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PUCL, May 2007

Open letter to the Vice-Chancellor- save the university from the fascist politics

[ See also, Fine arts faculty of M. S. University under siege ]

13 May 2007

The Vice-Chancellor
Dr. Manoj Soni
The M. S. University of Baroda

Dear Manojbhai,

I, Rohit Prajapati, ex-student of Faculty of Technology & Engineering, M. S. University of Baroda, am ashamed of Mr. Manojbhai Soni, the Vice Chancellor of the University. His behaviour is not like an academician or even an educationist. On the other hand he behaves like a feudal lord. I understand he was a Reader in the Political Science Department but his behaviour seems to me as a person still living in the feudal world.

Let me tell Mr. Manojbhai Soni that he is not sitting either in Parliament or the State Assembly as a spokesperson of Hindu fundamentalist forces, but he happens to be the Vice Chancellor of an educational institution. Let me remind him once again that he is not standing on street corner preparing for a gang-war.

I hope that University education teaches us that the rule of majority is not the democracy, but to protect the right to dissent is the real test of democracy. Democracy is not about showing the door to one who dares to ideologically disagree with your viewpoint. The right to dissent is an integral part of democracy.

Democracy is about granting the right to dissent from within the fold. It needs to air its divergent voices to breathe. A ban on dissent will weaken rather than strengthen democracy in whose name it is being sought to be imposed.

As an environmental activist I am against chemical fertilizers but we have never physically attacked the fertilizer companies, instead we have started a parallel campaign for organic farming among farmers and you can see our “Apna Dhaba” larri in front of “Macdonald” & “New York Pizza” in the Ellora Park Area. I am against TV but we have never attacked TV companies. Instead we are campaigning to promoting a reading culture. If I go by Mr. Manojbhai Soni’s feudal understanding, the whole thing can be turned upside down.

It is an unfortunate reality that fascism is an element of the modern era, which carries forward and integrates the all frightening elements of feudalism. I strongly feel that Mr. Manojbhai Soni is part of this school of thought, otherwise he would have organised a serious debate on the issue in the university.

It is the duty of educational institutions to educate students and people in general how to agree to disagree.

I would like to suggest to Mr. Manojbhai Soni that if he is not able to give justice to his post as Vice Chancellor he should leave the post and join the Hindu fundamentalist brigade so that he can give justice to his ideology rather trying to malign the educational institution’s ethics and value system.

As an ex-student of the university, I would like to suggest following things to him. The university should organise seminars on following topics and let’s have debate on many other such issues.

(a) “Democracy v/s Majoritarianism”.

(b) “Agree to Disagree”.

(c) “Right to disagree and methods of expressing the disagreement”

(d) “Feudalism, Capitalism & Fascism”.

(e) “Religions and Women’s rights as citizen”.

(f) “Art, Culture & Vulgarity”.

Rohit Prajapati, Ex-student of Faculty of Technology & Engineering, The M. S. University of Baroda

Copy to The Chancellor Dr. (Smt.) Mrunalini Devi Puar The M. S. University of Baroda Vadodara. mrunalinipuar@hotmail.com

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014