The administration of Ramanujan College, affiliated with Delhi University, announced on Wednesday, December 27, that it has withdrawn the condition for mandatory attendance on a certificate-cum-refresher course on Bhagavad Gita for its staff.
“We had withdrawn the mandatory attendance for the course on Gita on December 22, when the inaugural session of the course was held. There’s no compulsion on the staff to attend the course if they don’t want to,” Jigar Inamdar, chairman of Ramanujan College, told PTI.
However, Inamdar also said that he publicly urged the staff to join the course to increase its participation.
The college had made attendance for the course mandatory to ensure footfall and participation from the staff, said the chairman.
Democratic Teachers’ Front, a teachers’ organisation from DU, opposed this mandate earlier today, saying that it coerced the teaching and non-teaching staff of the college into registering for the certificate course on Bhagavad Gita.
The front alleged that the teaching and non-teaching staff are being forced by the college to attend the course beyond their working hours.
“Ramanujan principal SP Agarwal has abused the powers vested in him to dictate to all teachers and non-teaching staff to compulsorily register for and attend a refresher/certificate course on Srimad Bhagavad Gita,” the teachers’ body said in a statement.
“Illegally coercing teachers and non-teaching staff to remain engaged till 6:30 pm beyond official duties and the added burden of conducting the ongoing semester examinations of students is unacceptable,” it added.
All teaching and non-teaching were offered the refresher course, which is being organised by the Teaching Learning Centre, until January 9 from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. They could take the course in both online and offline modes.
The college principal stated that the course is in line with the “Indian Knowledge System Centre” that is being planned to be established at the college, in an email to the teaching staff.
“This course is in line with the setting up of the Indian Knowledge System Centre at the college. In view of this it is our responsibility to first sensitize ourselves through such programmes,” the email read.
The college will hold such programmes not only for Bhagavad Gita but also for the Vedas, which are reportedly a part of the so-called Indian Knowledge System (IKS).
The email instructs all new teaching staff, recruited in the last year to register and attend the programme in offline mode along with non-teaching staff.
Other senior teaching staff were given a choice to attend the course in offline or online mode.
Offering such a course through the Teaching Learning Centre defeats the objective of the centre, which is to promote “independent, critical and creative thinking” and gives way to the propagation of “sectarian beliefs”, the teachers’ body alleges.