The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development sent letters to the Vice Chancellor of Central University of Kerala to conduct a probe against Professor Gilbert Sebastian who has been targeted by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — the students’ wing of the RSS — for calling the RSS a proto-fascist organisation during his class.
Sebastian is currently an assistant professor at the Department of International Relations and Political Science in the university.
On Wednesday, the VC has constituted a 3-member committee to enquire into the matter.
“Sangh Parivar a proto-fascist organisation”
In the online class held on Monday, Gilbert Sebastian said Spain under General Franco, Portugal under Salazar, Argentina under Juan Peron, Chile under Pinochet, the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the Hutu ultranationalist and supremacist movement of Rwanda in the early 1990s could be considered as proto-fascist, and posed a question whether India under Narendra Modi since 2014 was one.
Maktoob got access to the PowerPoint slides which the ABVP had claimed to complain against him.
“The RSS and its affiliate organisation, together called as the Sangh Parivar meaning the Sangh family (including the BJP) in India can also be considered proto-fascist,” he said in one of the PowerPoint slides.
ABVP threatens professor
The allegation against the professor Sebastian the ABVP claims is that he has described India as a fascist country.
In a letter to Vice Chancellor Prof H Venkateshwarlu, ABVP’s CUK unit said “no genuine examinations or exploration have distinguished India as a fascist country. Only certain anti-nationals are attempting to name India as an extremist country.”
The right wing student group said it would dispatch mass protests if the Vice Chancellor didn’t make a move against him.
Fraternity, NSUI extend support to professor
Fraternity Movement has conducted a protest gathering inside the campus on Wednesday, extending the student body’s support to the professor.
“We will not let academic institutions to be places of Sangh Parivar” said Waseem RS, the national secretariat member of Fraternity Movement while addressing the gathering. He also condemned on the issue by stating that “this is a mysterious agenda of the Sangh Parivar to destroy the academic atmosphere in the classroom and to suppress different ideologies.”
NSUI, the student wing of Congress, also condemned on the issue of leaking the online video classes and defaming the professor.
“The teacher has all the qualifications and merits to teach and it is his duty to teach his students. Proto-fascism is a technical term and he has used it in his class to describe and elaborate certain political situations,” Davis Titus, a PhD candidate in the university and NSUI’s unit president told Maktoob.
“His PowerPoint slides and the audio of the class were made public, which can’t be done as it is the material for students’ academic purpose,” allege students.
Maktoob reached out to the professor but he declined to comment as they have a circular which says, university professors cannot talk to the media.