Lucknow professor peddles fiction against Kashi Vishwanath temple

On May 10, an FIR was registered against Professor Ravi Kant Chandan of the Hindi Department at Lucknow University for alleged derogatory remarks on Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Hindu saints during a debate on Journalist and former AAP member Ashutosh’s YouTube channel Satya Hindi. The FIR has been registered against Prof Ravi Kant at Hasanganj Police Station under sections 153-A, 504 and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 166 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act.

Members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a protest against the Professor at Lucknow University. They demanded the sacking of the Professor. The University administration has also sought an explanation from the Professor. Notably, on his Facebook profile, Prof Ravi Kant has claimed that the issue has been resolved.

Source: Facebook

The complaint against prof Ravi Kant was registered by Aman Dubey, a student of Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) hostel. In his complaint about him, Dubey said Prof Ravi Kant made indecent remarks during a debate that took place on May 9.

He said that the professor “hurt the sentiments of Hindu students, and he also attempted to vitiate the harmony of the University. When he was confronted by the students after the video was leaked, the Professor called goons who attempted to assault the protesters. Apart from this, malpractices are being done through social media. Due to this, the image of the University and the students are being tarnished.” He further requested the Police to register a case against him and take action as per the law.

Copy of FIR. Source: TOI/ArvindcTOI

Speaking to Indian Express, ABVP’s LU campus president Pradeep Kumar Maurya said that on Tuesday, they met Ravi Kant at Proctor’s office. They demanded an apology from him, after which Kant expressed regret over the remarks. The situation was pacified. “However, a few minutes later, Kant posted on social media that the ABVP wanted to “lynch” him. Then we again started a demonstration and demanded that the LU administration sack him because he was spreading hatred on campus. I later deleted that post,” Maurya added.

Complaint by Prof Ravi Kant

A complaint has been filed by Prof Ravi Kant in which he has alleged that the students wanted to “lynch” him. He said, “In the debate, I spoke about the matter taking context from Historian Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s book. It has been twisted and shared on social media by ABVP and other students. They circled me in the University today and tried to lynch me. They used derogatory words and slogans like ‘desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko’ against me. I am a Dalit. They used casteist remarks against me. It is an assault on my fundamental rights, right to live and right to expression.” He further alleged his and his family’s life of him was in danger and urged Police to take action against the students.

Speaking to Indian Express, Kant alleged he was being targeted for being a Dalit. He said, “I am being targeted on campus because I am a Dalit. Some savarna (upper caste) teachers are behind this. When I was inside the proctor’s office, students were knocking loudly on the door… it seemed as if they wanted to lynch me. I wrote about this on social media but deleted the post later.”

What did Prof Ravi Kant say in the discussion?

Prof Ravi Kant participated in a discussion on Journalist Ashutosh’s YouTube channel Satya Hindi. During his remarks about him, he said the five women who submitted a plea in the court to allow them to worship in Gyanvapi did not know about the “history” of why Aurangzeb demolished it. He continued to refer to a book by Dr Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Feather And Stones.

There is a section by the name “Aurangzeb and the Benares Temple” in the book on page 177. The book alleged that though Aurangzeb is called a bigot in religion, there was a story about why he demolished the temple. The author of the book alleged that once Aurangzeb went to see the Kashi Vishwanath temple. A Queen of Kutch was with him. When they were returning, the Queen went missing.

Upon searching for it, she was found in the foundation of the temple. The book reads, “It turned out that the Mahants were in the habit of picking out wealthy and be-jeweled pilgrims and in guiding them to see the temple, decoying them to the underground cellar and robbing them of their jewellery. What exactly would have happened to their life, one did not know.”

Extract from the book Feather and Stones.

It further stated Aurangzeb, after watching what was happening in the temple, ordered to demolish it. The Queen, who was saved, insisted on building a mosque in that place. The author claimed the story of Varanasi Mosque was in a rare manuscript in Lucknow in possession of a “respected Mulla”. The respected Mullah had promised a friend of the author to hand over the Manuscript, but he “without fulfilling his promise from him”.

Now there are two points that need to be considered. First, Prof Ravi Kant himself said during the debate that there was no way to prove the story. However, he still used the derogatory and anti-Hindu story as an excuse against the Hindu devotees who wanted access to the mosque.

Secondly, the book he referred to cannot be seen as proof for the story is real or not. The author himself said he only heard this story. There is no mention of the alleged Manuscript anywhere in any documents available online except it is being mentioned by the left-liberal historian. A similar breakdown of the story was done by Dharma Dispatch in one of their articles. Sitaramayya’s book is often used as the “documentary” evidence of the story. The story was told to him by some “respected mullah”.

Now coming back to the book by Sitaramayya. The preface of the book reads, “This is a book which the author (amongst whose infirmities modesty is not one) may claim to be a book of humour, wit and wisdom. None of these is the original product of the author’s ‘genius’ for it only embodies what has been heard or read by him. If anyone looks to this publication for originality of ideas, a rich imagination or a bright intellectual display, he is sure to be disappointed. Let no reader give a good name to the author and hang him for not living (or writing) up to the reader’s expectation.”

Sitaramayya himself hinted that the stories he had written in the book were either heard or read. There was no documentary proof of anything he had written in the book. Yet, the left-liberal historians and the academicians use it as documentary proof.

The well-played ‘Dalit’ victim card

One of the important aspects of this incident is the well-played ‘Dalit’ victim card by Prof Ravi Kant and the left-liberal section of the society. Prof Ravi Kant himself played it in his complaint from him. Media houses and so-called intellectuals of the left-liberal side also jumped and “liberally” used it.

Multiple media houses, including The Wire, Scroll, Hindustan Times, Indian Express and others, mentioned him as Dalit Professor. Twitter user Alamgir said, “Prof Ravikant said nothing wrong he is one of the most intelligent Dalit intellectuals. He had a heated debate with Sanghi journalist Anupam Mishra he must say ABVP to do this.”

AISA UP said, “Shame on the hooliganism and terrorism of ABVP! AISA strongly stands against ABVP’s heckling and harassing of Prof. Ravikant Chandan, a Dalit Professor of Hindi in Lucknow University.”

Activist Sandeep Singh said, “Prof.Ravi Kant Ji continues to raise the voice of Dalits. They are getting scared of educated people who are talking in the country. The first target is Muslim, and the second is Dalits. Narendra Modi is scared, he does not want the voice of Dalits to be raised.”

The Dalit Voice wrote, “#Harrasment Shocking heckling of a #Dalit professor at Lucknow University. Professor Ravikant of the Hindi Dept being abused by ABVP and right-wing goons.”

Author Saba Naqvi said, “Shocking heckling of a #Dalit professor at #LucknowUniversity. Professor #Ravikant of the Hindi Dept being abused by ABVP and right-wing goons. This is a mobocracy and do not confuse with Law & Order.”

OpIndia tried to contact ABVP and UP Police but could not connect.

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