New Delhi: After BJP general secretary C.T. Ravi Monday called for renaming Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after Swami Vivekananda, many party colleagues expressed support for the idea.
Established in 1969, the university is currently named after India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The calls to rename the university in honour of Vivekananda come days after PM Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of the 19th-century spiritual leader on the JNU campus.
Taking to Twitter, Ravi said Swami Vivekananda “stood for the ‘Idea of Bharat’”, adding that the “life of Bharat’s patriotic Saint will inspire generations to come”.
It is Swami Vivekananda who stood for the "Idea of Bharat". His philosophy & values signify the "Strength of Bharat".
It is only right that Jawaharlal Nehru University be renamed as Swami Vivekananda University.
Life of Bharat's patriotic Saint will inspire generations to come.
— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) November 16, 2020
Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga agreed.
“India is not the property of one family and, in the past 70 years, not only universities, but stadiums, airports, roads, all have been named after one family,” Bagga said. “We should acknowledge and give respect to our freedom fighters and all those who played a role in nation-building and hence JNU should be named after Swami Vivekananda. In fact, not only JNU, all universities, airports, stadiums should be renamed after freedom fighters and Indian Army martyrs,” he added.
National BJP spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi said the demand “raised by C.T. Ravi ji is quite justified”.
“This is not a political issue and Swami Vivekananda ji stands for a united India and I’m sure the government will speak to all stakeholders and take a considered view,” she added.
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said there can be nothing better for India than naming a university after Vivekananda. “For the past many years, one family was trying to run the nation and even their own party members are feeling suffocated today. Swami Vivekananda can’t be compared with anyone and, if a university is named after him, what can be better for India? He is a man who stood for India and got us a lot of respect. If JNU is named after him, it will be a welcome step,” he added.
Not the first call for name change
One of India’s premier central universities, JNU is seen as a citadel of the Left. JNU had taken political centrestage in 2016 with Right-wing outfits labelling it as a haven of “tukde tukde” gang, following protests by a section of students and “outsiders” who allegedly made anti-national slogans during a protest to mark Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s death anniversary.
While unveiling Vivekananda’s statue, PM Modi said people may have ideological differences but ideology should be seen supporting and not opposing the nation in matters of national interest.
This is not the first time that demands have been made to rename JNU. In 2019, Delhi BJP MP Hans Raj Hans had suggested renaming JNU after PM Narendra Modi.
In 2018, the university’s executive council decided to rename its School of Management and Entrepreneurship after Atal Bihari Vajapee as a tribute to the former prime minister.