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IIT Kanpur administration should stop making itself a laughing stock

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Prof Manindra Agarwal, Dy Director, IIT Kanpur, and head of the panel appointed by the Director to inquire into the incident of 17th December 2019 in the campus has issued a statement that the panel will not enquire into the question whether the poem Hum Dekhenge by the famous Urdu poet Faiz hurts Hindu sentiments.
It seems that the inquiry was ordered by the Director when pressure was put on him by some right-wing elements that in the protest by students Faiz’ poem was recited and this hurt the sentiments of Hindus as the poem talks of removal of idols, which Hindus worship.



Anyone who knows the context in which the poem was written ( the oppressive martial law regime of Gen Zia-ul-Haq ), the background of the poet ( who was an avowed communist ) and the nature of Urdu poetry ( which often expresses thoughts in metaphors ) knows that the very allegation made by some people to the Administration was absurd and preposterous. The word ‘but’ in the poem, while literally meaning idol, has been used metaphorically in the poem, and means tyrants, and the whole poem is a powerful denunciation of oppressive regimes.
It appears that after the inquiry had been ordered many people must have told the Director that he was making a laughing stock of himself, and it was in these circumstances that the Dy Director has made this clarification.
However, the question remains what for is this inquiry now ? Surely students have the right to assemble and hold peaceful demonstrations, a fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens by Article 19(1)(b) of the Constitution.
If the IIT Kanpur Administration does not want to make a fool of itself and show itself as a servile creature of right-wing elements it must forthwith cancel the inquiry

(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Rational Daily.)

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Markandey Katju

Written by Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is the former Chairman, Press Council of India. Prior to his appointment as Chairman, Press Council of India, he served as a Permanent judge at the Supreme Court of India.

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