Thursday, January 9, 2020

Education in India - Universities and .. .. .. violence inside campus


Indian history needs to be rewritten and read in a totally different perspective – for colonialism and communism has sought to taint our glorious past.  The first wrong notion ingrained in the minds of modern generation is – the British gave us the knowledge, the modern education system.  Buried deep is the fact that there were fountains of knowledge in most places of India, from Kancheepuram to Nalanda, the great Universities – Vallabhi, Takshashila, Vikramshila – the Sangam literature of Tamil land – all thrived thousands of years ago ! and thousands of years ago before the British East India Company set its wrong foot on our soil.  Do you know of a Railway station that has ‘Bakthi’ in its name, but has no connection with Bakths or with Hinduism ? – in fact is the opposite !

Nalanda was initially a prosperous village by a major trade route that ran through the nearby city of Rajagriha (modern Rajgir) which was then the capital of Magadha. Gautama Buddha too is said to have delivered lectures in a nearby mango grove named Pavarika and one of his two chief disciples, Shariputra, was born in the area and later attained nirvana there.  Nalanda is associated with Mahaveera also. The establishment of ancient Nalanda as an undisputed seat of learning was a historical consequence of its context. Ancient Magadha was characterized by an intellectual ferment unlike any known to humanity. The ability to meld multiple discourses and embrace knowledge in its entirety is what made Nalanda uniquely attractive for all seekers of knowledge. The profound knowledge of Nalanda’s teachers attracted scholars from places as distant as China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, and South East Asia.  Thus, when the former President of India, the Hon’ble Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam mooted the idea of reviving the ancient Nalanda University while addressing the Bihar State Legislative Assembly in March 2006, the first step towards realizing the dream of reinventing the old Nalanda had been taken. Sadly, there are some Universities which are in news for wrong reasons always and are the hot-bed of anti-social, anti-national activities.

It is not simply past History of thousands of years – in recent centuries too, there had been many seats of excellence.  Presidency University, Kolkata, formerly known as Hindoo College and Presidency College is centuries old.  The College was formally opened in 1817 with 20 'scholars'. The foundation committee was headed by Raja Rammohan Roy. The first Governors of the college were Maharaja Tejchandra Bahadur of Burdwan and Gopee Mohan Thakoor. Another college, Serampore College is nearly 200 years old – there are 19 oldest Indian universities that are over centuries old. 

After centuries of learning, now with the British ingrained Educational institution, student violence has become a serious issue for the universities and colleges of India as the political rivalries runs riot.  Going by the news reports, the student protests in campuses like the Jawaharlal Nehru University runs into violence many a times. The issue is a bit more serious in southern states like Kerala where some students even resort to attacking the teachers and principals of the colleges.  Recently, Jamia Millia Islamia University turned into a battlefield after students, who wanted to march to Parliament House to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, clashed with Police.

There is another oft-repeated wrong Q – the role of Police – and the rule that they require the permission of Principal / Chancellor to enter the Education premises ! ~ ridiculous – when there is a crime in a Society, why should the Law Enforcing Agency seek any permission for taking action against goons and criminals, in the garb of students !! ~ those who have been residing in the premises for decades ?

Within a month – Police have been blamed by urban naxals, once for entering the premises and then for not entering !  -  now facing flak over their passive role outside the gates of JNU on Sunday when goons were on the rampage inside, and amidst allegations that those who attacked students had been allowed to get away, Delhi Police tried to do damage control on Monday. An FIR was filed and the police chief assigned the investigation to the crime branch.  The police said they had received written permission from the university registrar to enter the main campus only at 7.45pm though they had reached the administrative block by 7 pm. The JNU administration had claimed in a statement earlier that the violence had broken around 4.30pm and they had “immediately” called the police.  There was the inexplicable delay of 3 hours ! it is reported that Police reached the university and waited for permission even as the violence escalated. There have been photos and scoffs of  students  seen with bandaged heads, plastered legs and hands – one photo showed the same photo with different injuries and another showed a bandage over scarf !

The libertads once accused Police of  using excessive force on students and entering the university without permission – the table has turned and now the same partial section of media blames Police for waiting for orders. The Delhi Police rejected the charge of reaching the Jawaharlal Nehru University.  Holding a press conference, Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa said, "We have responded to PCR calls, and law-and-order situation professionally."

A day after the JNU violence, Congress distanced itself from a person who was posting messages on a WhatsApp group allegedly involved in planning the attack.  A main press media reported that  Google search mentioned the phone number as that of a vendor hired by Congress. But the party tweeted on Monday that Anand Manganle was associated with it earlier. “The SM (social media) team of INC had hired the services of several private vendors to run the crowdfunding campaign for a limited period before Lok Sabha elections after which it was discontinued. The number belonged to a vendor and has nothing to do with INC,” Congress said. Manganle took to Facebook to claim that he had “infiltrated” the WhatsApp group to remain alert about ABVP’s plans and save the students. He also requested people not to “harass” Congress for his action. Manganle, whose Twitter handle was suspended on Monday for rumour mongering and inciting violence, posted a screenshot of his Tweet on Facebook.

Way back in Nov 2008 an unsavoury incident took place in Madras Law College.  There were awful photos in the newspapers the next day and there was gory footage in local TV channels as well – there was the scene of a boy wielding a knife and then a group of others thrashing him and some others,  and clubbing them with sticks and other weapons even after the boy seemingly dropped dead..  -  all this happened in full view of press cameramen, public and some police.   Police entered the campus after obtaining a complaint from the college Principal.  An altercation over printing of a pamphlet to mark the  celebrations of a particular leader was reported to have ignited the clashes.  For about half an hour, armed youths went on the rampage.

Ever wondered the fall of the great knowledge seat of Nalanda and do you know how is it named now ?

In around 1193 CE, Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, a Turkic chieftain was in the service of a commander in Awadh. Khalji was assigned two villages on the border of Bihar which had become a political no-man's land. Sensing an opportunity, he began a series of plundering raids into Bihar and was recognised and rewarded for his efforts by his superiors.  It was recorded that Muhammad-i-Bakhtyar, by the force of his intrepidity, threw himself into the postern of the gateway of the place, and they captured the fortress, and acquired great booty. The greater number of the inhabitants of that place were Brahmans, and the whole of those Brahmans had their heads shaven; and they were all slain. There were a great number of books there;  the looter  Khilji destroyed the ancient Nalanda University and set fire to the library that contained 9 million manuscripts!  Tabaqat-i Nasiri mentions how thousands of monks were burnt alive &thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to plant Islam by the sword.  Sad, sad were the killings, none seem to remember now.

The Railway station is named - Bakhtiyarpur Junction,  in the Danapur railway division of East Central Railway. Bakhtiyarpur is connected to metropolitan areas of India, by the Delhi-Kolkata Main Line via Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction-Patna route. A station named after the plunderer .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Jan 2019.
pics from twitter : source unknown to me. 

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