A Muslim professor of Sanskrit at the Banaras Hindu University had to change his department on Monday after facing month-long protests by students due to his religion. Firoz Khan resigned from the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan department and will now teach the language at the Arts faculty, PTI reported.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was protesting because the syllabus in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan department, to which he was appointed on November 5, intertwines the study of language with religion. The protests had continued despite the university’s support for Khan’s appointment.
The students have called off their protest following Khan’s transfer, ANI reported. No classes had been held in Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan faculty of the Banaras Hindu University since Khan’s appointment.
Bindeshwari Prasad Mishra, the dean of the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan department, confirmed that Khan had joined the Arts faculty. Professor Kaushalendra Pandey, who accepted the resignation, said that Khan had expressed interest in joining another wing in the university that teaches Sanskrit, NDTV reported. “He gave his resignation yesterday [Monday] evening,” Pandey said. “As a teacher I can only say it is good that he has got other opportunities.”
Shubham Tiwari, one of the protesting students, said that they have no personal enmity against Khan. “We wish him well,” Tiwari said.
Meanwhile, some protesting students allegedly attacked another professor on Monday for supporting Khan. “I was sitting in a classroom when some students barged in and started abusing me in foul language,” Professor Lal Shanti told NDTV. “They asked me to stop supporting a Muslim’s appointment to the faculty. Some of the students then hurled stones at me...and shoved and pushed.”
Shanti claimed that a faculty member had instigated the students, but did not name him. He said a complaint has been filed with the university’s Vice Chancellor, Rakesh Bhatnagar.