students can approach the court, but opposing a Muslim student only on the basis of religion is a mischief like communal incitement. It is condemnable. In the context of the Ayodhya verdict, when it has been proved that most of the Muslims of the country want to live together peacefully, this movement is even more unfortunate. The Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh should take initiative in this matter and make the agitation ended.