On May 10, an FIR was filed against Prof. Ravi Kant Chandan from the Hindi Department of Lucknow University for alleged derogatory remarks about Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Hindu Saints during a YouTube channel debate by journalist and former AAP Ashutosh member, Satya Hindi. FIR was 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 Act (change).
Kya Bakwaas hai??
Satya Hindi YT channel discussion. Disgusting. pic.twitter.com/IaNBjNUuKM
— 𝕊𝕒𝕞𝕒𝕣…🇮🇳 (@MODifiedSamar) May 8, 2022
Members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a protest against the Lucknow University professor. They demanded the teacher’s dismissal. The administration of the University also demanded an explanation from the professor. Notably, on his Facebook profile, Professor Ravi Kant claimed that the problem had been resolved.
The complaint against Professor Ravi Kant was filed by Aman Dubey, a student of Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) hostel. In his complaint, Dubey said Professor Ravi Kant made indecent remarks during a debate which took place on May 9.
He said the professor “hurt the feelings of the Hindu students and also tried to vitiate the harmony of the University. When confronted by the students after the leaked video, the professor called henchmen who tried to assault the protesters. Apart from this, malfeasance is being committed through social media. As a result, the image of the University and the students is tarnished. He further asked the police to register a case against him and take action in accordance with the law.
Speaking to Indian Express, ABVP LU Campus President Pradeep Kumar Maurya said on Tuesday they met Ravi Kant at Proctor’s office. They demanded an apology from him, after which Kant expressed his regret for the remarks. The situation was peaceful. “Yet, minutes later, Kant posted on social media that the ABVP wanted to ‘lynch’ him. Then we started a protest again and demanded that the LU administration fire him because he was spreading hate on campus. He then deleted that post,” Maurya added.
Complaint from Prof. Ravi Kant
A complaint was filed by Professor Ravi Kant in which he alleged that the students wanted to “lynch” him. He said: “During the debate, I spoke about the issue taking the context of historian Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s book. It was distorted and shared on social media by ABVP and other students. They surrounded me in college 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 Dalit. They used caste remarks against me. It is an attack on my fundamental rights, the right to live and the right of expression. He further alleged that his life and that of his family were in danger and urged the police to take action against the students.
Speaking to Indian Express, Kant alleged he was targeted because he was a Dalit. He said, “I am targeted on campus because I am a Dalit. Some savarna (upper caste) teachers are behind this. When I was inside the supervisor’s office, the students were knocking loudly on the door…it was as if they wanted to lynch me. I wrote about it on social media, but deleted the post later.
What did Professor Ravi Kant say in the discussion?
Professor Ravi Kant participated in a discussion on journalist Ashutosh’s YouTube channel, Satya Hindi. During his remarks, he said the five women who pleaded in court to allow them to worship at Gyanvapi did not know the “story” of why Aurangzeb tore it down. He continued to refer to a book by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Feather And Stones.
There is a section called “Aurangzeb and the Temple of Benares” in the book on page 177. The book alleged that although Aurangzeb was 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 temple of Kashi Vishwanath. A queen of Kutch was with him. When they return, the queen has disappeared.
During her search, she was found in the basement of the temple. The book reads: “It turned out that the Mahants used to choose rich and bejeweled pilgrims and guide them to see the temple, lure them into the underground cellar and steal their jewelry. What exactly would have happened to their lives was unknown.
He further stated that Aurangzeb, after observing what was happening in the temple, ordered it to be demolished. The queen, who was rescued, insisted on building a mosque there. The author claimed that the history of the Varanasi mosque was in a rare manuscript in Lucknow in the possession of a “respected Mulla”. The respected mullah had promised a friend of the author to give him the manuscript, but the latter “did not keep his promise”.
Now, there are two points to consider. First, Professor 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 Hindu worshipers who wanted access to the mosque.
Second, the book he referred to cannot be taken as proof that the story is real or not. The author himself said that he only heard this story. There is no mention of the purported manuscript anywhere in the documents available online, except that it is 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 “documentary” evidence of the story. The story was told to him by a “respected mullah”.
Now back to Sitaramayya’s book. The book’s preface reads: “This is a book whose author (among whose infirmities modesty is not included) can claim to be a book of humor, wit and wisdom. None of these are the original product of the author’s “genius” because they only embody what they have heard or read. If anyone turns to this publication for originality of ideas, rich imagination, or brilliant intellectual display, they are sure to be disappointed. Don’t let any reader give the author a good name and hang him for not living (or writing) up to the reader’s expectations.
Sitaramayya himself implied that the stories he wrote in the book were either heard or read. There was no documentary evidence of anything he wrote in the book. Yet left-liberal historians and academics use it as documentary evidence.
The ‘Dalit’ victim card played well
One of the important aspects of this incident is the ‘dalit’ victim card well played by Professor Ravi Kant and the liberal left section of society. Professor Ravi Kant himself played it in his complaint. Media houses and so-called intellectuals on the left-liberal side also took the plunge and used it “liberally”.
Several media including The Wire, Scroll, Hindustan Times, Indian Express and others mentioned him as a Dalit teacher. Twitter user Alamgir said, “Professor Ravikant said nothing wrong, he is one of the smartest Dalit intellectuals. He had a heated debate with journalist Sanghi Anupam Mishra, he has to say ABVP to do this.
AISA UP said: “Shame on ABVP hooliganism and terrorism! AISA strongly opposes ABVP’s heckling and harassment of Professor Ravikant Chandan, Dalit Professor of Hindi at Lucknow University.
Activist Sandeep Singh said, “Professor Ravi Kant Ji continues to raise the voice of Dalits. They are afraid of educated people speaking in the country. The first target is Muslim and the second, the Dalits. Narendra Modi is afraid, he does not want the voice of the Dalits to rise.
The Dalit Voice wrote: “#Harrasment Shocking heckling from a #Dalit professor at Lucknow University. Professor Ravikant from the Hindi department is abused by the ABVP and right-wing thugs.
Author Saba Naqvi said: “Shocking rowdiness from a #dalit professor at #LucknowUniversity. #Ravikant professor in Hindi department is being abused by ABVP and right wing henchmen. It’s a mobocracy and don’t confuse not with Law & Order.
OpIndia tried to contact ABVP and UP Police but could not connect.