In a strong show of support, RSS’s affiliate Samskrit Bharati has come out in support of Dr Firoze Khan and urged the protesting students to go back to their classes. The Sangh affiliate, in a show of solidarity, has asked Khan to “fearlessly make his contributions at the University.”
Saying deliberate misconceptions are being spread over the issue, Samskrit Bharati in a statement said, “Banaras Hindu University’s Samskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan Faculty also has several departments such as Literature, Grammar, Dharma Shastra, Ved and others. What is wrong with a Muslim teaching Literature? Some people are spreading wrong information in the media that Dr Firoze Khan will be teaching Vedic rituals and performing Yagyas.”
Seeking to clear the meaning of Dharma, Samskrit Bharati said ‘dharma’ doesn’t mean religion but law, in true sense. “At various times there have been various constitutions for the smooth functioning of the society. Today they are known as ‘smriti’. The ‘smriti’ are studied in the ‘Dharma Shastra’ subject. According to the modern vocabulary, Dharma Shastra may be translated as Law,” said the statement.
BHU students protesting against the appointment of a Muslim professor in the Sanskrit department called off their dharna on Friday evening. The students, however, said they will not attend classes or take examinations. They have given 10-day time to the administration to accept their demands.
BHU was rocked by controversy after students at the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan (SVDV) of the University started protesting against the appointment of Dr Feroz Khan as an Assistant Professor on the grounds that he would not be able to teach ‘karma kand’ (rituals) since he was a non-Hindu.
The BHU administration had maintained all along that Khan’s appointment was according to rules set by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and there was no question of removing him. Now with backing from the RSS affiliate, it is expected the row will be over.