It seems that Assam gvoernment’s decision to set up a number of new model colleges and name them after Jan Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyaya has backfired with the student bodies of the State criticizing the move heavily. The Sarbananda Sonowal government on Friday issued appointment letters to principals and faculty members of the five colleges — all named Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Adarsh Mahavidyalaya — which will start functioning from September. State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said seven more such colleges would be set up. Some of these would be exclusively for girls in minority-dominated areas, Sarma said.
Reaction of student bodies
While the decision to set up these colleges was welcomed, the move to name them after Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya earned heavy flak. Speaking to Eclectic Northeast, Dipanka Nath, President of All Assam Students Union (AASU) said, ‘ It is shocking that BJP is following Congress footsteps. There are so many prominent personalities in Assam like Sahityarathi Lakhsminath Bezbaroa, Padmanath Gohain Baruah, Gopinath Bordoloi, Bhimbor Deuri, Moidul Islam Bora, Krishna Kanta Handique and Sitanath Brahma-Choudhury. They could have named the schools after these personalities. How much relevance Deen Dayal Upadhaya has in Assam? How many people here have even heard his name? It makes absolutely no sense.’
When asked whether AASU will protest against this move, Nath said, ‘ We have already opposed this decision and made our displeasure clear. If the government still goes ahead with this project, then we will see.’
Nirangkush Nath, Secretary of the State Unit of SFI said, ‘ This is a conspiracy by BJP to propagate their ideology. Had they named the colleges after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is our former Prime Minister, we wouldn’t have that much problem. But Deen Dayal Upadhaya has no relevance in Assam whatsoever.’
The five colleges that will start functioning from next month have been set up at Amjonga in Goalpara district, Dalgaon (Darrang), Bihali (Biswanath), Iraligol (Karimganj) and Tulungia (Bongaigaon). While the colleges at Amjonga, Dalgaon, Bihali and Iraligol would have the science stream and 200 seats each in the higher secondary and first-year degree classes, the one in Tulungia will be a commerce college with 150 seats each for two classes.
Who is Deen Dayal Upadhaya?
Deendayal Upadhyaya was the party ideologue of the Bhartiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the BJP. Apart from his contributions that laid the ideological foundations of the newly-created party, he is particularly remembered for his social philosophies that made him much more than a politician. In 1951, along with Dr. Shyamaprashad Mukherjee, he started the new party Rashtriya Jana Sangh. After Mukherjee’s death in 1953, the reigns of the Jana Sangh came into the hands of Upadhyaya. Under his leadership, the party reached new zeniths. It was Upadhyaya who did the groundwork for the Jana Sangh’s political ideology that went on to be adopted by the BJP later.