Banaras Hindu University
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VARANASI: Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has become the first university in the country to introduce “Hindu dharma” in its regular curriculum. The university has started a postgraduate course in Hindu studies, university authorities said, claiming that this is the first such course offered by any university in the country.
The course offered by BHU’s faculty of arts will be conducted at Bharat Adhyayan Kendra, a centre established in the centenary year of the university, in collaboration with the departments of philosophy and religion, Sanskrit and ancient Indian history, culture and archaeology. Bharat Adhyayan Kendra coordinator professor Sadashiv Kumar Dwivedi said 45 students, including a foreigner, have been enrolled in the first batch of this two-year course. The course is of four semesters, with 16 papers. “It took more than a century to begin such a course in the university after its establishment in 1914,” Dwivedi said.
The course was inaugurated by the rector, professor VK Shukla. “The course is an interdisciplinary programme, which is in line with the New Education Policy 2020,” Shukla said, adding that the beginning of this course symbolises innovation.
Addressing the programme, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts director, Vijay Shankar Shukla, underlined the need for such courses on Hindu studies. “The idea behind this goes back to the 18th century scholar Pt Ganganath Jha and travels through time to Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya. However, the link was broken for some reason. But with this course, the goal appears to have been achieved.”
Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, and centenary chair professor at Bharat Adhyayan Kendra, Kamlesh Dutt Tripathi, who chaired the programme, highlighted the values and mantra of unity that are core to the Hindu dharma. He added that one cannot separate Hindu dharma from being constantly logical and scientific.
The speakers at the function called upon scholars to come forward and preserve the ‘sanatana parampara’. They said that the course is important for building ‘sanatana’ life values. They also spoke about what they saw as the scientific aspect of the Gayatri Mantra.
2015: Michel Danino’s dissent on appointments of HODs
Alleged Dissent Was Not Appreciated, Kept Hidden From HRD
Skeletons are tumbling out of the Banaras Hindu University's closet. A leaked letter from a top IIT professor has revealed how he resigned over random appointments of department heads at BHU, a year-and-half ago, but his dissent was kept hidden from the HRD ministry .
On November 3, 2015, French scholar and IIT Gandhinagar faculty Michel Danino, wrote to BHU vicechancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi that raising objections at the executive council “is not an easy exercise“.
His letter reveals how the method of top appointments never figured in the EC meetings. “While I appreciate your point, you will kindly understand that raising objections to minutes of EC meetings is not an easy exercise. When a simple matter -for instance, the appointment of the head of a centre or an institute or university -is recorded in the minutes with pages of quasi-language, which never figured in the discussions, and when the actual discussions go unreported, it is difficult to raise a query,“ the letter said.
The letter further read: “Consider also the matter of appointment of a director of institute of medical sciences. It was recorded that the consideration of the item be deferred, and the agenda be brought back again with more details. But I remember no such decision being agreed upon... the applica tions would be invited and precise academic criteria of competence spelt out or at least assessed.“
“The above is only by way of illustration. However, I do not feel I can contribute positively to BHU's administration. I request you to kindly accept my resignation. I assure you that I will not cease to be a friend and well-wisher of this very special university .“
It was not Danino alone who raised objections to the way Tripathi was running EC meetings. Another EC member Prof Jagmohan Singh Rajput, former NCERT chief, only last November wrote two damning missives to VC, expressing regret over the way Tripathi would call meetings on key agendas at short notice and ask them to clear promptly .
“Esteemed sir, I have already indicated my position in my mail referred to in your letter. Incidentally , the hard copy of the agenda was received at my place only on Nov 5, 2016. I do not possess needed skills to take a view on crucial issues by merely going through the soft copy.EC in my opinion is most important body of university.To meet the quorum cannot be consideration in organising its meeting at 7 pm.“
Days before this mail, he had written another mail to Tripathi on November 4, saying “I spoke to registrar Dr K P Upadhyay, suggesting that EC meetings require more time, hence must begin in the forenoon. I'm surprised it commences at 7pm.“
‘Lanketing:' ogling women
Students Say BHU Campus Unsafe
The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) vice-chancellor has justified curbs on women students' movement outside the campus citing threats to safety in public spaces, but women students say men have harassed them just outside their residence halls as well, claims that raise questions about safety on the premises as well.
The roots of the unsafe en vironment for women lie in how sexual harassment has, over time, been institutionalised around campus and in Varanasi. BHU is arguably the only university in India with a unique term for harassment of women -`lanketing'.
The term is derived from the name of a market near BHU's iconic Singh Dwar gate.Lanka market, which has a lot of cafes and restaurants frequented by students, sees local youths on bikes cruising the area, following women and harassing them. The trisection outside BHU's only women's college, Mahila Mahavidyalaya, also has men loitering around and harassing students. Such behaviour has led to frequent clashes between students and these locals.
Women say they feel unsafe at the market. “We get a male friend to come along every time we go to the market.The risk of a stranger accosting us or passing remarks always exists,“ said Sakshi Malik, a BA student. Other students said they have not reported such harassment on several occasions fearing victim shaming.