Politics is needed on campuses, but should be of a uniting nature, not decisive nature, said Pattabhirama Somayaji, lecturer at University College during a seminar on ‘Protecting Education’ held here on Saturday.

Addressing the seminar, organised by Campus Front of India, Mr. Somayaji, from the Department of English, University College, said politics and formation of youth organisations was necessary to ensure students were given the rights they were entitled to. “Protests are important to highlight student issues. Politics is needed on the campus, but should be done responsibly. It should unite rather than divide,” he said.

He primarily put the blame on divisions on the campus on the increasing saffronisation of education. “After the demolition of Babri Masjid, there is pressure to retell History in a different way. And since every elected representative is given a platform by the media to voice his or her opinion, there is misuse of knowledge to spread division. The Sangh Parivar has a grip over campuses, and communalism spreads like cancer. The politics here is destructive and distracting,” he said.

With a negligible percentage of Muslims making their way to higher education, Mr. Somayaji said the Rajender Sachar report which quantified the educational backwardness of the community, needed to be taken seriously to ensure higher literacy and higher enrolment of Muslims in colleges.

Uday Barkur, Professor at the Department of History, Mangalore University, said the lack of enrolment in schools should not lead to their closure, instead should increase efforts to get more children from backward classes into these schools. “It is hypocritical to close Kannada-medium schools, and then allow English-medium schools in the same place. While those in the cities may be taking loans to ensure their children study in English-medium schools, Kannada still thrives in the rural places,” he said.

He said that while English could be learnt by students of Kannada-medium schools, the Kannada learnt by those from English-medium schools will not contribute to Kannada literature or culture.