Madan Mohan Malaviya set up Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1916. The great freedom fighter aimed to achieve a national awakening by means of education. Over the years, BHU lived by his ideals, but a recent development should worry us all. Some students of its Sanskrit literature department have been protesting against the appointment of a Muslim as a faculty member. They argue that adherents of Islam should not be allowed to enter the department building. In support of this stance, they point to a plaque—purportedly installed by Malaviya—that says “non-Aryans" are not allowed inside. The department has held no class since the man’s appointment on 6 November.

The protest is a shame. For one, such discrimination violates the Constitution. For another, BHU is governed by University Grants Commission rules, and the appointment was above board. The professor holds a PhD in Sanskrit literature. It’s a classical language that’s open to anybody who wants to study or teach it. Any “Aryan" association is entirely irrelevant. These protesters should look up the Rigveda. “Let noble thoughts come to us from every side," it says.

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