I have missed the controversy about the AK Ramanujan essay but thanks to Chandra I've now had a quick look.
It appears that the Hindu Taliban (in this case ABVP, the student arm of Modi and Advani) had bashed up the head of department of history at Delhi University, Dr S Z H Jafri, in his office. [Source]
We know that Modi is a Hindu fanatic who staunchly opposes freedom of speech. Advani, of course, is the one who directly influenced the killings of thousands across India through his Babri Masjid "exploits".
Given these "eminent" people are the major leaders of BJP, no wonder its student wing is actively involved in hooliganism.
As a result of their combined efforts it appears now that the essay – which is a critical ACADEMIC review of the ACTUAL diversity of the Ramayana – is being prohibited from being taught in the Delhi University.
Now, you will argue (at a technical level) that this is a Delhi University, not BJP decision. But remember, facsism always starts this way – with ruffians beating up people, and then a few academics supporting intolerance.
I've seen terror grow in leaps and bounds in Assam when the ULFA started beating up people. Just a few beatings are enough to dampen all open discourse. Germany's history of fascism is A VERY STRONG testament to this aspect of human nature. Freedom is a very fragile flower.
Hitler found a useful bunch of academic cronies and Christian priests to bolster his case against the Jews. It appears that one of the (guaranteed to be Hindu) "experts" commissioned by DU is speaking EXACTLY like the recent case of Hindu fanatics in Australia (re: the Ganesha play about which I've written a lot).
This fascist academic has reportedly written: "Epic personalities are divine characters and showing them in bad light is not easily tolerated" (Source).
That, along with the bashing of the senior history academic, was what must have scared the wits out of the DU, which has pulled this essay.
These are not simple matters. These are becoming SERIOUS threats to liberty in India.
First these people beat up a senior academic. Then they OPENLY preach intolerance.
They also suggest that the essay is “bound to affect the sensibilities of impressionable minds”[Source]. But we are talking about BA Hons students – children WELL into their adulthood.
Are we supposed to never let people grow up in India?
If these adults can't handle history and its analysis, and learn to think CRITICALLY, then what kind of moral and intellectual pygmies do we want to create in this (once) great land of Charvaka and Vedanta?
India clearly needs liberty more than anything else.
Please join or otherwise support FTI, or expect liberty to be soon lost – even further – in India.
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