Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University Controversy: Ban on Ambedkar Literature Sparks Outcry

Ambedkar Literature Ban , Dalit scholar Professor Lella Karunyakara
Photo: Social Media

Wardha : Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, located in Wardha, Maharashtra, has recently come under scrutiny for several controversial actions, sparking debates and criticisms. Among the contentious issues is the removal of Dalit scholar Professor Lella Karunyakara from the position of Vice Chancellor, allegedly due to his affiliation with the Ambedkarite ideology and his Dalit background, coupled with his education from JNU.

Controversial Decisions

The university’s Executive Council, prompted by a letter from the Union Ministry of Education, hastily convened an emergency meeting on April 23, 2024, resulting in the suspension of Professor Karunyakara. This move has drawn sharp criticism, with many accusing the government of succumbing to ideological biases rather than upholding academic integrity.

Additionally, the university administration, under the leadership of acting registrar Dr. Dharvesh Katheria, has taken further steps to stifle intellectual discourse by shutting down the Ambedkar Study Circle, which had been active for two years. This closure, ostensibly to prevent the dissemination of literature on Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar, has raised concerns about academic freedom and the suppression of marginalized voices.

Suppression of Ambedkarite Discourse

The decision to prohibit the reading of literature published by the Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra in front of the statue of Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar represents a blatant attempt to silence discussions on his writings and speeches. By targeting initiatives like the Ambedkar Study Circle and issuing show cause notices to teachers associated with it, the university administration has sent a chilling message to those advocating for Ambedkarite principles.

The transfer of Dr. Shailesh Marjikadam, the coordinator of the study circle, to a remote university center further underscores the administration’s efforts to quash dissent and marginalize proponents of progressive ideas. Despite the contributions of seven Ambedkarite Dalit professors in establishing the study circle, their voices are being systematically silenced, depriving the academic community of valuable perspectives.

Cultural Erasure and Ideological Imposition

In a disturbing trend, the university has also embarked on a campaign of cultural erasure by renaming hostels and hospitals after figures aligned with right-wing ideologies. The renaming of the hostel dedicated to Maharani Laxmibai of Jhansi and the hospital named after litterateur Gorakh Pandey exemplifies the government’s agenda to reshape educational institutions in its image.

Efforts to rename institutions after figures associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates reflect a concerted effort to promote a specific ideological narrative, while marginalizing voices that diverge from the government’s agenda. This ideological imposition not only undermines academic autonomy but also erases the contributions of historically significant figures.

Suppression of Ambedkarite Discourse

The controversy surrounding Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University underscores broader concerns about academic freedom, ideological bias, and the marginalization of dissenting voices in educational institutions. The suppression of Ambedkarite discourse and the erasure of cultural heritage raise alarming questions about the future of academic integrity and democratic values in India.

As stakeholders continue to voice their concerns and advocate for accountability, it is imperative that the principles of academic freedom and intellectual diversity are upheld. Only through open dialogue, inclusive governance, and a commitment to pluralism can universities fulfill their role as bastions of knowledge and enlightenment.


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