Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Dr Krishna Gopal’s remarks on Shrimanta Shankardeva and Dr Bhupen Hazarika have evoked strong reactions.
Expressing serious concern over Gopal’s comments, a team of Gauhati University Teachers’ Association (GUTA) led by its president Prof Archana Sarma met Vice Chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika on Sunday and appraised their displeasure over the incident.
RSS leader Gopal in a symposium organised by Intellectual Forum of Northeast at Gauhati University here on Saturday had said that Assam didn’t really feature in the creations of Shankardeva.
“Assam didn’t really feature in the creation of Shankardeva. He penned bhajans focusing on various parts of India,” Gopal, who hails from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, had said.
The absurdity of his remark didn’t cease here and he further claimed that Shankardeva’s famous couplet Kukura Shrigalo Gordovoro Atmaram is also a bhajan.
Also trying to establish Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s pan-Indian identity, he said that the Bard wrote songs about the Ganga.
He further had remarked that along with Gopinath Bordoloi, it was RSS leader Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, who played the key role in preventing Assam from being grouped with East Pakistan (later Bangladesh).
Renowned scholar Dr Hiren Gohain said that RSS is showing a tendency to control the educational institutions, which is a very alarming sign.
“We can’t allow such programmes to be held in Gauhati University and vitiate its atmosphere,” Dr Gohain told Northeast Now.
Regarding the claims of Krishna Gopal, the eminent scholar said, “I haven’t found any evidence to support them. There is no report of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee playing a major role in preventing grouping of Assam with East Pakistan. Of course, Gopinath Bordoloi opposed it and there were many renowned personalities of Assam doing so but Mookerjee was not one of them. RSS is trying to distort history by creating myths.”
Meanwhile, GUTA has drawn the attention of Vice Chancellor Hazarika over the frequent meetings and programmes organized in the university on behalf of different organizations, which ‘hampers the academic atmosphere’ of the university.
“The large-scale presence of police and security forces in the name of organizing such events is detrimental to the reputation and credibility of the university,” said GUTA.
GUTA also pointed out that certain events organized by some newly-established centres within the university having no substantive academic content have only invited unwarranted controversies.
Dr Nonigopal Mahanta, who is a professor in the Political Science Department of the university and is known for his proximity towards the RSS-backed right-wing party, however, tried to downplay the comments by saying that Gopal just expressed his opinion and if anyone disagrees, there is always room for debate and discussion.