An online civil society-sponsored petition has sough broad support stating that the university founded by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, is not living up to its historic legacy, as evident from events starting with January 2020, when police entered the campus for the first time in since independence to stop students from flying anti-CAA kites.
Asking, “Are we really following the legacy of MK Gandhi?”, and wondering if “we are practicing” the great historic legacy, in the current scenario”, the petition, forwarded as an email alert by Bhavesh Bariya, said, the “Vidyapith was founded for the purpose of service to the nation”, yet, “this pandemic crisis has shown the administrative apathy to this noble cause.”
It noted, “Some students had even suggested the administration department of Gujarat Vidyapith to allow temporary accommodation to migrants and offered to be volunteers for the cause when a chance arrived to serve them. Sadly, the administration officials opted to remain alien even for such human crisis issue by not even considering the matter.”
The petition comes close on the heels of the Gujarat government reportedly taking under its wings its tribal research centre, operating under the Vidyapeeth for the 58 years, and shifting it from its premises in Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar, the state capital, under the pretext that the university administration is unable to run it for the welfare of indigenous people.
Gujarat Vidyapith, founded by Mahatma Gandhi is celebrating its centenary year, and we are glad to have an academic degree from the historical university. We all know it’s great historic background. It had stood and fought against the British empire and immensely contributed to the freedom struggle. The university had actively taken part in Salt satyagraha of 1930.
The then registrar, Narhari Parikh had received lathi blows on his head while breaking the salt law and suffered paralysis for the rest of his life. The Vidyapith stopped functioning two times, during the civil disobedience movement from 1930 to 1935 and 1942 to 1945 in the quit India movement. One cannot feel less excited to be part of such an historic institute.
But things in Vidyapith have changed of late. On January 14, 2020, for the first time after independence, police entered the campus of Gujarat Vidyapith just because, some students were celebrating the Sankranti festival with civil society members and flying kites carrying slogans against the Citizens Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR).
Even Rajmohan Gandhi had said, “The CAA does not carry out our Mahatma’s wishes; it brazenly defies them.” The police came and inquired the students without any permission, but Vidyapith administration never answered the cause and kept silent throughout this unwelcome incident.The natural question often arises is why Gujarat Vidyapith administration prefers to keep mum on every injustices occurring in this dire time? When US president Donald Trump arrived to visit Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020, some civil dressed policemen secretly entered the hostel rooms of students at 3.00 am and took the students who were active in CAA protests, in their custody. This time too the administration remained silent.
Are we really following the legacy of MK Gandhi? On one hand, we have a great historical past but the question is directed at what we are practicing in the current scenario?
Gujarat Vidyapith was founded for the purpose of service to the nation. However, the pandemic crisis has shown apathy to this noble causeThe current administration of Gujarat Vidyapith is continuously avoiding any type of communication with the students of the institute since the pandemic has stricken the nation. Despite writing many a times to both official email address as well as personal email address of the incumbent officials, not a single response has been received by the students.
Let alone any type of personal help or consultation, the administration has even denied the issuance of library books even to the research scholars. There are many instances of students spending money out of their own pockets to cope with their study.
Undoubtedly, Gujarat Vidyapith was founded for the purpose of service to the nation. However, this pandemic crisis has shown the administrative apathy to this noble cause. Some students had even suggested the administration department of Gujarat Vidyapith to allow temporary accommodation to migrants and offered to be volunteers for the cause when a chance arrived to serve them. Sadly, the administration officials opted to remain alien even for such human crisis issue by not even considering the matter.
It just won’t come to understanding in which direction the administration wants to lead this precious and pious institute. It’s complacency of limiting itself to the works most suitable to an NGO is not invisible from the eyes of so many well wishers of this institute.
It is high time to draw attention to this internal crisis of Gujarat Vidyapith. The institute has failed to stand up to the pressing times in the hands of current administration officials. It failed to solve academic problems, failed to provide any help to the poor. Let alone be the lighthouse for society, it couldn’t address it’s own students issues. Therefore it’s high to draw attention to this miserable condition of Gujarat Vidyapith. Otherwise, the great man’s legacy will vanish soon.