The Savitribai Phule Pune University on Saturday scrapped the circular that said a student must be a vegetarian or a teetotaler to be eligible for a gold medal.
Registrar Arvind Shaligram told IANS that they withdrew the 10-year-old circular because of the outrage it had triggered. He said the university will write to the Shelar family, which sponsors the medal, and urge it to drop this stipulation. “We have many other gold medals that can be given to the students, and none of them have such a condition,” he said.
The circular listed 10 qualifications for a student to be eligible for the Maharishi Keertankar Shelar Mama Gold Medal. Besides vegetarianism and teetotalism, the rules said the student should know and follow the Indian culture and tradition and should also have participated in sports and practice yoga.
On Friday, Shaligram had said the university follows the terms and conditions of the donors who sponsor such medals.
The university saw tremendous backlash on social media as news of the circular’s stipulations spread. A number of students also protested on campus and burned copies of the notification. “The conditions stipulated are not merely bizarre or laughable, but downright offensive and discriminatory,” a student said. “They have nothing to do with a student’s merit or academic excellence.”