by Sahmat, 12 February
Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust. 29, Feroze Shah Road, New Delhi-110001
We the undersigned are seriously concerned that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh which is a militant Right-wing Hindu-supremacist organization that has played an active role in unleashing pogroms against minority religious communities in India, and which has been systematically propagating a version of Indian history that suits its ideological agenda without caring for either historical evidence or the scientific method, is now trying to establish, through some of its affiliated organizations, four Chairs at the University of California, Irvine, for the study of three Indian religions and of modern Indian history.
We understand that Universities nowadays, faced with a funds crunch, have to be particularly receptive to endowments from donors. But the fact that the donors in the present case have even made suggestions about who should be appointed to the Chairs and who should not be, and have indicated that these endowed Chairs should act in conformity with the intentions of the donors rather than being completely unfettered in their pursuit of academic work, shows that these donors’ objective is not the furtherance of dispassionate intellectual inquiry, but the promotion of a particular ideological project.
We urge the University of California, Irvine, not to become complicit in this project of the Hindutva forces and to reject these donations. Any university that seeks to promote modern, rational, critical thought in the Humanities must not take money from such sources.
DN Jha, Irfan Habib, P.K. Shukla, Shireen Moosvi, Syera Habib, K.M. Shrimali, BP Sahu, Amar Farooqui, Sashi Kumar, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Biswamoy Pati, CP Chandrasekhar, MK Raina, Vivan Sundaram, Geeta Kapur, Ram Rahman, Anil Bhatti, Zoya Hasan, Ishrat Alam, Suvira Jaiswal, Mushirul Hasan.