On February 7, an event organised by the Revolutionary Students League at OP Jindal Global University in Haryana sparked widespread outrage. Despite concerns raised prior to the event, attendees were witness to anti-Hindu rhetoric, problematic readings, and alarming calls for the destruction of temples.
The event, titled “Ram Mandir: A Farcical Project of Brahmanical Hindutva Fascism,” purported to be a public discussion. Organisers of the event asserted that the January 22nd ceremony, which marked the Pran Pratishtha of Ram Lalla at the grand mandir in Ayodhya, exposed what they described as the inherent violence and anti-people nature of the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist state. They argued that the concept of the Ram Mandir has become synonymous with hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims and Dalits across India, alongside a broader trend of saffronisation within educational institutions.
The Revolutionary Students League, previously known as Sangharsh, was the group behind the event. Attendees were encouraged to familiarise themselves with “Fight Brahmanical Hindutva Fascism” by Varavara Rao, a recommended reading provided in the event brochure which is highly controversial if we go by it’s content.
The event’s content and messaging have ignited a fierce debate within academic and social circles, with many condemning the inflammatory rhetoric and calls for temple destruction. As reactions continue to pour in, the university administration faces mounting pressure to address the fallout from this controversial gathering.
If we look at the text it starts as, “The killings of Mohammad Akhlaq, Prof. M M Kalburgi, and Yakub Memon have come to symbolise in many ways the prevailing situation in the country under Modi-led BJP-rule Akhlaq was bludgeoned to death at his Dadri home in September by a lynch mob that was instigated, mobilised and led by a bunch of Sanghi goons after maliciously spreading the rumour of beef-eating.”
It continued, “Prof. Kulbargi was shot dead by unidentified Hindutva-fascist assassins because of his consistent and irrepressible opposition to their designs in Karnataka. Memon was hanged this July in Nagpur jail after his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts in a travesty of justice. For the self-appointed gendarmes of the ‘Hindu Rashtra’, to eat something of one’s choice is anti-national, to voice dissent is anti-national, to be even the brother of a Muslim who is accused of so-called anti-national activities is anti-national- ‘crimes’ that are punishable by death according to the Manuvadi Hindutva-fascists. “
The article further said, “Whether the execution is carried out judicially by the state or by any of the numerous murderous gangs raised by the hydra-headed RSS, it makes little difference to the person at the receiving end. These killings (and those of Govind Phansade and Narendra Dabholkar earlier) are but a few of the more talked-about incidents in what has become a continuous barrage of attacks carried out in many forms by the Hindutva-fascists across the country”.
It added, “Particularly since the BJP government came to power, such attacks are taking place almost on a daily basis. Though termed by some as ‘intolerance’, this is part of an all-round attack by the Brahmanical Hindu fascist forces against the people, affecting all spheres of their lives. “
“These attacks are simultaneously ideological, political, social, religious, ethnic, economic, cultural, juridical, and environmental—carried out with violent and non-violent, legal and illegal, constitutional and extra-constitutional means,” reads the article.
As per the author, on the target of Hindutva forces are all kinds of dissent and non-submissiveness, particularly the fighting organisations and individuals—revolutionary, democratic, secular, and patriotic—as well as Muslims and Christians, Dalits and Adivasis, women and people of other oppressed genders, oppressed nationalities, and even sections of the parliamentary opposition.
It concluded, “In fact, anyone who refuses to fall in line with their Hindutva agenda or opposes their fascist diktats is a potential target. Indeed, at a time like this when the assault of the Hindutva fascists is becoming increasingly conspicuous in all spheres of society and the state, one cannot be faulted for wondering if a vast section of our people are already made to live in the shadows of a veritable ‘Hindu Rashtra’.”
This is not the first time that OP Jindal Global University in Haryana has found itself embroiled in controversy; there have been many anti-national and anti-Hindu events organised in past. Most recently, the Haryana Police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Professor Sameena Dalwai, alleging harassment of students and privacy violations. The incident revolves around accusations of Dalwai displaying students’ profiles on a dating app within a classroom setting.
Organiser reported in September, how Dalwai allegedly accessed a student’s Bumble dating app account during a class session, subsequently projecting it onto a Smart TV for all students to see. Video footage and screenshots shared on social media platforms depicted the professor discussing the dating account in detail, purportedly belonging to one of the students. It’s reported that when students declined to reveal their profiles, Dalwai encouraged them to create fake identities, even suggesting the use of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s image.
Additionally, on November 1, the university hosted a lecture titled ‘The History and Politics of the Palestinian Present’ by Professor Achin Vanaik, a retired professor of International Relations and former Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi. However, controversy arose as video clips from the lecture surfaced, revealing alleged antisemitic and anti-Hindu remarks made by Vanaik. Criticisms were also directed at Vanaik for criticising the Modi government’s stance on the conflict in Palestine.
Similarly, on February 8, 2023, JGU’s professors and students organised a screening of the BBC’s two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question,” which has been banned in India. The documentary has faced criticism for being perceived as biased against India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the BBC’s perspective being evident.
In 2021, Prof Shruti Pandey, an Associate Professor at JGLS, made comments during an online lecture, stating, “My professor Upendra Baxi, who taught in the law school, used to say that every Hindu practices untouchability… Initially, when he said that, I didn’t think so… But it is true, guys. Go back and look at yourself and how you practice untouchability in quiet, invisible ways that we don’t even understand.” She continued to assert that every Hindu practices untouchability and alleged that Hinduism exists due to untouchability.
While she maintained her position on untouchability within Hinduism, she publicly praised Islam and its acceptance of widow remarriage. She mentioned, “We know that this is definitely something where Hinduism has a special rule because widow remarriage is much more acceptable in Islam. And sorry for those of you who believe that Islam is an inferior religion because this is one of the ways in which it shows that it is not.”
In another incident, JGU’s Prof. Arijeet Ghosh, an Assistant Professor at JGLS, expressed his separatist views in an online lecture in 2021. He stated, “Yes, it has never happened and that is why Kashmir always remains a contentious issue… And if you want my opinion, I call Jammu and Kashmir to be India-occupied-Kashmir although India tries to say it is Indian territory and Indian-administered-Kashmir. I’ll definitely think it is an aspect of occupation, which is what Kashmiris also say.”
He further commented, “I am not going into that, it is an emotive issue, right? We see Sunny Deol screaming on the border saying ‘doodh mangoge to kheer denge, Kashmir mangoge to Cheer denge’… There is a lot of emotional aspect to Kashmir, and hence I am not going into that.”
On February 27, 2020, Left-liberal ideologues at JGU organised a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the flagpole area, displaying derogatory posters with statements like “mere room me suttee hai, Modi-Shah kutte hain,” giving it an anti-BJP, anti-RSS spin.
While the nation was mourning after the attacks of February 14, 2019, where 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives in Pulwama, the students at JGU called for a candlelight march. Notably, on February 18, a candlelight vigil was held at JGU’s flagpole to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Pulwama attacks…….