Is the Hasty PhD Award to ABVP’s Saurabh Sharma an Attempt to Spread the Sangh Parivar’s Hindutva Agenda?

Written by SabrangIndia | Published on: May 11, 2019
The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has repeatedly been accused of destabilizing the democratic institutions in the five years of its regime. The latest to be attacked is one of the most reputed universities of India - Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Reportedly, Saurabh Sharma, a PhD scholar in JNU's School of Computational And Integrative Sciences, has been given his PhD degree within a few weeks of finishing all the submissions.

Sharma, an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right wing All India student organisation affiliated to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), received his degree and marksheet within minutes of getting his Viva report. Allegedly, Sharma submitted his PhD in the first week of April and the JNU administration arranged for his Viva on April 18.

It is significant to note that students who submitted their dissertation and finished their vivas two years back, haven’t yet received their degrees and marksheets. Contrarily, Sharma received it at a lightning speed. This raises several questions on the integrity of the JNU administration and clearly reflects the bias towards a particular student, notably from a right-wing organisation. It is therefore not difficult to draw parallels between his hasty PhD award and his organisational affiliation.

JNU students’ union (JNUSU) has protested against this unfair practice and have accused the administration of resorting to such means so as to give Sharma a teaching position in JNU. Further, the JNUSU has demanded accountability for the unusual hurry in Sharma's PhD evaluation and award of degree.

This new attack on the so-called liberal academic institution seems to be another strategy by the ruling right-wing Hindutva party, BJP, to saffronise the teaching class as well. It is yet another attempt by the Sangh parivar to spread its Hindutva ideology by appointing teachers from its affiliated organisation. It is nothing short of a direct attack on our Constitutional right of a fair and unbiased access to education.

In his convocation address to the University of Allahabad in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru said, “A university stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search of truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards even higher objectives. If the universities discharge their duties adequately, then it is well with the nation and the people”.

Does this hold true with the current ruling dispensation? Regrettably, the answer is a no and Sharma’s ‘Quick PhD’ is a case in point!

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