CPI(M) Condemns UGC Directive On Constitution Day Celebrations

UGC Directive On Constitution

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday criticised a communication sent by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to all the governors asking them to encourage higher education institutions in their respective states to organise lectures on the theme “India: the mother of democracy” on ‘Constitution Day’ — celebrated on November 26.

The communication sent on Thursday, also had a concept note prepared by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) that states: “there was no aristocracy in India like say in Greece. The Hindu state rarely presented that high degree of centralization associated with the Roman empire.”

The CPI(M) lashed out at the missive on Friday saying that it was “a negation of the reality of Varnashram and the caste-based social hierarchy that is a major challenge in the evolution of our modern democracy.”

The democratic system of India has evolved over the ages. There are ample pieces of evidence, right from the Vedic period, that emphasize the democratic tradition of India. In order to celebrate Indian democracy, it has been decided that all universities in the country should organize lectures on the theme ‘India: the mother of democracy’ on November 26, 2022.

The UGC’s Letter, Sent By Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar, Said:

I request you to kindly encourage all universities in the state to organise lectures on November 26, 2022, on the above-given theme and celebrate Indian democracy,” Kumar wrote.

The letter also enclosed the concept note that mentions some suggested sub-themes for lectures — Rigveda and roots of Bhartiya loktantrika-parampara; Upanishads and Parishad; local institutions/khaps and loktantrika-parampara; Dharma-Sutras and loktantra; and Bhakti and democratic traditions.

According to the concept note, the key difference that separates “Bharat” from other ancient civilizations is that there was “no concentration of the prestige of birth, influence of wealth and political office which made social organizations autocratic and aristocratic”.

One of the most profound ideas in ancient Indian political philosophy is that power or the office of the king is only a trust,” it states.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Kumar was negating constitutional requirements with the move. “This is in direct contravention of the framework of our Constitution, as well as, statutory provisions of the UGC Act as enacted by the Parliament,” he said in a statement.

The UGC chairperson negates the Constitutional requirement of democratic consultation with the elected state governments in the sphere of higher education and has directly approached the unelected RSS-BJP appointed governors to pursue this agenda. This exposes the real objective of the National Education Policy of using education as an instrument for destroying scientific temper and rationality while undermining the foundations of our Constitution,” he said.

Kumar did not respond to the allegations but said about the lectures: “It will help the young generation understand the values and outcomes of democracy in order to make India’s democracy more modern and empowered.”

Meanwhile, in coordination with the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), UGC is also organizing lectures on similar themes in 45 central universities and 45 Deemed to be Universities across the country between November 15 and November 30.

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