Merit should be the criterion of appointment
T Satisan, Kochi
When Mahatma Gandhi (MG) University Vice Chancellor Dr AV George announced the inception of Swami Vivekananda Chair, in connection with the sesquicentennial birthday of Swami Vivekananda, no one thought that it is going to invite the wrath of such a powerful religious and political lobby in the State. But, it happened. Campus Front, the student wing of SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India, an Islamic movement known for its extremist views and stands) agitated, not against the Chair, but against the appointment of Prof. OM Mathew as the chairman of the Chair. They alleged that Mathew is a known BJP leader and was a parliamentary candidate in 1996.
After hectic searches and enquiries VC found that Prof. Mathew is the best bet for assigning the charge of Vivekananda Chair. Mathew had taught under MG Varsity for several years. He had led the academic affairs of the Varsity for years together as a member of the Board of Studies. He was the HoD of Political Science in Baselius College, Kottayam and Faculty Dean in Sanskrit University, Kalati. He has been researching on the comparisons among world religions for the last several years. His studies were boiled down into an authentic work and the book was published and released from Bengaluru last year. Prof Mathew has studied Vivekananda seriously and gathered the scholarship and expertise in communicating the same to others.
In Kerala, intellectual terrorism of Islamic extremists (and Marxists) are unparalleled. MG Varsity is a citadel of these sorts of forces since long. School of Social Science Reader Dr PS Gireesh was always under the attacks of pro Left trade unionists. Former VC Dr VN Rajasekharan Pillai had to face the same embarrassment. If Mathew had opted to enjoy the emoluments and to sit back, no one would have objected to the Chair or Mathew. But, he, with the help of his disciples, friends, relatives and people belonging to his school of thoughts, organised a fantastic library at place allotted by the Varsity; all sans accepting a single penny from the varsity. It was scheduled to be inaugurated by Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice Chancellor of the Vivekananda University, Beloor. Queen Lakshmi Bai of Travancore Palace, a writer and thinker who had made several initiatives towards social reformation was supposed to preside over. Mathew’s modus operandi was faster than the Vivekananda Chair launched in Chicago Varsity. The library was expected to be inaugurated on the September 3. He accomplished all these tasks remaining a powerful activist of Sangh Parivar despite being an ardent, practising Christian.
It has been a practice in Kerala to embarrass and disturb and ultimately make inactive the people, who lead dynamic life in conformity with the nationalistic school of thoughts despite their age and health. So far no political party, except BJP, has come out and denounced Campus Front’s fanatic attack on Vivekananda Chair and its chairman. Because, Kerala is under a peculiar political atmosphere where main stream parties compete with each other to appease minority communalism. Therefore, jihadi agenda makes a cakewalk in MG University and Kerala State. Obviously the library was not inaugurated. And, it looks like the scheduled inauguration of the Chair is going to be an unlikely reality.
Bharathiya Vichara Kendram (BVK) Organising Secretary KaBa Surendran told Organiser: “When Mathew Sir organised a wonderful library within a month of his appointment, that too without accepting any money from the varsity, they realised that Chair is going to be a serious affair. And, when Sangh Parivar organisations like ABVP, BVK and Vidyabhyasa Samrakshana Samithi (VSS) came out with all out support to Prof. Mathew they could not tolerate it. Then comes the announcement of the inauguration by Swami Atmapriyananda. So, Muslim organisations thought that this is going to be a projection of Hindutwa forces, read Sangh Parivar.” Surendran added that Quran Seminar was conducted in Kerala University campus twice during the last few years and foreign Islamic scholars participated in the programme; still no secularists objected.
Former Calicut Varsity VC and reputed writer and historian Dr TK Raveendran says that the opposition to the Chair is meaningless. Several political personalities had been appointed in various positions in the universities of Kerala during CPM regime. He cited the name of Dr B Iqbal, former VC of MG varsity, who was a CPM member and a worker before, during and after his tenure. TP Sudhakaran, a famous academician, said that there is carefully orchestrated plans to keep right persons away from the right positions.
A Vinod, State convener of VSS and BVK State Committee Member, told that there is attempt to kill the Vivekananda Chair. Universities should select people for eminent positions after considering their merit.
Interestingly not a single political party of either UDF or CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has expressed their protests about Campus Front agitation. Because, they all are for vote-bank of organised Muslims. Even though Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which claims themselves as a secular party and always pretending to be against the communal designs of SDPI, is silent in this regard. Congress is mum. CPM, despite using Vivekananda Swamiji’s hoardings for their political motives has not uttered a word against Campus Front.