The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday criticized a communication sent by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to all governors asking them to urge higher education institutions in their respective states to organize conferences on the theme “The India: the mother of democracy ‘Constitution Day’ – celebrated on 26 November.
The communication, sent on Thursday, also contained a concept note prepared by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) which states: “There was no aristocracy in India as say in Greece. The Hindu state rarely exhibited the high degree of centralization associated with the Roman Empire.
The CPI(M) blasted the missive on Friday saying it was ‘a denial of the reality of Varnashram and the caste-based social hierarchy which is a major challenge in the evolution of our modern democracy “.
The UGC letter, sent by President M Jagadesh Kumar, said: “India’s democratic system has evolved over the ages. There are many pieces of evidence, as far back as the Vedic period, that point to India’s democratic tradition. In order to celebrate India’s democracy, it has been decided that all universities in the country will organize lectures on the theme “India: The Mother of Democracy” on November 26, 2022.
“I kindly ask you to encourage all universities in the state to hold conferences on 26 November 2022 on the above-mentioned theme and celebrate Indian democracy,” Kumar wrote.
The letter also included the concept note which mentions some suggested sub-themes for the lectures – Rigveda and the roots of Bhartiya loktantrika-parampara; Upanishads and Parishads; local institutions/khaps and loktantrika-parampara; Dharma-Sutras and loktantra; and Bhakti and democratic traditions.
According to the concept note, the main difference that separates “Bharat” from other ancient civilizations is that there was “no concentration of the prestige of birth, influence of wealth and political function that made organizations autocratic and aristocratic social groups”.
“One of the deepest ideas of ancient Indian political philosophy is that the power or office of the king is only a trust,” he says.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said Kumar was denying constitutional requirements with the move. “This is in direct violation of the framework of our Constitution, as well as the statutory provisions of the UGC law as passed by Parliament,” he said in a statement.
“The UGC President denies the constitutional requirement for democratic consultation with elected state governments in the area of higher education and has directly approached unelected governors appointed by the RSS-BJP to pursue this agenda. This exposes the true goal of the national education policy to use education as an instrument to destroy scientific temperament and rationality while undermining the foundations of our Constitution,” he said.
Kumar did not respond to the allegations but said of the lectures, “It will help the younger generation to understand the values and outcomes of democracy in order to make Indian democracy more modern and empowered.”
Meanwhile, in coordination with the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the UGC is also organizing conferences on similar themes at 45 Central Universities and 45 Deemed Universities across the country between November 15 and November 30.