Undermining of educational and cultural institutions
The important research, educational and cultural institutions and committees whose complexion has been transformed by filling them with people associated with the Hindutva agenda and linked with the Sangh Parivar are:

  • Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR): Chairman, Prof. B.R. Grover, who defended and argued on behalf of the RSS on the Ram temple. The Council includes B.B. Lal,  B.P. Sinha and K.S. Lal, with similar credentials.

  • Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR): headed by M.L. Sondhi, a former Jan Sangh MP.

  • Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Simla: headed by G.C. Pande, a known sympathiser of the BJP and the Anand Marg.

  • University Grants Commission (UGC): Dr. Hari Gautam, whose RSS convictions are well known, was appointed Chairman.

  • Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA): L.M. Singhvi, made president for ten years, is a sitting BJP MP, and the Member Seceretary Mr. N.R. Shetty is close to Mr. Ananth Kumar, RSS member and  the Minister of Culture.

  • National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT): Dr.  J.S. Rajput, who has been advocating the RSS’s emphasis on ‘Indianisation, spiritualisation, nationalisation’ of school syllabuses and ‘Value’ education, appointed Director.

  • Indian Council of Philosophical Research: Dr. Kireet Joshi, President of Dharam Hinduja International Centre, appointed Chairman.

  • National Film Development Corporation (NFDC): headed by Hema Malini, who actively campaigned for the BJP during the last elections.

Committees for Review of Elementary and Primary Education, Committee for Review of the prescribed NCERT syllabi for CBSE, selection committees for appointments in NCERT and NIEPA, the Advisory Committee on Education in Haryana, the specially constituted National Elementary Education Mission (NEEM), the Councils in ICHR and ICSSR and grants-in-aid committees for adult education, have been similarly constituted.

Government funds for Hindutva and changed priorities
Government funds for the Hindutva agenda in education have been managed in many ways. Priorities of research have changed with the takeover of research bodies and academic institutions.

In the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the ‘Towards Freedom’ volumes have been effectively shelved, along with The Economic History of India, On Railway Construction, and Inscriptions of India. The new projects in the pipeline are: three projects on the ‘Indus Saraswati Civilization’ and one on ‘Archaeology and Tradition’. A meeting was held on 29-30 October to sanction grants for the new projects. Projects and grants are being awarded with the aim of establishing the Hindutva view of history.

The Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Documentation Centre, established in honour of their hero within the ICSSR, has been given huge funds. Even the entire campus of the JNU City Centre has been renamed as ‘Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Gateway of Social Sciences’.

The Archaeological Survey of India is similarly preoccupied with funding excavations and publications to prove that the Aryans were the original inhabitants of India and that Indian civilisation is essentially ‘Aryan’ civilisation.

The ICSSR that only funds research is now utilising huge funds for a Shyama Prasad Mukherjee international conference with a view to presenting and generating new data relevant to the shaping of their national and global agenda. The ICSSR has also established a new Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Centre for Social Welfare, whose one major activity was the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Memorial Lecture delivered by the BJP President, Bangaru Laxman.

The Open School texts which were already written, approved and paid for, have been shelved  and have not been published because of the association of secular historians in framing the syllabi for them.

Government funds have also been made available to thousands of RSS schools and the VHP-run Ekal schools under the government scheme of one teacher schools, and to non-formal centres and Continuing Education Programmes being run by sympathisers. RSS-type books are being pushed into the literacy centres and rural libraries established in the last decade under the National Literacy Mission-directed adult education programme. All the old publications have been withdrawn and the old grants-in-aid committees dismantled summarily without notice, with the decisions taken by them not being implemented. Through a directive that makes all schools running for ten years automatically entitled for affiliation and recognition, the BJP has ensured large transfers of funds to RSS schools in the BJP-ruled states.

Since the BJP’s take over, value education, moral science, patriotism and nationalism have become synonymous with Hindutva in the government vocabulary. The NCERT and the UGC, now filled with their people, have followed suit. The NCERT has seriously taken up the task of introducing a course on value education in schools on the model of the ‘moral science’ taught in the RSS-linked Vidya Bharati and Shishu Mandir schools. Enormous funds have been given for a resource library at the NCERT to ‘help towards devising the course’, and although there will be token representation of other religions, the Hindutva line will be inculcated through giving voice to every festival, fast, yatra, writings of so-called sants and sadhus, and so on.

Funds have already been sanctioned for courses on Vedic rituals and astrology in a number of universities and institutions of higher education.

It has been decided to introduce compulsory courses on patriotism in the state universities and science and professional colleges. While its content has not been worked out, it is obvious, given what the BJP has introduced by way of history in the school texts, that this particular course will be Hindutva politics in another bottle.

In the school texts in Uttar Pradesh and in the examinations, Hindutva has so prevaded the system that one can hardly have a simple maths problem in a question without reference to the Sangh propaganda.

Attacks on cultural expression
Cultural festivals are funded by the Department of Culture and ministers are openly associated with promoting the identity of Indian culture with brahmanical myths. The birth centenaries of Ashfaqullah Khan and Udham Singh were totally ignored.

The new Harappan Civilisation Gallery at the National Museum in Delhi seeks to project the Hindutva reinterpretation of this culture as Vedic/Sanskritic, against accepted archaeological evidence and scholarship.

The Lalit Kala Akademi has funded and put up an exhibition on Vajpayee’s visit to the US, which by no strech of imagination can be justified as relevant to the aims and objectives of the Akademi.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi organised a show to laud the government’s efforts on Kargil, and, more recently, a programme to celebrate 50 years of the founding of the Republic. The Akademis are thus being made the cultural PR agencies of the government.

  • January 2000: Attack on Deepa Mehta’s film Water.

  • January 2000: Take-over of IGNCA to change the complexion and basic priorities of the institution.

  • February 2000: ABVP threatened young people, attacked shops and restaurants selling Valentine Day cards in Kanpur.

  • March 2000: Self-appointed culture cops of the ABVP tried to forcibly enforce a dress code for girls in Kanpur.

  • April 2000: Communal campaign against the students of Jamia Millia and Aligarh Muslim University, branded as breeding-ground for ISI agents by the VHP and Bajrang Dal during the course of this one year.

  • June 2000: Attempt to inject communalism into the film industry by a public campaign against ‘Muslim’ heroes. Articles to this effect published in the RSS journal Panchajanya.

  • June 2000: Courses on Vedic rituals and astrology sanctioned in universities.

  • July 2000: National Commission for Women brought out a document on the status of women which contained strong communal overtones in representing the ancient period as a ‘golden age’ when women’s condition was good, and blaming ‘Muslim’ rule for deterioration in the condition of women.

  • August 2000: Attack on Sahmat’s exhibition in Toronto; the government forced a withdrawal of grants to the Shashtri Indo-Canadian Institute and other organisations which were funding the effort.

  • August 2000: Disruption of presentations by secular Indian historians at the Conference of African and Asian historians held in Montreal.

  • August 2000: The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute pressurised to withdraw grant to Waterloo University (Canada) for the conference ‘Accommodating Diversity’.

  • September 2000: National Gallery of Modern Art forced to withdraw from an exhibition, artist Surendran Nair’s painting Icarus.

  • September 2000: ASI and ICHR officials linked to the Sangh Parivar tried to distort the archaeological findings of excavations at Fatehpur Sikri.

  • November 2000: Attack on a journalist of Nai Duniya in Indore by RSS men.

Some examples of communal historiography from school texts
Communal historiography may be quite old in India but the new additions reflect greater contemporary use in dividing society along communal lines. A communal bias is woven into school textbooks with preposterous ‘facts’ in a way that can only have dangerous consequences for the educational standards of this country.

We give some examples of the kind of things that are strewn all over these texts. These examples reflect not merely what books prescribed in the more than 20,000 RSS-linked Shishu Mandirs and Vidya Bharati schools contain. This is what the RSS is trying to force into the entire educational system. The introduction of such texts in the state-funded regular stream of schooling and the rewriting of social science texts in BJP-ruled states have massively increased the number of children who are being made victims of this second-rate and poisonous ‘knowledge’.

  • Our land has always been seen with greedy eyes. . . . This story of invasion and resistance is our 3000-year-long Gaurav Gatha. When this proud tradition began is difficult to say because no books were written at that time . . . but we believe that the first man was born in this land. (Gaurav Gatha [GG] for Class 4, Shishu Mandirs, p. 8)

  • To our ancestors these marauders were like mosquitoes and flies who were crushed. (GG, p. 9)

  • Lakhs of foreigners came during these thousands of years but they all suffered humiliating defeat. . . . Mughals, Pathans and Christians are today some of these people. (Itihaas Gaa Raha Hai, I for Class 5, Shishu Mandirs)

  • The words that have their roots in Arabic, Persian, English, Urdu and other foreign languages are known as foreign words, for example table, school, bazaar, train, kalam, laaltein, kameez, dava, ameer, copy, zahar, etc. (Sachitra Hindi Vyakaran Aivam Rachna, p. 11)

  • Nutan Gadya Padya Sangrah for Class 9 has articles by Rajju Bhaiya, Tarun Vijay, K.C. Sudarshan and Jalam Singh Revlot of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. Among the claims made in this book are that the truth that the earth is round and revolves around the sun was given to the world by Indian scientists thousands of years ago.

  • India is described as a Vedic nation on the basis of Vedic texts. (Madhyamik Gadya Padya Sanchayan for Class 10, ch. 4).

Some gems from the ‘Sanskrit Gyan’ and ‘Sanskar Saurabh’ texts
Sanskrit Gyan texts are taught in Vidya Bharati schools and Shishu Mandirs. The RSS-sponsored agenda paper on education that the Central Government tried to present before the Conference of the State Education Ministers in October 1998 suggested that these and similar texts be made compulsory for all schools.

The students are tested on dubious ‘facts’ such as:

  • Ram Janmabhoomi is the birthplace of Ram.

  • Iran was first settled by Indians (Aryans).

  • Homer adapted Valmiki’s Ramayana into an epic called Iliad.

  • Greek philosophers like Herodotus and Aristophanes were influenced by the Vedas.

  • The Egyptian faith was based on Indian traditions according to Plato and Pythagoras.

  • The language of the Native American Indians evolved from ancient Indian languages.

  • The cow is the mother of us all, in whose body Gods are believed to reside.

  • Ayurveda is the finest medical system of the world, and it naturally evolved in India.

  • Jesus Christ roamed the Himalayas and drew his ideas from Hinduism.

In the Sanskar Saurabh series:

  • God Jagdeeshwar, father of this world, give me this quality, I may be born worthy to serve the Hindu, die in the cause of the Hindu. If I fail to give my life for the Hindu let me burn in hell. (Lines from a poem, Sanskar Saurabh [SS], Part 2, for Class 4, p. 48)

  • On witnessing Guru Teg Bahadur’s staunch defence of his faith the Emperor (Aurangzeb) grew red with anger. This was the same Aurangzeb who had Matidas cut through with a saw, Bhai Dayaldas thrown into a vessel of boiling hot oil, and Satidas wrapped in cotton and burnt alive. . . . Even in the last moments of his supreme sacrifice his pride in being a Hindu shone clearly on his face. (In the context of the story of Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom, SS, Part 2, pp. 49-50)

  • The stories ‘Vir Balak Badal’, ‘Balidan Mein Jeet Kiski’, ‘Vir Balak Chatrasal’ promote hatred and strengthen all the prejudices against Muslims. They liberally contain sentences such as, ‘If you accept Islam your life may be spared’ or ‘The Muslim leader said we have come here to destroy temples’. (SS, Part 2, pp. 57-61)

  • The student is asked to draw the picture of Akhand Bharat. (SS, Part 2, p. 11)

  • Sati is presented as a Rajput tradition that we should be proud of. (SS, Book 3, for Class 5, chapter 28)

  • On Guru Arjun Dev’s refusal to accept Islam, Jahangir had a furnace constructed next to the river Ravi, and a vessel filled with sand placed on it, after which he ordered a fire to be lit. Guru Arjun Dev was then called and asked to sit on the hot vessel. (SS, Book 3, p. 72)

  • Bharat exists, has culture, learning, civilisation, religion, good deeds as long as this Hindu jati survives, remains dominant . . . (Lines from a poem, SS, Book 3, p. 77)

  • We are one, our culture is one, our tradition is one, our life-current is one, and we have but one history. We have to gain self-knowledge, and on the basis of self-confidence, manliness and daring, create for society a monumental national man through the medium of traditional ideology of Indian culture. This view of Golwalkar, opposing the pluralistic character of Indian culture and tradition, is strongly put forward. (SS, Book 4, for Class 6, p. 7)

  • It is because we are the children of Manu that we are known as manushya or manav (human). This is claimed in a table of blind faith and superstition. (SS, Book 4, chapter 3: ‘Manu Aur Manav’)

  • The Muslim butchers are the killers of cows. . . . The Hindus who killed them are to be venerated, their only fault being that they did it while they were asleep. (SS, Book 4, p. 57)

  • There is a description of Hedgewar unfurling the saffron flag on a British building and it is said that the organised strength of the Hindus that we witness today is the result of his sacrifice and strong commitment. (SS, Book 4, p. 64)

  • The Muslim children abused Durga Bhavani. They also falsely accused Haqeeqat Raj, and a maulvi forced him to accept Islam. He (Haqeeqat Raj) said that one has to die just once and what better cause to die for than one’s religion. For this his head was severed from his body, and he became a martyr on the altar of religion and gained immortality. (SS, Book 4, pp. 69-70)

  • November 2, 1990 (the day of the assault on the Babri Masjid) is a moment of history the remembrance of which brings tears to every eye . . . on which the bugle of victory sounded . . . (SS, Book 4, pp. 70-71)

  • Aurangzeb said to Sambhaji, ‘Accept Islam and your life will be spared and your kingdom returned to you.’ To which Sambhaji replied, ‘Religion is dearer than life or kingdom. I am born a Hindu; I will die a Hindu. Aurangzeb ordered, ‘with a pair of burning tongs tear open every piece of flesh from this kafir’ (SS, Book 4, p. 25). Such graphic sentences abound in a chapter on this piece of ‘history’ from which a moral is to be derived, and such chapters abound throughout the book, and in fact the entire series.

  • Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh are shown as parts of India once, and the student is urged to pray to a picture of this Akhand Bharat and to pledge that he will once again achieve the same shape for our country (SS, Book 4, pp. 31-32). There is a poem with the same sentiments in the book.

  • Scientists consider plants as inanimate while the Hindus consider them as animate and to have life. (SS, Book 4, p. 45)

  • The worldview, thought, values and behaviour of the Hindus is most superior in this world. (SS, Book 4, chapter 21)

  • In our lives we should accept only the Swadeshi religion, Swadeshi culture and Swadeshi goods, celebrate our birthdays according to the Indian tradition . . . yet for the defence of the country it would not be a crime to buy Russian MIGs. (SS, Book 4, p. 52)

  • Bharat is the most ancient nation in the world. Our original ancestors Manu and Shatrughan gave life to this earth. The Indian Ocean is refered to as Hindu Mahasagar (Akhil Bharatiya Sanskriti-Gyan Pariksha Pradhnotri [ABSGPP], Vidya Bharati for Class 8, p. 1)

  • The real name of Lucknow is Laxmanpuri and it was made into a habitation by Laxman. (ABSGPP, p. 7)

  • On refusing to accept Islam, Banda Bairagi had the heart of his son thrust down his throat. (ABSGPP, p. 9)

  • The Aryan civilisation is the oldest in the world. (ABSGPP, p. 11)

  • Shikha, Mekhla, Tilak, Mala, Dand, Saffron clothes are symbols of Indian attire. Educational reform, a cultural campaign, and doing away with the legal obstacles that prevent its growth are very necessary today. (ABSGPP, p. 13)

  • There are eight questions just on Ramjanmabhoomi in the context of which there are answers such as: there were 78 battles fought for the Ramjanmabhoomi, around three and a half lakh people were martyred in its cause. Specific references to the date when the locks to the place were opened, the date when kar seva began, the date of the assault, details of the Kothari brothers, etc., are provided, and students are asked to remember them as possible exam questions. (ABSGPP, p. 14)

  • The Hindu belief is characterized as a Dharma (religion, way of life), while Sikhism, Christianity, Islam are described as sects. (ABSGPP, p. 16)

  • Our ancestors established national unity on a permanent basis by building Shiv Mandirs and Shiv lingas (ABSGPP, p. 20)

  • Our culture is one. It is also known as Hindu culture. Everybody’s heritage, tradition, and belief are one. Everybody celebrates Holi, Diwali and Dussehra together. The same mantras are recited on marriages and other occasions. Our cultural symbols, identity marks are the same. The cow, Ganga, Gayatri Mantra and Gita are revered by all equally. All believe in rebirth and karma, and everyone equally pays respect to sadhus and sanyasis (Sadachar ki Batein [SKB] for Class 9, p. 11)

  • Among the builders of Indian culture is included Shri Krishna (SKB, chapter 9)

  • Urdu is not an independent language. It is Hindi written in a different (Arabic) script. (SKB, p. 65)

  • Cultural symbols are identified as and confined to the lotus, Gayatri Mantra, Nataraj, Ganga, Gita, the sun, swastika, etc.

  • It is almost nine lakh years since Ram stepped on this holy Arya land and even today his reign is remembered as one of happiness, prosperity and peace. (Dharma Shiksha for Class 6, p. 29)

  • Shri Krishna is referred to as a nationalist. (RI, p. 65)

  • Man first took birth in Tibet, originally a part of Bharat. All beings were Arya beings. It is from there that they spread out into the fields. It is now 179 million crore, 19 lakh, 59 thousand, 84 years since man stepped on this earth. (RI, p. 67)

  • Dayanand Saraswati would have recovered from his position had a Muslim doctor and then an Englishman not treated him first. (RI, p. 56)

The Harappan Civilization: an exhibition in the National Museum, New Delhi
An exhibition on the Harappan Civilisation has been recently organised by the National Museum and the Archaeological Survey of India in the National Museum of New Delhi. The display is governed by the traditional trait-list approach of culture. It includes display of Harappan artefacts such as tools, weapons and utensils of bronze, ornaments, seals and sealings, weights and measures, toys, gamesmen, pottery, human and animal clay figurines and stone subjects. The photographs show excavated features such as structures, tanks and fire-pits or hearths labelled as fire altars from the Lothal, Kalibangan and Banawali sites. An introductory note in English as well as in Hindi, and a brochure based on it for circulation, introduce laypersons and students visiting the exhibition to chauvinstic glory and a distorted picture of the Harappan Civilisation.

The display has clubbed together the non-Harappan pre-Harappan Chalcolithic cultures (c. 3500-2600 Bc) with the Harappan civilisation (c. 2600-2000 Bc), giving little idea about the process of cultural development. The exhibition has nothing to tell about the time-lag in the spread of the Harappan culture all over, its extent and its regional variations. It gives only the urban view of the culture, having nothing to say about the conditions of life in its smaller settlements and villages. There is no attempt to put the civilisation in a historical context by distinguishing the Harappan urban tradition from the succeeding non-Harappan cultures called the Painted Grey Ware, the Black Slipped Ware and the Gandhara Grey Ware cultures, with hardly any indigenous origins. They were responsible for the introduction of iron and the horse, and the evolution of early historic unbanization c. 600 Bc, owing little to the protohistoric Harappan civilization.

What is most disturbing is the distorted view the exhibition gives through its introductory notes, labels and brochures. The organizers have labelled the fire pits as ‘fire altars’, suggesting the prevalence of ‘fire worship’ (of Vedic type) in the Harappan civilization (c. 2600-2000 bc) at Lothal, Kalibangan and Banawali, without taking into account their structural form and without chemical analysis of the ash deposits found in the pits.

The display of the two fragments of terracotta horse-like figurines gives an impression that the domesticated horse was integral to the Harappan civilization all over its content in time and space. The lack of evidence for the domestication of the horse in the early Harappan levels and the recovery of a bullock-driven chariot of copper from Daimabad in late Harappan times precludes any possibility of domestication of the horse by the Harappans locally and its use on a big scale.

The nomenclature of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization used in the introductory note as well as in the brochure distributed has not been accepted by the archeologists. The Harappan civilisation extended far beyond the Indus as well as the Saraswati valleys. In fact, the dry bed of the Saraswati reveals an eastward expansion of the Chalcolithic cultures and the epicentre of the Harappan civilisation still remains the central Indus valley. The upper course of the Saraswati was occupied only in the late Harappan times, as the evidence goes.

The introductory note, as well as the brochure, further mention that the Harappan script was written from left to right, as the Mauryan Brahmi of the early historical era. In fact, B.B. Lal has proved beyond doubt, with the help of inscribed potsherds from Kalibangan and a seal from Harappa, that the Harappan script was written from right to left, unlike the Brahmi script which had an independent origin.

A centrally placed showcase labelled ‘Religion and Rituals’ includes stone objects, small objects, small terracotta spindle-like objects from Kalibangan and terracotta human figurines in different poses. The organisers have treated it without any basis as an evidence of Siva Lingas and Yoga practices in the Harappan civilization.

All these descriptions lack authenticity and at best represent the eccentric views of a few pseudo-archaeologists. The question then arises, why are such unestablished and distorted views being propagated as the official view of the National Museum and the Archaeological Survey of India?

The distortions undoubtedly aim at establishing that the Harappan civilisation was associated with the Rigvedic Aryans. Fire worship, use of the horse, Rudra worship and the Saraswati Nadi, all happen to be associated with the Rigveda. The identification of the Harappan civilisation with the Rigvedic Aryans will push back the antiquity of the Rigveda itself and glorify the simple Rigvedic culture as one of the most developed civilizations of the world. What is more important, it will establish the identity of the Aryans as an indigenous people and the Vedic, Pauranic, Sanatan culture as the real culture of India, as opposed to that of the Muslims and Christians. This is the basis of the Hindu Rashtra theory. It seems that the organization of the exhibition and dissemination of a distorted view of history as stated above will only help to further the ideological cause of the RSS or Hindutva at the cost of the national exchequer.

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
The IGNCA was set up as a fully autonomous body by the government in 1987.

The present government, despite issues pending in court, forcibly seized the IGNCA on January 10, 2000. In their unseemly haste to take over institutions, the government appointed a new group of Trustees, announced on January 8, 2000.

The government and the new Trustees seem to be unaware of the following:

  • That the IGNCA is not a centre for performing arts, as the representatives of the government constituting the new Trust suggest.

  • That the IGNCA is not an institution of patronage distributing annual or ad hoc grants to institutions or individuals.

  • That for the first time in the country we have in the IGNCA a centre of fundamental research in the arts and the humanities, and with no ideological bias.

Built on an academic foundation, the IGNCA was visualized as a centre encompassing the study and experience of all the arts. The concept is reflected in the precise structuring of its divisional components. This is the only institution which has established a meaningful bridge amongst the domains of the fundamental sciences, technology, metaphysics, the social sciences and the arts. A cursory perusal of their catalogues and publications would reveal the range and depth of the vast body of work accomplished, as well as the nature of the institution of which the performing arts is but one integral part – until its take-over.

As a major repository of reference material, the IGNCA has created an outstanding reference library and cultural archives, with access to multimedia databases and information systems. It has acquired a rich and varied collection of books and material of eminent scholars in the fields of the arts and related studies – apart from a large collection of primary material. It has many rare collections of illustrious scholars who have made path-breaking contributions in fields relating to the arts, and a pioneering attempt has been made to bring under one roof, primary sources of the Indian tradition lying scattered, fragmented, inaccessible, or worse, in danger of extinction. At present the library contains about ten million folios of unpublished Sanskrit, Pali, Persian and Arabic manuscripts. The visual library comprises a wide collection of slides of art objects, etc., in Indian and international collections.

The results of the diverse areas of research and activities are disseminated through publications, films, cassettes and CD Roms, along with multimedia exhibitions on universal themes, international seminars and so on. The performing arts so far built into the initial phase of the IGNCA’s fundamental research programme would find its representation at a large stage as envisaged in the overall plan.

The IGNCA has actively collaborated and networked with academic and other institutions, apart from scholars and specialists in a wide cross-section of fields, both in India and abroad.

The IGNCA was, until its take-over, well into the process of fulfilling its objectives as originally envisaged and laid down in the Trust Deed.

The new Member Secretary, instantly upon taking office, had commented that he ‘was somebody who can now put it back on the rails’. The IGNCA was never off the rails – and this disturbing statement, writing off in one sweep the entire scholastic content of the institution which comprises the contributions of some of the greatest scholars of our time, raises the basic question of academic freedom, and of the ethics of education and the understanding of culture that are now being demonstrated.

As the government and their representatives, the new Trustees, are unaware of the IGNCA as a research and resource institution of this dimension, internationally recognized as a major core institution, the fundamental questions now are:

  1. Do the new Trustees, along with their mentors in the present government, singly or collectively, have the requisite scholastic background or the experience to continue the monumental work of research and dissemination, in keeping with the spirit and broad vision of the IGNCA as previously conceived and stated in the Trust Deed?

  2. If not – and presumably having a background of the nature of the IGNCA before accepting Trusteeship – why the haste for a take-over, and what is the ‘new agenda’? What is the motivation of these eminent artists and other Trustees who have acted in this manner along with the present government?

  3. What then is their commitment and responsibility to the institution, to a democratic society and to the country?

  4. More than ten months have passed since the take-over. Apart from considering the IGNCA to be a centre for the publication of material on ‘religious tourism’ attached to the Ministry of Tourism, and closing down the invaluable documentation programme on the North Eastern states (among others), what else has the ‘newly constituted’ IGNCA accomplished so far in terms of its work programme?

  5. There are eminent scientists and scholars on the Trust. Apart from largely Karnataka-based appointees who now comprise the Executive Committee, are there any recognized scientists or scholars on the Committee of the present IGNCA, as required?

  6. The government and the new Trustees are clearly at sea, in fact floundering rather badly. The IGNCA was created with a vision; its objectives are clearly defined and its activities flow through a specifically conceived, well-articulated structure. Having created the IGNCA as a fully autonomous body which has proved its academic excellence, why is the government along with their Trustee appointees now destroying the character of the institution along with its remarkable and valuable work essential for the country? Why not create a separate institution?

This take-over is not only destroying the institution and making us look small in the eyes of the world, but is in direct contradiction with all the values our great democratic country has stood for.