After ABVP protests, Historian Ramachandra Guha to not teach at Ahmedabad Uni

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: November 2, 2018

On Thursday, Guha tweeted he will not be joining the University as a professor due to “circumstances beyond my control.” ABVP submitted a memorandum to AU claiming that Guha was a “communist” and if he is invited to Gujarat, it would cause a “JNU-kind anti-national sentiment.

Ahmedabad: “A biographer of Gandhi cannot teach a course on Gandhi in Gandhi’s own city,” said renowned historian and biographer Ramachandra Guha, after it was reported that he will not be joining Ahmedabad University (AU) as a professor. The decision to rescind his offer came from AU when ABVP protested his appointment and called him anti-national.

On October 16, it was reported that Guha will join as the Shrenik Lalbhai Chair Professor of Humanities and Director of the Gandhi Winter School at the Ahmedabad University's School of Arts and Sciences. He was to join the institute on January 1, 2019.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining the faculty of Ahmedabad University. I am impressed by the University's interdisciplinary approach, its mix of sagacious older and superb younger faculty, and its visionary leadership... I have known and loved Ahmedabad ever since my first visit there 40 years ago; to now return, to teach and work in the city where Mahatma Gandhi made his home and nurtured the freedom movement, excites me beyond measure,” Guha had then said.
On Thursday he tweeted he will not be joining the University as a professor due to “circumstances beyond my control.”

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS, staged protests against his appointment and demanded that the University rescind the offer. Three days after the University made the announcement, the ABVP submitted a memorandum to the registrar of the University claiming that Guha was a “communist” and if he is invited to Gujarat, it would cause a “JNU-kind anti-national sentiment,” the Indian Express report said.
A letter by ABVP was accessed by Scroll and it said that days after AU made Ramachandra Guha’s appointment public on October 16, ABVP threatened the institution with a “radical movement” if the historian continued with “anti-national activities” after joining.
The ABVP’s letter to the university’s vice chancellor was written on October 19.
“The letter sought the cancellation of Guha’s appointment with immediate effect “in the interest of education and the nation”. The outfit’s city secretary, Pravin Desai, described Guha as a “so-called historian” and a “directionless person”, and claimed that his books and articles “have proven to be destroying Hindu culture and disintegrating the nation”. The writings had “strengthened the activities of national disintegration, reckless behaviour in the name of personal freedom, freeing of terrorists, [and] freedom of Jammu and Kashmir” on campuses such as Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad Central University, Desai said. “To appoint someone controversial like Dr Ramchandra Guha, who has dislike or contempt for our ancient great nation, our best democratic system, best Indian culture accepted by the world...what lessons of humanity will he teach to students is a grave question,” he wrote,” the report said.
“We came to know of Guha’s decision only through his tweet,” Ahmedabad University registrar BM Shah told Mirror. “Our vice-chancellor Pankaj Chandra is currently travelling”, he said. University sources confirmed that Guha had already started designing a multi-disciplinary curriculum also. At least six academicians Mirror spoke to say that Guha’s assignment was following ‘pressure from Right Wing,’” reported Ahmedabad Mirror.
“If such persons will co-operate with anti-national activities and activities for the disintegration of India with the help of your institution, Vidyarthi Parishad will lead radical movement against your institution and you will be solely responsible for it,” Desai told the vice chancellor.
“We made a representation before AU Registrar B M Shah. We said that we want intellectuals in our educational institutes and not anti-nationals, who can also be termed as ‘urban Naxals’. We had quoted anti-national content from his (Guha’s) books to the Registrar. We told him, the person you are calling is a ‘Communist’. If he is invited to Gujarat, there would be a JNU-kind anti-national sentiment,” he said in the report by Indian Express.
The memorandum is addressed to the Vice-Chancellor and demands cancellation of Guha’s appointment. It describes his work as “critical of India’s Hindu culture”. “His such writings have encouraged divisive tendencies, alienation in the name of independence of the individual, freeing terrorists in the name of independence of the individual, and separating Jammu and Kashmir from the Indian union, in well known universities like Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Central University, Hyderabad,” the memorandum states as reported by IE.
On October 16, announcing Guha’s appointment, VC Chandra had said in a statement: “With the interest in liberal education gaining impetus in India, Dr Guha will bring his interpretation of history including environmental, political, contemporary and even cricket history to develop interesting and powerful programmes and research that stand at the confluence of various disciplines. Equally important, his presence will help the University build our own dialogue around (Mahatma) Gandhi.”

“Guha’s announcement that he will not be able to take up the teaching assignment in Ahmedabad comes hours after he had tweeted that with his megalomaniac ambitions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was closer to Emperor Bokassa. Bokassa was a self-proclaimed emperor of Central Africa known for his brutality, outrageous extravaganza, human rights violation and megalomania. Emperor Bokassa, who died in 1996, had special economic relationship with France which was alleged to have struck friendship with the poor Central African regime’s dictatorial emperor for its diamonds and uranium,” Mirror reported.

Ahmedabad University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programmes in areas including engineering, business management, science and the humanities. The university was set up in 2009 by the 83-year-old Ahmedabad Education Society.